The other day I was reading a friend’s blog and- I hope you’ll forgive the vagueness and lack of linkage- she was referencing some article she had read about how sad it was that grown-ups were reading Harry Potter. Obviously, this is not an article I’m going to rush off and read. But she read it, and it got her dander up, and rightly so.
You see, my friend enjoys fantasy, and a lot of her favorite books take place in fantastical worlds like Oz- places some people believe are only fit for children. Which just goes to show that for some people, that Ally Sheedy line from The Breakfast Club really nails it: “When you grow up, your heart dies.”
Some of us who don’t have these sadly shriveled hearts enjoy reading engaging and often well-written and yeah, classic works of fiction that happen to be shelved in the young reader section.
Now, whether you love or hate Harry Potter, I really don’t care. It’s not the point of this post. I, myself, have not been able to read through the third book. While I enjoy Hogwarts while I’m hangin’ there, I have a very difficult time reading books that are not “what I read”. Without a relationship to drive my interest in the story, it’s too easy for me to put the book down and go to something else. Deal.
The point was that in defense of her choice of reading, my friend said that part of reason for enjoying books marketed to young readers was that she didn’t have to read sex.
Yeah, I know. She and I don’t do a whole lot of book-swaps.
But it’s been on my mind for a few days. I keep coming back to it.
And then, in a post titled RESPECT, Shiloh Walker was talking about how people look down their noses at those of us who read and write romance. It’s a very well-written post, not whiny or ranty as these things tend to be, and if the subject interests you, check that out. One of the things she said was “Romance isn’t about sex.”
Which is completely true, and those of us who read and write it know that.
I’m not sure those who don’t know that are ever going to clue their way in. It seems like those who look down their noses at romance have two main points: it’s badly written pulp trash, and it’s chick porn.
Thank goodness that romance is the only genre with a history that includes some badly written pulp trash and that that’s never happened in other genres like mystery, science fiction, and adventure.
But what’s getting me is this thing about reading sex. Because it’s not just my friend by a long shot. Even on one of the online romance reading communities to which I belong, members will post to the effect that Such and So was a good read because it didn’t have too much sex in it. Like, ew, sex, icky. (Of course, the next post will be: OMG, you have to read XYZ because it is just HOT, so there’s a range of tastes, obviously.) And then there was the time when I came across a community in which writers with blogs had written a bit about themselves and wouldn’t you like to visit them, and I was stunned by the number of writers, especially older high school and college-aged writers, who seemed to so disdain writing about sex that they needed to mention that in their little ad.
I just can’t figure it out. Why the ick about the sex? And aren’t most of these same people who are so grossed out by those of us who want to read and write love and sex breaking out the popcorn for movies and television with adult themes, adult situations and nudity, often without the benefit of the demands of an actual relationship that the romance genre puts on such liasons?
I’m just askin’.