Monday, February 14, 2011

Guest Post: Crystal from I Totally Paused!

My good friend, Crystal, from I Totally Paused! has written up a guest post about romance in books and how that affects ones ideals about romance in your own life. It's an absolutey wonderful essay on the topic and I thank Crystal greatly for participating in Romance Week with such a wonderful post. 

The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, ... Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside)Romance in Books vs. Romance in My Life

Although I don't recall how old I was, I distinctly remember reading Anne of Green Gables at some point in my youth, seeing the relationship between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe, and knowing that my view of romance and relationships was forever changed.  If you recall, they start off on pretty rocky ground, with Gilbert committing the cardinal sin of tugging on Anne's braid and calling her "Carrots!"  but from that unfortunate meeting blossoms a romance for the ages.  Or, at least one for me.

I couldn't even tell you now what about their romance was so appealing, or what I would have hoped to emulate in my own life.  I certainly have no desire to have some guy pull my hair and call me a name!  But what really stuck with me was how they slowly moved from enemies, to friends, to lovers and kindred spirits.  I yearned for a boyfriend who had known me from a relatively young age, someone who had grown with me, and was, purely by accident, the man of my dreams.

As the years have gone on, my romantic views have changed from Anne Shirley to the likes of Lady Julia Grey and Claire Randall.  All are independent women, without need of men, but who have managed to find the right, loving man for each of them.  Not only do I look to their relationships as a guide for my own, I look to these women as inspiration in my daily life.  I can't think of a better way to find my own handsome, dashing hero than by being a lovely, intelligent heroine on my own.

While my impressions of this early romance have dissipated over time, my affection for romance in books has only gotten stronger.  Many would say that reading romance can make us unrealistic, giving an idealized version of love and relationships, but I disagree with this.  I see nothing wrong with having a set of examples, something you want to achieve with your own relationships, and I will continue to use romance in novels to set the guidelines for romance in my own life.

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