Archive for June 2008
There’s a great post up on Jezebel about Harlequin romances from the 80s, full of bad fashion and misogyny. Good times, right? They pull some quotes where the hero is rampant in his assholery, basically threatening the heroine with his love. “I shall push you around and say mean things and you will swoon!” is basically the message.
Some of this still surfaces in romance novels published now, although either a) I am mostly reading slightly subversive romances and thus avoiding a lot of it, or b) it’s a lot less prevalent. I’d bet both are true.
Speaking of which, I just finished Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase, in which the heroine is a whore and reminds you of same on just about every page. The book is fluffy and flawed (mostly, I think the characters are a little underdeveloped) but still a fun read. And, see, there the heroine makes a lot of “I will belong to no man!” speeches and avoids some of the tiresome virgin heroine tropes–that I really despise in my historical romance–by being a loose woman, so thumbs up all around. Sort of the opposite of those 80s Harlequins. Seriously, go read the Jezebel post and be amazed.
I think my copy of this book was purchased in 1993-ish. Copyright page says it was first published in 1989, but there’s an ad in the endpapers indicating that Remember Me 2 was due out in August 1994. (I’ve got that book, too, so a recap is forthcoming!) Anyway, this means I was about 13 when I read the book the first time. I remember really loving this book, too.
You may recall that this is the ghost-solves-her-own-murder book. I couldn’t find an image of the cover I have online anywhere. The cover illustration shows a blonde girl with a yellow blouse and green pants dead on the ground below a balcony. And, yeah, that’s a good summary of the whole first half of the book.
So we open with Shari Cooper telling us she’s dead. She then goes into what I like to think of as the Baby-Sitter’s Club Exposition, in that that she informs us in the third paragraph that when she was alive, she was a pretty blonde girl. Except maybe I should call it a Sweet Valley High opening, because just like the Wakefield twins (perfect size sixes with eyes the color of the Pacific Ocean, don’t you know?) Shari is a little too perfect sounding: she goes on for most of the rest of the paragraph about how her eyes are this amazing shade of green. Read the rest of this entry »