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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Do books influence relationships

I have not been able to keep this question out of my mind. Does the books we read affect our relationships?

Ideas such as soul mates, love at first sight, perfect compatibility are so common in young adult books, that it leaves some readers wondering if they are doing something wrong. Of course, it always depends on the readers maturity and understanding that after all it is a work of fiction. Yet, most of these books are targeted towards a young demographic. So, What do we think, do they affect young girls' expectations of relationships?

I am 24 and not immune, I admit that I am guilty of constantly crushing on book characters. My current crush is Ash from the Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa just in case you were wondering. There is just something about these mysterious, romantic, chivalrous young male protagonists that capture my heart. Who doesn't want to find their soul mate and live happily ever after with them for the rest of their lives. Yet, what I am wondering is does it give some girls the wrong idea of how relationships function? Does it make them believe that this romanticized view of relationships is what they should have? If so, is it a good thing or bad one?

Here is my opinion on the subject, feel free to join the discussion and if you disagree let me know. I always love to hear others opinions. :)

Let me begin by saying that I met my now husband at 16 (we didn't get married until we were 24) so I do not believe that it is impossible to find love at this age. Finding love so young is not as common in real life as it is in novels so hopefully young girls don't believe that they are turning 19 and have not found their prince charming so something must be wrong with them.

What I do have a problem is with the idea of instant love. Yes, I did believe that my husband was the most handsome guy ever at first sight but it was not love until we got to know each other. This idea of love at first sight is entertaining to read but I can see how a problem may arise if a young girl believes that the infatuation they feel at first means that they are now in love and will live a happily ever after. I am not saying that the writers have to change the stories, the idea of instant love works great with the plots. In my belief it is the parent's, or the person's responsibility to not get fooled and try to live a fictional love story.

The idea of perfect compatible couple or soul mates is also very common and may also give the wrong idea. To read a book where all they have to do is love each other and you will live a happy romantic story is entertaining but not realistic. Relationships take hard work and dedication. Yes, you can live happily ever after but I think that girls should be aware that it won't happen magically with the power of love. One may end a great relationship just because the other forgot to call and they know their soul mate would never forget such a thing and this is where this idea may be troublesome. We are humans that make mistakes not perfect fictional characters.

One aspect or idea that I do love about young adult books is the idea of romance. Growing up with this stories helped me realize that I do not have to settle. Romance does exist and it should be something we look forward to, with time you will find Mr. Right. We just have to be smart and find a balance in our expectations. Your perfect guy may not fight demons, have wings and shimmer you to a romantic dinner in the clouds but he might still wake you up with coffee and a brand new book.

What do you think? Has reading YA affected the way you approach relationships?


  1. Great and thoughtful post... I personally like books where the love evolves throughout the story rather than love at first sight. Love at first sight only works if it's "mandatory" - they have some supernatural connection or something. But even then it won't satisfy me as much as a gradual relationship that intensifies over time and trials. I'm another one of those people that met my husband young. I was 17 and we've together 8 years now, so it does happen, but it's definitely not the norm. If I look back at myself when I was young, I don't think it effected me much. I did and still do fangirl crush, but I've always known that it's just a story and sometimes things aren't as romantic or don't happen the same way. UNFORTUNATELY!

    I'm one of those people who didn't enjoy the Twilight series much and this is basically the reason why. The love story wasn't believable to me. It was too quick and too intense. It felt like lust more love. But Bella and Jacob - I felt that their relationship would have made a much more believable love outcome.

    I do think that romance in books makes me expect certain things, but nothing that I'm not worth receiving. There's a balance, but overall I'd rather girls know they deserve something great instead of something halfass just to fit in or not be lonely. I'd want my daughter to expect a man who loves her passionately and she loves back! But I wouldn't want her to think that is something that happens overnight... Because it doesn't. Not saying that lust at first sight cannot develop into love over time though!

  2. ReflectionsofabookaholicSeptember 11, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    Hmmm... I can honestly say that only time will tell. I couldn't help but think of my current relationship/marriage when I saw your question. But I think this question is best answered 5-10 years from now when we ask look at whether or not it lasted.

    My parents were high school sweethearts and 25 years later...they are still together. So I know that people can fall in love at that age and last. So many don't though.

    I don't think books affected my choice and my relationship because I feel like I've always been able to separate reality and fiction. I thought everyone could but I have since learned (while teaching high school & while working with domestic violence victims) that many really can't.

    So my answer is...it depends.

  3. I love this article! I don't really think books only influence our relationships, I do think fairy tales, movies, music and tv shows do too. I do know too many girls looking for their Edward. When I was a teen, I knew many girls who wouldn't date nice average guys because they were holding out for someone "hot like Nick Carter".

    I love that you met your husband at 16. I met my husband at 13 and loved him right away. It was a friendship that grew into love quickly. We didn't get married till we turned 25.

    Great post!



I always read comments and love hearing about what you think. Hope you enjoyed it!

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