Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Dirty Secret of Romance Novels

I don't know why I did it.  Its not like the editorial work at Catholic Stand is not keeping me on my toes,  but I just signed up to be a contributing writer for Catholic 365.  Here's an excerpt of my first post.  

“Do you have a trashy book?”  the girl next door wanted to know.

            I was in college and the dorm was a vast collection of paperback novels traded, exchanged or borrowed between girlfriends, especially when classes were called off due to a storm. 

            “A what?” I asked.

            “A romance novel,” she said.

             “Oh. Room 117 has those.”                                          

            I was introduced to my first romance novel when I was a high school senior. The lush historical romance swept me off my feet, but the sexually graphic scenes left me feeling squeamish and guilty, which were unlike the feelings Jane Austen evoked. In college, when I developed an obsession for legal and political thrillers, I dropped romances altogether.

            But it wasn’t until the girl next door called the romance genre a ‘trashy book’  that the filth of it slapped me like a dirty rag in the face.  It never crossed my mind to label my former entertainment choices as shamefully comparable to porn.  Not until then.

            The romance genre is a 1.4 billion industry, the largest sector in publishing. According to the Romance Writers of America, 64.6 million of Americans read at least one romance novel in the past year.  78% are female readers, 50% are married, and the rest are single, divorced, widowed or separated. More than half the readers are between the age demographic of 14-65 years old.   On the education profile, only 22% have a high school degree, the rest own bachelor’s, associates, trade school or post graduate degrees.   In short, the chances of personally knowing a romance reader is pretty high.  She could very well be the girl next door.  At one time, I was her and today, she could be you.

Read on at Catholic 365

1 comment:

Gina Guarnere said...

Ha ha ha - I dunno. I would agree that the majority of romance novels are trashy, but there are some that are super sweet, too.

Over the summer, I fell for a series of fairytale romances written by the same author. She took familiar tales and retold them in interesting ways.

Rumplestiltskin, for example, was originally a handsome prince who was transformed into a horribly disfigured "thing" only to learn and exemplify true love and marry the girl he helped spin straw into gold.

Totally a romance (granted, a fairy tale, but I'd classify it as a romance), but it wasn't trashy at all. It was so sweet.

She did the same for Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Jack and Jill, etc.

That being said, after finishing the series, she basically retold the same exact story each time with different characters, but what do I care? They were $2 a piece and passed the time in a fun, nostalgic way.


Okay, I'm gonna stop now...