I'm writing in the wrong genre. There I was, merrily typing up twisted tales of hot demon sex in order to corrupt the internet and collapse the whole of humanity into a black abyss, and it turns out the real masters of corruption write romance novels for Mills and Boon.
It’s not the first criticism to be aimed at romance novels. Recently another psychologist claimed they can be as addictive as pornography. They do have a smidgeon of a point. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, ladies, but that super-rich, super-handsome Mr Right you’ve been dreaming of will, in real life, probably (but not always!) be a complete dick and chronically unfaithful. Why? Because they can get away with it.
Somehow, I suspect the M & B crowd would be less than thrilled with a book where the spunky heroine finds her Mr Right…only for him to ditch her for a younger model with a bigger rack ten years down the line. The whole point of fantasy is it’s supposed to be escapism, i.e. better than the messy complications present in the real world. Sure, problems can arise when the fantasy forms the basis of a wholly unrealistic set of expectations, but that’s just about true for any situation where fantasy and reality get mixed up.
Unsurprisingly—and understandably—it’s provoked a bit of a backlash from romance fans quick to defend their reading preferences. There are a lot of them in the comments section beneath the Guardian article.
Presumably those same people will be right behind us in the trenches the next time equally stupid things are written about video games or different flavours of pornography…won’t you? ;)