Sunday, October 30, 2011
Everything I Know About Love
The title: Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels
The author: Sarah Wendall
Publication: Sourcebooks, 2011
Got it from: Amazon
Sarah Wendall, the co-founder of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, has written a guide to the life lessons romance novels teach us. I've been a regular follower of the site since 2006 and very much enjoyed their previous book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms. This book was a much more serious defense of the genre and I was disappointed that there wasn't the same high level of hilarity. A notable exception was a list of problems the protagonists might face in a romance novel, including, "he is buying her father's company, and he's only doing it because he hates her old man, but secretly he lusts in his pants for her." (p.148).
The book is broken up into chapters highlighting the different ways romance novels are good for us: they help us learn how to solve relationship problems, what to look for in a man, how to have good sex, etc. The only problem is that for those of us who read the site all the time, it feels like walking down the same path. A lot of the quotes lifted from readers were taken directly from discussions on the site, which I've already read. Passages from various novels only highlighted authors the Bitches have been praising since the beginning (Cruisie, Chase, Roberts, et al.) Readers unfamiliar with the site or readers on the fence about romance may find it refreshing, but for the rest of us it feels like preaching to the choir.