So there I was, sandwiched inbetween two other mommies on a bench at the park. Mommy #1 began talking about her book group, and how they were going to be discussing Pride and Prejudice this month.
“I just can’t get into it at all,” she says. “It’s so cheesy! It’s … it’s just a romance novel!” She shudders.
Mommy #2 chimes in with, “Oh, my mother used to read all those trashy novels, with those ridiculous covers. OH. MY. GOD.”
So in the space of one minute, these two women have managed to insult my literary hero (the great Jane), my favorite book, my reading tastes, and my would-be profession. Had one of them said, “Your children are so ugly!”, the effect would have been complete.
And what did I say? Did I stand up and retort, “Pride and Prejudice is not cheesy, it is a work of elegant wit and literary genius, and while it contains a beautiful love story, it is not ‘just a romance novel.’ And by the way, what is so wrong with romance novels? I happen to read them. I happen to be writing one.”?
Of course I didn’t. I am timid and lame. But what would you have said?