Saturday 26 March 2016

Why New Adult Novels Aren't Realistic

It's clear my most read genre is NA Romance... and used to be YA. For me, reading was a huge escape and the words became my reality (sort of). Reading can be an escape for many but what authors fail to notice is that for some, their words have effect and are heavily weighted with influence. As I have gotten older, and become officially an adult, *gulp* and lived in the world I often read about ... I have repeatedly been tormented by the inaccuracies that plague the genre and need to go on a rant share my thoughts on this...

1: Male Characters - Getting Involved

No matter what situation is happening (usually relationship drama) a male character will approach the girl and either talk through it and rationalise with her or go and kick some sense into the currently disliked love interest to wake up and go get the girl/ do the right thing... THIS NEVER (RARELY) HAPPENS! 

Men and women are chemically different and are wired differently and no amount of wishing or convincing will change how either sex works. A girl could pour her heart out to a male friend about some issue she is having with another guy, and the chances are that as soon as the girl has left the room the whole issue is forgotten. It's not that they don't care - they just never see it as their place to get involved. End. Of. 

2: Male Characters - Saying the Right Thing at the Right Time

Really authors?! The amount of young guys in NA novels who know instantly their girlfriend is upset (or that they've caused her upset - even more rare in real life) and know EXACTLY what to say to make things better is absolute bull. Now granted, males are not bad-hearted or anything, but usually if you display any issue or upset, they shuffle awkwardly and don't really say anything helpful or tell you "not to worry" as if it's all the simple and that's just that. 

They can't solve your problem and can't give any helpful advice so they won't even bother. But in the world of NA Romance? Oh, they have the wisdom of a man married for 30 years who has been trained how to respond very carefully as if dodging mines. 

3: Clingy = Romantic

There are some novels where it's a dramatic Damsel in Distress story and that's okay. But in nearly all of them there's a pathetic situation where the girl always needs saving in some way (metaphorically or not) and needs the man to really be some Knight in Shining Armour or a need for him to go Caveman with her. I don't know how to pin-point it specifically, but there's a recurring theme of it being the norm for a girl to somewhat become the man's possession... Okay, so this could seem romantic - a man declaring his love with "you're mine and only mine" sort of thing. But clingy behaviour in real life destroys relationships and it's being romanticised so much where in reality it's annoying and can turn into jealousy and obsession quite quickly. 

4: Good Girl Changes/Saves Bad Boy

I love a good girl/bad boy novel as much as the next person but to say the plot has been rinsed dry is an understatement. I'd predict over 50% of romance books that I've read include a lovely innocent "good" girl who manages to clinch the ultimate bad boy / tattooed rocker etc and changes him for the better. Or the amount of times the witty player converts to husband material overnight.

IT'S JUST SO UNREALISITC! Very few young men want relationships - even if they fall for their ultimate girl, that doesn't mean they can forfeit their want for freedom or shake off the uneasy feeling they get at the thought of that much commitment. Most of them just aren't emotionally prepared for it. But in NA world, aaaalllllll of the bad boys don't even flinch at the thought to declare their undying love as they've finally met the one. This is just such a huge issue for me as it's not that simple and young and impressionable teenagers are getting it into their heads that women can change a guy. 1% of cases, perhaps, yes. But overall, if a man doesn't want to change or is not ready to change, it won't happen. Again, all back to the chemicals in our brains. 

5: Young / Teen Marriage

Alright... this bothers me a LOT. I'm nearly 21 and read about characters that are younger than me and tying the knot. WHAAAAAT?! I'm not doubting that they're in love or doubting their significant other to be The One, but they're always super excited to get married and never ever have commitment issues or concerns for the future or anything. I'd love to read about a happily in love young couple where the idea of marriage freaks them out, but it all seems to be a sought after next step that fills them with excitement.  

Not to mention how the parents (if they even exist as apparently most of them are MIA) never seem to have much objection once they see how happy they are. I don't think proposing to someone is a sign of their undying love at all and young teens could come to think of it as the natural relationship progression without thinking about individual futures / wants / family circumstance / careers etc. 

Now, of course some of these are needed here and there. We read to escape the harshness of reality, right? So these are meant to be fantastical and a sort of dream. But I think there's a fine line for the escapism element and also giving false hope to young teens. It was a bit of a shock for me when I moved to university and realised it was NOTHING like that from books I'd read. And that men do NOT think how girls would love them to - and if I'd read books more appropriately representing young men as they truly are... it would have prevented a lot of arguments! 

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