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20 March 2013

something Harlequin this way creeps... (book review)

Confession time: when I'm exhausted and can't get to sleep, I look for something light to read. I recently went through a Harlequin romance phase, about the same time my insomnia was really peaking. These books were the lightest of the light in terms of the mental exertion required to read them, they were guaranteed to have a happy ending (thus not increasing my depression and, therefore, my insomnia), and they are ridiculously cheap (even free) on Kindle. This meant I could lay in bed feeling sorry for myself while reading book after book of merry idiocy for free or nearly-free until I fell asleep. Yeah yeah, there's still really no justification for reading that crap.

It was a short-lived phase because I got annoyed. Invariably, the chick is in some version of a crappy situation and needs the superhero-esque man - who's always wealthy - to help/save her dumb ass. He's always taller than her. He's always well-dressed, and probably has a better sense of style than she does. He also has more friends, who are also wealthy. And lest we forget, he has a mysterious past with lots of bad stuff. -And those are just some plot issues. The writing itself... well. There's a reason the market is inundated with this stuff. Writing at an 8th grade level (I'm being generous here) isn't difficult, and hey, the plot's already written!

And yet... I occasionally sneak back into the bowels of for another cheap thrill. More rarely, I actually finish the book.

Once, while despairing over impending financial issues, I even considered writing a few of these books. I can't imagine it would take long. Just follow the formula and do some 'reverse editing'. After a brief consideration, I decided I couldn't possibly bring myself to write so poorly. I'd annoy myself. Unless it were a parody... but really, who has time for that?

Fortunately for the world, somebody else has taken on the task: David Schmidt. Don't worry, I'd never heard of him before either. He emailed me about... well, a few things, but this was one of them. He has written a parody of the genre which, I think, is pretty spot-on. And by "spot-on" I mean that he's taken all the hallmarks of horrible writing tropes in the romance genre and exploded them across the pages of his book, making them that much more visible and therefore, hilarious.

At less than $4 for a paperback and less then $3 on Kindle (and with just under 50 pages of text) it's cheap enough to be worth the quick laugh it'll provide. Assuming you're into sardonic stuff. Which I am. 

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