Thursday, 7 July 2011

In defence of the soppy romance books

My romance with Mills & Boon started somewhere in class 9 or 10, with the first book I read in between studying for exams.

For someone with a proclivity then to get lost between the covers of story books, M&B made for convenient exam time reading - it gave me my everyday fix of fiction, but nothing fizzy enough to distract me from pages of fractions or history facts.

So, when I read that "Mills & Boon's romance novels should come with a health warning, according to a report published in an academic journal," that also blamed them for "unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancies, unrealistic sexual expectations and relationship breakdowns", I shall employ the same contemptuous sneer perfected by the hundreds of Greek gentlemen with chiselled faces/bodies that have graced the very covers of these far-from-erudite publications.

Cover of Sweet Deceiver (heh-heh). Note the sneer. 

To say this of the books established as a successful study technique, and with a proven record in improving one's mood and eliciting the (rather un-heroine-like) guffaws?! <-- Mock shock.

Far from being titillating, M&B's have had an exceedingly calming effect on my nerves, with their steady fare of clich├ęs, unwavering pace of narration, predictable plot lines (they exist if you look hard enough) and the supreme comfort of knowing exactly what is going to happen.

There's a place for the predictable. And it's warmer and fuzzier than the gloom painted by this particular study.

Now if I were issuing warnings about safe sex practices in academic journals, I'd look away from M&B and keep my chaperoning eye on them Messieurs Donne and Marvell.
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