Welcome to What Do You Think Thursday! WDYT is a new discussion post that will periodically pop up around here.
I've recently read a few books that were a bit outside my personal comfort zone -- this one and this one -- it's always interesting to test those boundaries! As a result I've been spending some time thinking about some things that I just can't get over in a story.
First, I want to be clear that I'm not trying to be judge-y about what other people read. I've read pretty much everything, from romance novels (old-school Harlequin!) to horror books (American Psycho- yikes!) and everything in between. There's not much I won't try and I do understand that some people enjoy things in fiction that they'd never be okay with in real life.
But there are some plot elements that make me really uncomfortable. Books that feature animal abuse or child abuse or abduction are things that I have a hard time reading. Sadly, these things do exist in the world, and I'm not trying to pretend they don't. But I've found that it's hard for me to have that stuff floating around in my head space.
Now, on to Forbidden Love. I completely understand the appeal -- in the abstract. Falling in love with the exact person you're not supposed to has a heady allure. The covert glances. The furtive hand brush. The sneaking around. It's exciting to read about -- I get it! And I'm completely on board with things like a Sworn Enemies love story.
But there are some sorts of forbidden relationships I'm not crazy about:
I know that secrets and secrecy can add a lot of tension and suspense to a story. But I've also learned that I have issues with stories in which the main characters are liars and/or cheaters. Try as I might, I just can't root for them. When bad stuff happens to them, I'm like: "karma!" Is it so hard to find a single person to fall in love with?
Student Teacher Relationships:
I didn't mind these storylines all that much ... until I had kids. When you have kids and send them off to school, it's a gesture of trust. Thankfully, the vast majority of teachers are professional, responsible adults, not creepers who can't tell the difference between their classroom and Match.com. But I've found that I just can't find these kind of stories appealing on a romantic level.
But you know, that's just me. Tell me about your dealbreaker plot elements in comments! And if there's a book you love that's in one of my dealbreaker categories, I'd love to hear about it...
I don't like the cheating kind of forbidden at all, or when there's incest involved (like the YA book with the Forbidden title). None of that is fun for me! I give a little more leeway for teacher-student, depending on certain factor. I enjoyed SLAMMED and I liked UNTEACHABLE ok, though the latter made me much more uncomfortable, and I agree that it should have ended differently. Actually, the more I think about UNTEACHABLE, the more it creeps me out. Thoughtful postReplyDelete
Mind meld -- I was going to include incest in the post and then I couldn't even bring myself to write about it. I have heard that Forbidden is an interesting book, but I haven't been able to bring myself to read it.Delete
I agree and would add in the falling for your hot kidnapper.ReplyDelete
These bother me because I know people who have gone through it (including the teacher/student thing) and it doesn't end well & takes years to overcome. It's hard for me to romanticize it.
Karen @ For What It's Worth
And... I was also going to include the whole "scary, violent guys are so hot" kind of fictional relationship in this post but decided that probably needed its own post. I mean, there's fantasy and there's real life and I get that, but I also think romanticizing violence can be a dangerous thing.Delete
I definitely have an issue with the teacher/student relationship and I don't have kids. It creeps me out a little too, when I go to class and stare at the professor wondering if he's anything like the books.ReplyDelete
Great subject. :)
I agree -- there's enough to have to pay attention to in class without having those thoughts in your head!Delete
All of the above and zombies.ReplyDelete
Oh, man, I could write the longest post about all the things that creep me out in books. Zombies. Books about pandemics and epidemics. Werewolves. Books set underwater...Delete
The books I have issues with are where married people cheat (unless they are being physically abused and can't get out and other person is helping them), incest, zombies, and werewolves, I have to say I enjoy the captor romance such as The Consequence series by Aleatha Romig and Tears for Tess by Pepper Winters. I also don't mind the professor/student books, such as Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard and Honor Student by Teresa Mummert. This is what is so wonderful about books though, there is always something for everyone, great subject thanksReplyDelete
Yes, that is my exception to the cheating thing -- an abusive relationship. Still, better to get out of that if possible, but that is much easier said than done.Delete
I haven't read Gabriel's Inferno or Honor Student. If the book is about college students, I have not nearly as much of a problem with that....
No, I can't stomach cheating either; it think it speaks for our life-values. I can see how student/teacher romances can turn you off after you have children, after all you're viewing the world differently. I like the IDEA of these student/teacher relationships but I haven't read one that was good (Unteachable was....awful).ReplyDelete
How do you feel about incest? I know, I know. Creepy as hell, but Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is written SO well that you actually root for the kids!
Amber Elise @Du Livre
I have heard that Forbidden is a very thought-provoking and well-written book and I have been meaning to give it a try!Delete
Sheesh. I have a list. Here goes:ReplyDelete
Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma (l didn't mind the incest as much as i should have bc the plot was justifying it)
Game of Thrones (Cersei and Jaime - YUCK YUCK)
Notes on a Scandal - (I can't sympathize with Sheba although maybe I needn't)
Tell the Wolves I'm Home (initially i was disgusted with the fact that June had a crush on her UNCLE but then i LOVED LOVED LOVED the story and it wasn't disgusting anymore, it made sense.)
LOVE lists :)Delete
The only one of those I've read is GoT and at least (I think!) the Cersei/Jaime thing was meant to be yucky, not sexy. I only have a problem if the book is trying to make is sexy because ... no.
