Are romance novels to blame for problems like weight gain and unhappy marriages?
I don’t think so. However, it’s been making a lot of buzz lately. Apparently, at least one psychologist thinks romance novels give women unrealistic expectations thus leading to adultery and depression. (Because we all think 6’5” hunks grow on trees.)
After I read about this, and stopped laughing, I remembered all the readers that have said the exact opposite. One woman even said I saved her marriage because my stories “inspired her,” if you know what I mean. I had another reader who got inspired by some of my butt-kicking heroines to take up martial arts. I think that’s wonderful!
I love a good “escape” and I believe others do too. Where else can you find a guaranteed happy ending? Or a guaranteed sexy leading man? Reading brightens my mood. It always has. There’s nothing wrong with getting your hopes up or being inspired. I also don’t believe anyone who reads my books (or anyone else’s) expects to find a werewolf next door, like in Sex Symbol. Or a vampire down the street.
To me, romance novels are a fun way to keep faith in things like love at first sight and chivalry. Not to mention most of my characters also like to cook, so you’ll pick up some good recipes along the way.
My first novel was published in 2007 and I have yet to receive an email saying, “I’m sure my neighbor is a werewolf, but no matter how many times I stick him with silver, he won’t shift form.”
Or, “Where can I buy silver handcuffs?”
My point is, a little bit of fantasy is a good thing. Imagination is healthy. How sad would it be to never dream of anything? Personally, I pick up fiction to escape reality for a little while. Not that my life is bad, I just enjoy reading something different than my normal experiences.
The report I mentioned was like listening to comedy to me. Maybe that’s because I was reminded of all the women who shared their stories with me. Many of them took up gardening after reading about someone who liked to grow herbs or visited a location after reading a story that took place there. Now there are some happy avid gardeners and others who’ve found a nice new vacation spot.
I’ve never heard anyone who actually reads romance say the genre has negatively affected them. In fact, those who regularly read romance report happier relationships and a better perspective on life. That is, when you ask them. And that brings me to the question I’d really like to ask.
How has reading romance made a positive impact in your life?
By the way, if anyone reads my books and gets inspired to hunt werewolves, please let me know if you find one.
+ Romance At Randomly chooses 5 weekly winners – announced on Sunday’s – good luck!