Stacy's Place on Earth
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Thursday, October 05, 2006:
Don't push it...a reader's rant
I would consider myself a pretty laid-back reader, and not a lot of things get on my nerves - mostly incorrect grammar, but even that doesn't make me too crazy. I don't mind first person POV, baby stories, authors who change genres - if it entertains me and the characters aren't TSTL, chances are I won't be hurling the book against the nearest wall.
Now that doesn't mean every book I read is a keeper, or that I adore every author whose work I've read. I've read some lame stuff, and have been disappointed by stories that others raved about, but I chalk it up to more of personal preference instead of horrible writing. I personally describe myself as more of an average reader, and I'm not looking for anything too intellectual or sophisticated, certainly not the type of highbrow stories that would be discussed in the most snobby of circles.
Years ago I read 2 books by an author who was one of the reigning queens of the really erotic, steamy stuff. Many readers recommended these books, and I admit that my interest was piqued by the super sexy stories that were becoming more and more popular in those days. Boy oh boy, was I in for a rude awakening. Thought they were the most boring, clinical, icky romances I'd ever read. I didn't find them erotic at all, and if I was the heroine, I would have been rather disgusted. Not that anything extremely kinky or hideous happened. It was because I didn't feel the heat, the sexual tension, the pleasure that the heroine is entitled to. To me, these books were like the instruction manual documenting a visit to the gynecologist. So not sexy. But even still, I read both books, and neither one met its death against the wall.
However I have found something that has (almost) driven me to this point. It's the "forced" relationship. Now let me clarify. What I mean is this: heroine is either a) seriously involved with someone else, and/or b) looking for a serious relationship, not a casual fling. Hero comes along and is definitely not looking for anything serious and certainly not wanting any sort of commitment - he just wants to get his rocks off. But in his all-knowing, superior way, he, and not the heroine, knows what's best for her: really hot sex with him. Heroine says "no" because she's engaged or because she's not a casual person and doesn't want to engage in a meaningless fling. And now instead of taking her refusal seriously and respecting her wishes, he takes that as a challenge to change her mind, using whatever means necessary, and that means most assuredly the "seduction". He uses her attraction to him against her to get what he wants because really, he's only doing it for her own good. And if it takes him weeks or even months, well, that's just fine because his success is almost a guarantee. He doesn't give up, so eventually she will be his. And yep, he is right.
Well you can probably guess what happens next. She falls in love with him because, yeah, she's not a casual person, so sleeping with him culminates in deeper feelings. And the "hero" is pissed. How dare she fall in love with him?! He told her that he was not looking for anything serious - wasn't she listening? I mean, it doesn't matter that he disregarded her wishes because he knows best, right? Yeah, we've already clarified that.
This drives me crazy! Why do some people have so little respect for others? It's like the movie "Dangerous Liaisons" (spoilers)which I loved btw, but when John Malkovich bets Glen Close he can seduce the genuinely good and faithful Michelle Pfeiffer (sorry I can't remember all those characters' names), it's so incredibly annoying because while yeah, it might be fun to topple the "good" woman from her pedestal and make her human and flawed, at the same time it's ugly, and vile, because she really WAS a good person, a faithful wife who had no designs on dishonoring her marriage, and look at what happens - she dies! And the bum John actually went and fell in love with her despite his original plan to destroy her soul and soil her reputation and when he loses her, his life becomes meaningless, so he lets himself get killed. So unnecessary.
Now I know my pet peeve is not as dramatic as that, but the sentiment is the same. Even if we know (because yeah we do know) that they end up together in the end and all is just peachy, I usually have a hard time respecting the hero after that. Sure, I understand that the point is that it really is for her own good, but the way he went about it, I just feel so disappointed he had to resort to this method. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I really don't care for how it went down. I could just be overreacting. It's possible. I mean, the whole point is that it is all in the name of romance, right? Yet I can't help how much this irritates me. Pretty much a mood killer.
What do you think -does this scenario bother you? Or not?
What is your reader pet peeve?
Are we getting too much of a good (or bad) thing?


  1. Before I comment or answer your question, I have to ask: What book are you reading? LOL...

    Alright, with that out of the way, I'm the same way...I'm a pretty laid back reader and don't feel I need to read some incredible book each and everytime and I chalk up a lot of books I don't care for that others love to personal preference, but something like this would annoy the hell out of me. This and amnesia, I'm just not wild about the whole amnesia thing, I hate those kinds of story but again that's just my preference...

    Happy Friday Stacy and have a great weekend!

  2. Oh, girl. If you don't mind, I'm going to use this blog as a starting point for one of my own.

    And like Dylan, before I go any further, I wanna know what book...LOL You can email me if you want. :)

    Anyway, this bugs me like nothing else. I HATE it when the hero is condescending. I just can't stand a jerk hero who thinks he knows best and doesn't care what the herione wants.

    But the absolute worst for me is Sex As A Weapon. It's rape, plain and simple. If she says NO, no matter what her body is saying, then the answer is NO! Not, you want it, so I'm going to give it to you. I just get disgusted and lose all respect for the hero when he forces himself (this happens mostly in historicals, but occasionally in contemps, too).

    And honestly, I think scenarios like the one you mentioned and the one I listed above happen way too often in Romance novels. If I feel degraded by something I read, then I'm not getting the "escapism" I planned on, am I?

  3. LOL guys, sorry, but since I do actually like the author, I've decided not to say who it is. I'm just disturbed by this trend - I know it's been becoming more and more popular and t.v. shows (Rescue Me) and movies (Crank).

    Sure Holly, feel free. I look forward to checking it out.

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