…the accompanying explanation that “escapist urges” are fueling these sales wasn’t satisfactory for me. Isn’t all fiction escapist in some way? I wondered. And why are readers escaping into this particular kind of fiction?
…I realized that it was too hasty to rush to this conclusion. Romances are not one kind of thing. Neither are their readers. And to draw fast conclusions about the genre and its audience is to perpetuate the kind of stereotyping which has always made romance the “most maligned of literary texts.”
Rendell discusses Beverly Jenkins’ presentation, as well as Dr. Guy Mark Foster’s examination, both scholarly and personal, of interracial romances. Rendell cuts through a lot of the stereotype to reveal the truth about romances – the one we already know: that the journey to the happy ending is so varied that there’s really no way to ever say that romances are “all the same.”
Full disclosure: I met Rendell at the Princeton conference on romance and academia, and I’m quoted in the article. But even if the parts that mention Smart Bitches, Beyond Heaving Bosoms, and yours truly were cut from the article, it would still be among the best articles on romance in the recession and the reality beneath the stereotype of romance readers that I’ve read.
If you’d like to generate more attention for Rendell’s article within the HuffPo world, you can click the “digg” icon at the top and perhaps bring the article to the attention of more readers – which could only be a good thing. Big, mad, Snoopy-dancing props to Joanne Rendell. Well played!
ETA: Rendell’s article is now on the Huffington Post Media News page, with the following outstanding quote featured.
To rush to conclusions about romance fiction is to flatten out a rich, varied, and continually evolving genre.
Everyone who has nominated her for the RWA Veritas award: well played.