I must admit, I do love me some good, heart-tingling romance that makes me swoon when I’m reading a book (honestly though, I live for swoonworthy romances). However, there have been times where I’ve seen people complain about romance, with everything from the frustrations of insta-love and love triangles, to romances that just don’t seem realistic.
And while we all love a good romance, sometimes I wonder… Are books promoting romance too much? Are the books we read today romanticizing love and romance in a way that makes us, in our everyday lives, strive for something that is purely fictional? (but lets be honest, we wouldn’t want to read romance any other way, would we?)
We all love a good romance in a story. I mean, who wouldn’t? But the reality is, not all the romance we read in books is something we can attain in real life. Lately I’ve been questioning how books portray romance and whether having a romance situation in every book we read is a good thing, or a bad thing. It’s obvious that we all enjoy it, and I definitely think romance adds that little something extra to a novel.
Why I Like Romance In Books
I don’t have a boyfriend or any existence of a love life, so reading about two characters falling in love is a real treat for me. I thrive on it and absorb it as if I’m part of the romance too (so basically, I’m like a poor little third wheel). I love the thrill that comes from being introduced to characters and watching them slowly fall for one another! Ugh, it makes my fingers tingle.
And believe it or not, I adore love triangles because they create so much angst! Of course, if you’re gonna do a love triangle, it’s got to be done well. It’s got to be written with obvious sense. Sometimes love triangles are done in such a way that I don’t understand why it even exists or what the point of it is. But, I digress.
Sometimes when a book doesn’t have a romance as an element in the story, I am left feeling a little empty. (Maybe I’m just a little obsessed with romance, but hey, don’t judge me!). Sometimes I read in anticipation for the protagonist to slowly fall for the handsome male companion by her side but then it never happens *cry*. But usually, I hardly ever feel the absence of a romance because other aspects of the novel do a great job at dominating in it’s absence, which is flipping awesome.
And THAT’S where my question comes in. Is it possible that novels nowadays tend to throw in a romance just for the heck of it? And are we romanticizing romance in novels too much? So much that it forms unrealistic dreams and expectations within our heads?
Love triangles aren’t so pretty in real life
Now, I don’t know this from actual EXPERIENCE, but I do know that real-life love triangles can be hell. They’re confusing and heartbreaking and sometimes you can end up with no one at all. In so many novels we read today, there are a throng of different styles of love triangles. One of the biggest is the protagonist being in love with her best friend and another boy (preferably the ‘outsider’ or the ‘bad boy’). We as readers are found to be conflicted, possibly swooning for both, or yelling at the protagonist to stop being STUPID AND PICK (seriously, how hard is it to pick?). What ends up being the case with these kinds of love triangles is, that (SPOILERS) the protagonist ends up picking her beloved bad boy but in the process, also keeping her friendship with her best friend. I definitely don’t think this would be the case in real life.
If only that boy would look at me and realize I’m his one true love! (I mean, it happens in books, why can’t it happen to me?)
Insta-love is probably the most frustrating book trope in relation to romance that there is. However, I think forbidden love could come pretty close. The fact that two people can catch each other’s eyes and feel a spark of connection and almost immediately realise they love each other is ridiculous! And I will admit, it makes me wish I could experience this in my own life. (Every time I see a pretty boy who catches my eye, I’m silently begging: please love me). We as bookworms are frustrated with this trope for it’s ridiculousness and the fact that it’s profoundly unrealistic.
Is it just me who makes a list of all the swoon worthy qualities of a fictional male that I want to find in my boyfriend-to-be? Not to mention, making a list of all the best things that come with being in a relationship…
I think one of the biggest things books do to us is romanticize romance to a point where we strive for that same flawless relationship that our favourite fictional characters have. Even worse, they wire into our brains the most unattainable expectation for our significant other that he/she is going to find very hard to meet. If you could see the list of fictional boyfriends I have and the list of characteristics that make up my perfect male specimen, you’d know how crazy ridiculous it is. THANK YOU BOOKS FOR DOING THIS TO ME.