Romance Is My Day Job is a memoir by Patience Bloom. Patience is an editor at Harlequin, and she writes here about her own romantic experiences. The book has a rocky start but once Patience exits her twenties and develops interests other than dating, it becomes moving and funny.
I ended up loving this book. But, before I loved it, I hated it. Because Patience initially chooses to focus on her experiences with romance to the exclusion of all else, her early years (high school and college, and some of her twenties) just aren’t very interesting. She writes a little bit during these early passages about how reading romance influenced her, but she doesn’t make any terribly thought-provoking points. Patience certainly has intellectual interests, but she barely writes about them because she wants to focus on romance. Her hobby is reading romance. Her friendships revolve around romance. I’m as into romance as one can be but oh, how I prayed for young, seemingly self-absorbed, drama queen Patience to take up knitting or something on the side.
There’s also a problem with the writing style. Patience tells her story in first-person, present tense, which means you are right there with her in the moment as she does things like go to a high school dance, where the boy of her dreams ignores her but the class clown is charming. The present tense narration is common in genres I read, and it doesn’t usually bother me, but here it did. I think it bothered me because, unlike fiction, I know perfectly well that Patience is not, at this exact moment, at the high school dance. I know that she is actually a forty-one year old woman writing about the dance, and for her to use the present tense all the time seemed forced and artificial.
But I’m pleased to say that things start to look up after a bit. For one thing, Patience actually does take up knitting, thus proving that I give the best advice ever. Call me. I know all. She takes up a career at Harlequin (!), she talks more about her family relationships and her social life at work – she’s not obsessed with dating to the exclusion of all else in life. She develops some maturity and balance. And she turns out to be both insightful and funny.
I never did feel like I had much in common with Patience, but I did grow to enjoy her company. I admired her for never giving up on finding romance even though she did stop making romance her ultimate goal to end all goals. And I loved the section in which she breaks down the guys she meet while online dating by Harlequin romance hero types. That section was both insightful and very, very funny.
Ultimately Patience finds her happy ending after she’s made peace with being single. The part of the story that describes her reuniting with a Mysterious Figure From Her Past and finding true love is funny, touching, and boy is it a page-turner. Patience has to take big emotional risks and the pay-off is as satisfying as that in any romance novel. Given that the cover of the book says, “A Memoir of Finding Love at Last”, I feel it’s no spoiler to say that the last, sigh-worthy line of the book is, “And you know, those books were right – about everything”.
This is a fun, very light, very fast read that will entertain and inspire – I just suggest you start it at Part II, Chapter Six.