When I was growing up I was much of a loner, all the way up until I graduated high school. As cliche as it sounds, books were my only friend. I don’t deny that I am a little out there, perhaps a bit eccentric. Some people just don’t get me. One being my father. He can’t understand why I read “those books”. This is the same man that will go on for hours about the Yankees and knows every single fact about this team since they began. I am seriously in awe of his memory.
But when I ask him who Nora Robert is, he gives me a blank stare and asks “Who? Is she one of the Yankees' players' wives?"
There were two different situations that happened to me my senior year of high school that changed my reading habits forever. I attended a private all girls’ catholic high school that had less than 200 students. I graduated with a class of 25. We wore uniforms, had nuns as teachers and I went to bible study classes. Even back then I was the first to read and finish any book put in front of me. I was the first student in my English class to finish Jane Eyre, Once in Future King and I even read Hamlet in one weekend even though I had to rent and watch the Laurence Olivier version to understand what I was reading. But I also had a habit at that time of reading historical romances. That was the only type of book I would read. I was the biggest fan of those books with the Fabio covers and the stereotypical half naked man and woman clutching each other near a stream or in a field. But something happened that totally embarrassed me. The principal called me into her office one day to “discuss” the issue about these books I was reading.
I had accidentally left one of my romances in the cafeteria. A teacher saw it and right off the bat assumed it was mine. Apparently, she and the principal glanced through the book and marked off the naughty parts. I was actually called out of one of my classes and sent into the principal’s office! The first time in my entire life! As I sat there, she asked me why would I read this filth and had me read those passages out loud. She was told that I was giving advice to my fellow classmates about sex! That if they read romances, they could have good sex with their boyfriends. I was shocked and appalled! If you heard what I learned about sex during lunch breaks from my classmates, well they could write their own erotica. Up to that point, I had never even dated, kissed or had sex with a boy. Yes, I was very sheltered.
For a short moment I was seriously thinking of given up reading romance. For a few weeks after my “talk” I wouldn’t bring in any of my “filth” to school. Now also around this time, I had started a friendship with a younger student. I believe she was a freshman at the time. She didn’t do that well in school and hated homework and reading. For some reason we started talking and she noticed the amount of books I was reading and was impressed. And even though they were romances, she was still very interested. She didn’t have her own library card, so with mine, I took out a bunch of books, again all romances, and gave them to her to read. And guess what happened? During my final year of high school she would read every book I gave her and we would talk about the characters, the plot and even the sex scenes with great joy. She began to understand why I loved to read and I was thrilled to have someone to talk to about these books and not feel ashamed.
On one hand you have someone who will put down something you love for no reason because they are biased. On the other, you have someone who is willing to open their mind to something they don’t know and change their perception.
I guess what I am saying is that there are a whole lot of us out there that have a great love for this genre and instead of harping at one another, we should all work together to show our love and admiration for something many other just don’t get, like my father and my high school principal.
It is fourteen years later since I was sent to the principal’s office for something I thought I had done wrong. It was also in the same regard I believe I may have changed a young woman’s life for the better. Now that I had been welcomed into a community like this (Thanks to Kristie(J)) I am not backing down and I will say loud and clear.
I READ ROMANCE NOVELS AND I AM PROUD OF IT!!!
Why all the snark when you can just share the love instead?