Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Love Story - A to Z Challenge

I’ve often noticed a divide among readers. Say “romance” to some of them and they’ll tell you all of their favorite romance novelists. Others barely manage to hide their disdain for the genre. Why? What’s so wrong with a love story?

Let’s get beyond the fallacy that genre fiction is written poorly or is somehow lesser than general fiction. I can point to dozens of amazing authors who haven't devolved into simpering idiots simply because they choose to write horror, fantasy, or romance, for example.

There’s also the antiquated notion that romance novels are nothing more than bodice rippers and the entire content revolves around sex. Anyone who thinks that hasn’t ever read a romance novel.

The worst, I think, is the idea that a story about two people falling in love is unimportant and frivolous. Yet if I asked you what was most important in your life, wouldn’t your husband or wife (bf, gf, or significant other) be at or very near the top of your list?

Maybe it’s just the way people think about the genre’s audience. Are love stories only for unrealistic, romantic women? Consider these blockbuster movies (possible spoiler alert!):

There's not enough room for both of them? Really??
Titanic – The boat sinks, and all you really want to see is Rose move over to make room on the floating debris for Jack.
Forrest Gump – Forrest is a guy who’s seen it all, and yet the only thing that really matters to him is Jenny.
Gone With the Wind – An action-packed movie nearly 4 hours long… Atlanta burns and the Civil War tears families apart, but what do people inevitably recall? The staircase scene.
The Sound of Music – Nazis and questions of faith take a back seat to the two love stories featured in this movie.
The Hunger Games – Even with matters of life and death unfolding around her, Katniss worries about the meaning of every word and action between her and Peeta.

Sure, each of these movies is about other things, but at the heart of each one is a love story. Without that emotional component, none of them would have the same impact or even make sense. 

What's your favorite love story?

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