A genre loved by many. An escape from reality, the place where the unexpected happens and love blossoms. A place that makes you believe and hope, dream of your own romcom.
I fell in love with the genre of romcoms when I was about eleven having watched The Proposal, the film with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. I loved the idea of love, how it in fact is found when you least expected it and that most of the time, love isn't as straight forward as we would all like to believe. But in romcoms we are always guaranteed that boy and girl will have a happily ever after. Or girl gets girl and boy gets boy, god I loved, Love, Simon. Basically, after watching the Proposal I went on a romcom film binge, yet it wouldn't be until I was seventeen when I read my first romantic comedy book.
So why does romcoms get so much hate?
By hate I mean romcom writers and books are criticised as chick-lit, cheesy, fluff, and generally far to predictable. Not real writers or have no idea what real life love is all about because god forbid the love portrayed is anything but unbelievable. Yet I know some people who have fell in love in seconds while others years. My grandad pulled up in his van outside the chippy when he was nineteen back in 1967 and asked my nan who had just paid for her 2p chips, if she drank, she threw her chips away and he took her to the pub. They've just celebrated there 50th wedding anniversary, my nan said throwing those chips away was the best thing she did. Whereas my friends dad saw a woman and said to his brother, "I'm going to marry her one day," it took ten years but he waited for her and now they have two kids.
I've seen people embarrassed to admit that they read romcoms or anything that isn't a thriller, mystery or a thought-provoking read.
Why should we be embarrassed about reading romcoms?
I mean when I first started reading the genre I did get embarrassed, I got embarrassed because I thought that I would be judged for not being a 'real reader'. Like what even is that about? I tell people to read what they like not what is expected, I mean its good to branch out and read something you usually wouldn't read but then again don't feel like you have to just to fit in to an ideal, into a world that makes you feel embarrassed about reading a genre you love.
So what have I learnt from romcoms?
I've learnt that you have a voice. The women in the romcoms I read about have a voice, a voice that is strong and stands up for what they believe. They empower and give us strength to find our own voice.
Romcoms show us what is a healthy relationship and what is toxic. God my eyes have been opened so wide in this respect. Sex scenes are sometimes frowned upon in books as they are seen unnecessary and shouldn't be written graphically. But for me personally, sex scenes described in the right way not only illustrate what a healthy sexual relationship is but that sex isn't as glamorous as it is in the movies, that sometimes sex goes wrong and that its fine. Its ok for it to not go to plan, for it to be a disaster. A lot of young people read romcoms and I believe it is important that they are shown a respectable, loving yet realistic expectations of what a healthy relationship looks like because it is definitely something we as readers take away from a book and reflect upon.
Another thing about romcom is they bring so much comfort to people, I know that a romcom always seems to make me feel warm and cosy, they make me feel good and lighter. As a reader we follow our characters through a journey of heartache, loss and plenty of challenges and sometimes our characters get the ending we hope and sometimes they don't but the lesson our authors illustrate is that everything happens for a reason. We ourselves go through our own journeys in life and although we want to be at the end, the ideal destination, its not always about that but how our journey has shaped us. Romcoms, (any book for that matter) shows me that we have to take the journey and take it as it comes.
I've also realised that just because you read or write romcoms, it doesn't make you less of a reader or writer. Anyone who can write a full book is a writer, anyone who can write anything, published or not, is a writer. Anyone who reads is a reader whether its fan-fic, thrillers, horror, comics, newspapers, you are a reader. Reading is very essence of joy, I like to think so anyway, before I read books I never knew the freedom of reading, the comfort. I've lived hundreds of lives through reading, learned so much and felt heartache, terror, love and fear for fictional characters that have felt so real and relatable.
After all, isn't that what reading is all about?
So be proud of what you read, you should never be ashamed of reading what you love.
Till next time,