Wed 25 Jul 2012
My mind is a strange and many-splintered place. Odd things excite the little hamster running the wheel that passes for my brain. This week, my hamster started running and spinning the wheel because I read a book review over on Happy Ever After, USA Today’s romance blog. The book sounds like a fun read. I’d pick it up in a Myrtle Beach minute – except for one thing – it’s a ‘torn between two lovers’ story.
I hate those.
For me, reading a book is like going to a football game. If I don’t know who to root for, there’s no point in showing up. Say, my hubby and I have left our hometown of Myrtle Beach and are driving around central Florida. We’ve done that a lot since our eldest is about to start his Senior year at the University of Central Florida in Orlando (Go Knights!). It’s Friday night and we pass a high school football stadium. AOFM isn’t going to turn to me and say – “Hey, let’s stop and watch this game.”
Why not? Because we wouldn’t give a fig who won or who lost. It wouldn’t be our youngest’s high school (Socastee High in Myrtle Beach – Go Braves!) We wouldn’t know a soul at the random Florida high school. We wouldn’t have any skin in the game – no risk, no reward.
When I read a romance, I expect to have skin in the game. I expect to care for the hero and the heroine. By all the toad frogs in the pond – I want to cry when the hero and heroine hurt. I want to root for ‘em when they stumble or screw up. And I really, really want to cheer for ‘em when they find their HEA at the end. Why? Because that’s the point of a romance. When I open the cover, I’ve bought a ticket for an emotional roller coaster ride.
Yeah, there should be long pulls up big, ginormous hills, and steep falls going down the other side. I want some loop-de-loops and some corkscrew turns. When the ride’s over, I want it to land in the right spot. You know, the spot where the hero and heroine I’ve been riding with are head over toenails in love and headed for forever bliss.
If I don’t know who to cheer for, then I might be rooting for the wrong guy. I’ve done that in books. At the end, I’ll hate the heroine for being stupid enough to let Mr. Amazing slip away for a steady, little life with Mr. Acceptable. I dislike enough people in real life. I feel like a fool often enough in real life. I don’t get what I want often enough in real life. I’m not forking over money to have a book make me feel that way.
I won’t pick up this one, but I’ll keep an eye on Ms. Kargman’s work. It sounds like she can really craft a great story. And the world is likely stuffed with folks who love reads like this and will pick this book up and adore it. I’m just not one of them.
I avoid ‘torn between two lovers’ stories’ because the last thing I want to be in suspense about is the identity of the man who’ll be kissing the heroine on the last page.
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