Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lovesick

I was never the girl who thought romances ended in "happily ever after." I knew, even if you found "the one," things didn't just fall into place. Relationships required work and nurturing. When I was a teen and wrote stories and poems, they didn't end happily. Mind you, they didn't end badly either. Just...realistically. Like the geeky girl did not suddenly end up with the popular jerk who realized she was oh so beautiful now that she put on contacts and took out her ponytail. Besides, why would she want a guy like that anyway who only cared to know her when her looks didn't embarrass him? In fact, my MCs usually ended up alone, or the stories ended with them learning about someone else who may be a good match, that they hadn't considered before.

As an adult, that's how I write my YAs too. I don't write romances and can't really read them either. Unless you're talking about supernatural romances. Those I'll read because there's already the element of fantasy so all working out perfectly doesn't irk me. One of the best compliments I received about my first YA, INCONVENIENT, was that the MC's boyfriend, Keith, was the most realistic high school boy she'd ever read. I don't know what else that review said, but that line made me so happy. If people leave my books saying, "Wow, that was so real," I feel I've done my job.

I realize, too, that many people use books to escape and don't want to read about real love or unrequited love or the girl who ends up with neither boy she sweated. But, to me, I like the messiness of love, the rawness, the fact that things don't always work out. When I was a teen and read book after book with the girl getting the guy she wanted, it became depressing. How did this girl get the popular boy when she barely said two words to him? Did I just need to stop wearing ponytails and overalls and the boy would be mine? I wished there were more books about girls who A) Didn't need the boy and found power within themselves and B) Who, even once the contacts were in and hair was brushed out, STILL did not get Mr. Jock. And, guess what? They realized they only liked him for his hotness anyway and--newsflash--just like he was superficial, so was she as she knew NOTHING about the boy except that he was hot, had green eyes, played football, and oh yeah was hot.

So that's my take on love in books. Jaded? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as real. Love you need to work at and explore is not a bad thing. It makes it stronger.

6 comments:

  1. I was the same way--more encouraged by realism than by perfect endings. Perfection made me depressed because I knew life would never be like that, but realism comforted me with, "Yeah, life is messy, but there are ways to deal with that."

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    1. I felt the same way about perfection! I liked things real. When things always worked out in stories, I'd wonder why they didn't for me. When I read messy stuff, it made me happy.

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  2. My favorite love story is HAROLD AND MAUDE. Not sure that's realism--but it's also far from perfect...

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    1. I've heard of this but have never seen it. Need to give it a shot.

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  3. I've recently been really bothered by the stuff I see that seems to imply that it's okay for girls to be shallow about "hotness," but it's not okay for boys. I realize that boys don't deal with nearly the body image messages in pop culture, but still. I guess I see it as a bit hypocritical to say men shouldn't objectify women, but it's okay for women to objectify men. Seems to come up a lot...

    Also, I can count on one hand the number of long-term "couples" I knew in high school. For the most part, I think high schoolers aren't into that level of commitment.

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    1. Yes!! That always bugged me too. When women or girls objectify men or boys, it's considered humorous or empowering but switch it around and the men/boys are villains and shallow. So wrong!! Not to mention, in real life we're attracted to some people and not to others. It is what it is. Why should we be vilified for that? If you treat the person poorly, that's different, but just not being attracted to someone? That's life.

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