Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Happy New Year!  I haven't blogged much because 1) I've been on vacation and 2) I've been binging.  Not on all the treats that've surrounded me the past month but on young adult novels.

It started right before Christmas when Kai-Kai raved about Sarah Dessen books. She gave me a list she wanted for Christmas.

"That won't happen." I said.


"Because you know I don't believe in buying books--order them from the library."

So she did, and brought me her favorite The Truth About Forever, begging me to read it.  I did.  And then I read another and another and another.

I've now read 6 Sarah Dessen books plus 2 books by Pam Jenoff that Ling brought to me with the command, "Read them!"

I've heard it said that romance novels are women's porn.  If what gets us going is the perfect love, the perfect romance, being pursued and desired even if you're plain and unremarkable, these books got it all.  Literary fiction just doesn't provide the same bang for the buck (or rental).

In the Dessen books, the vast majority of male love interests are teenage rebels who've dealt with their dead parent/broken home/alienated father/etc. and can love and support the female protagonist perfectly, helping her work through her own issues with her dead parent/broken home/anorexic sister/alienated mother/etc.

Love wins.  Healing happens.  Hope abounds.


In this new generation of girls' novels, none of the main characters depend on a boy to make their lives perfect.  They're not looking for someone who will support them financially.  They certainly aren't after an "M-R-S" degree (a new male acquaintance during freshman new student week at Northwestern asked me if that's what I was at school for--I didn't even know what he was talking about for several minutes).

But they still want perfect love.

Even in this current era, an era where my girls have the privilege of seeing their lives and futures full of all possibilities, an era where thus far at least, they've never been taunted for being a smart girl, a talented girl, a girl who has "boy" strengths instead of "girl" strengths, something deep inside still yearns for a Prince Charming who will love them unconditionally.  Who will complete them. 

Some say that all stories lead us back to the ultimate story, the story of a God who loves us, seeks after us--even to the point of dying for us, and will never let us go.  A God who chooses us despite our plainness, or bad eyes, or even worse hair.  For men, the story may be the hero's journey.  For women, it might be the great romance.

So I'm not going to feel guilty about indulging in sweet confections all Christmas break.  It's back to the real world this week of cleaning my office, working out life and love with my husband, parenting 3 kids who got used to waking at 11 a.m. and are back on the 6 a.m. grind.

After all, we all need a little love, hope and romance in the new year, don't we?

1 comment:

Karina said...

Ha, that's so funny, because I just read a lot of her books last year. There's something very appealing about her writing! I felt a little guilty reading teenage romance novels, but I got over it. :)