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.

I shudder.

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?

8 comments to “Defending Romance”

  1. Anonymous
    · December 14th, 2006 at 7:06 am · Link

    You know, that has happened to me before and one thing I’ve learned over the years is to not be ashamed or quiet.

    I just say “Oh I love romance novels. It’s fiction and fiction is entertainment.” I usually add in “When I read, I want to escape reality. Reality is quite enough and I don’t like to read anything that does have a happy ending.”


    I tagged you Eve. Check my blog.

  2. Alice Audrey
    · December 14th, 2006 at 8:59 am · Link

    This kind of makes me think of the thread on Avon in the introductions section in which the lady kept talking about her eagerness to write “trashy novels”. After a while I decided she wasn’t joking. I wanted to give her a hard shake.


  3. Anonymous
    · December 14th, 2006 at 9:43 am · Link

    Yeah, I’ve been there — so, when people ask me what I write, I say Mystery & Horror — I can’t quite bring myself to admit to the bosom rippers and e-romance that is just soooo much darn fun to write!

  4. CM
    · December 14th, 2006 at 1:14 pm · Link

    The answer, “I read them all the time” works. You’d be amazed at the power of shame.

  5. Sara Dennis
    · December 14th, 2006 at 4:42 pm · Link

    I’m sort of the obnoxious romance writer who gets all het up when people slam the genre.

    Okay, I hope I’m not really obnoxious.

    But I do challenge people when they claim bodice rippers and that all romance novels are formulaic and soooo easy to write they could do it typing with their noses.

  6. Chrisjournal
    · December 14th, 2006 at 4:54 pm · Link

    I go for wide-eyed innocence: “Oh I just love romances.” Amazing how quickly that shuts people up.

  7. beverley
    · December 15th, 2006 at 5:45 am · Link

    If anyone says you can write a romance novel writing with their noses, they’ve never written one!

  8. lacey kaye
    · December 19th, 2006 at 10:54 am · Link

    I usually tell people I write genre fiction, but dare they diss my precious romance novels outright they’re in for an earful!