Uncle.... hmmm. I guess I'd need more details on that.
READ TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME IT'S BEAUTIFUL EVEN IF YOU DON'T THINK SO FOR THE FIRST FEW PAGES GO SHOODelete
Okay!!!!! :) :)Delete
I hate those romances you mentioned, but I also HATE those about angels falling in love with human and... I don't know, going half bad because they rather fall that live without that person.ReplyDelete
I'm so over it!
Angel romances don't usually work for me either. I haven't quite figured out why...Delete
I will read anything. I kind of like the mind fuck kind of romances. I thought it was just so weird that I didn't like Unteachable. I thought I would love it because I love unlikable characters, but other than the writing, I hated the characters and the romance was a joke.ReplyDelete
But then, there are some crazy books I read and love like Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts or Ruthless People by JJ MacAvoy.
I'm one of the few that doesn't mind cheating in books. When done right. If you're gonna do it, go all out. Don't glorify it, I wanna see all the ugly parts.
I think the only student/teacher romance I've ever liked is Slammed by Colleen Hoover. Have you tried that one? She just did it right in my opinion. The small age gap and their mature personalities (and the writing) made a huge difference.
Your comments have really made me think about my views, and I think I may have different opinions in YA books versus adult.Delete
I actually enjoy dark, twisted characters (Gone Girl, hello -- and all Gillian Flynn characters...) and more so in adult books than YA because it makes me sad when teenagers are that jaded already.
I liked Maise in Unteachable up until the end. I was rooting for her to make the right choices, and then it seemed like she was going to repeat all her mom's mistakes.
And when I think about it, I'm okay with cheating if the book is supposed to be dark and twisted. But when an author tries to sell me on cheating as romantic and leading to HEA, I think that's where I balk..
Know what you mean about looking at the student/teachers differently as a parent, though there have been a few I still really enjoyed months backReplyDelete
I think it's fine if you enjoy them -- it is possible to separate fact from fiction :)Delete
I have a hard time reading about World wars...especially the holocaust. I like pretend things, because I'm a real wuss sometimes! But it really hits me emotionally and I get very freaked. >_< Child abuse is scary to read about, I totally get that. I'm a nanny for several kids so, ugh, I can't even IMAGINE any of them ever getting hurt so it's really hard for me to read those kinds of books.ReplyDelete
Yeah, child abuse is really something I don't want to read about!Delete
I'm really not a big fan of cheating either, and I usually DNF a book or give it a low rating. I think the only exception for me was Anna and the French Kiss. Even though I didn't like that Étienne was a cheater, I couldn't help but feel like the book was cute and fluffy.ReplyDelete
It's funny that that book didn't bother me a lot either -- it should have. Also the Vampire Academy books teacher-student relationship didn't bother me, maybe because they were vampires, so it didn't seem that realistic in a sense...Delete
Oh, now that you mention it, didn't even think about Rose and Dimitri. :P Didn't bother me either.Delete
I'm probably a lot like Nereyda's comment. I can really read any of that but it has to be done in the right way. I don't mind student/teacher books if the story is done well. I like angst and drama and the forbiddenness but sometimes it can go too far or be too much. I did enjoy Unteachable but also was uncomfortable through some of it too. Same with Black Ice at times too for different reasons. Sometimes I just don't know how to feel and that makes the book entertaining to read too. lolReplyDelete
We'll have to discuss Black Ice -- the whole "Stockholm syndrome" was a bit of an issue but for me just part of a larger problem that ALL the characters just did stupid things all the time. I'll email you :)Delete
I agree I don't like cheating. And creepy relationship even Stockholm syndrome tends to get on my nerves.ReplyDelete
Hmmmm. Black Ice?Delete
I am so with you on these, Jen! I can't handle the lying and cheating either. I mean who would seriously think about a long-term relationship with someone like that? I wouldn't. You would never feel you could trust them. I also can't do the teacher/student thing. I did read one romance novel where there was a brief situation where there was some crushing, but it was the student's older brother's BF who she had grown up knowing and crushing on who came back home to teach when she was a senior in school. They also didn't get together until years later when she was back from college. So that worked. :)ReplyDelete
If they got together later, that would not bother me either...Delete
I never root for a cheater, even if that is what the book is about. Cheaters are the devil. Teacher / student relationship are NEVER okay. Book or not in a book. NOT okay. I don't like to read about them, I don't like to even think that they go on. G R O S S. Just not a "good" story line in my opinion.ReplyDelete
Yeah, that's the issue for me -- I like characters I can get behind. Though I guess there are some books where the point is that the characters are twisted. But in that case I don't want to get sold some happy ending...Delete
I have so much trouble reading books that feature cheaters. I think the only book I've ever read where it didn't bother me was Something Borrowed, but I loved the sequel, Something Blue, more. I just don't like to see cheating normalized, I guess. And I agree, I think teacher/student relationships- particularly with high schoolers- is disturbing and creepy. And illegal.ReplyDelete
Ha -- I HATED Something Borrowed. Hated the cheating and all the rationalization for it and all of it. Something Blue I didn't mind so much. But I will admit there are cheating plots (like Anna and the French Kiss) that have not bothered me for some reason. It's weird!Delete