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Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Sarah Wendell

"Funny, irreverent, and insightful, this guide zeros in on the joys and woes of the romance genre... delivering both in delightful, readable style." -- Nora Roberts,New York Timesbestselling author    "A high-octane, hilarious and … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Sarah Wendell
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Fireside
1 review about Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches'...

Smart Bitches on Romance

  • Nov 12, 2009
I am a relatively new convert to SBTB followers. I only picked up on the site about a year ago and wasn't sure what to make of it. I wasn't a closet romance reader--I've always been very open about reading romances, even when I was thirteen years old toting around a bag full of 80's Harlequin titles with subject matter most 13 year olds wouldn't think about in relation to 'romance' (like revenge sex, never heard of that until I read Harlequin). When my friends would deride me for my tastes in reading material (amongst everything else they chided me about) I'd just shrug and ask them what they knew about romance.

To say I enjoyed reading this book is an understatement. When I picked it up at the bookstore to flip through a few months ago I was texting my twilight friends the definition for 'vampire' before I got to the last word, storing away information about the various archetypes of heroine to compare against my favorites and thanking god that I knew enough about the female anatomy before I read my first romance that I never believed in the magical hymen that every romance heroine has.

There were some portions that I skimmed over quickly--parts of the chapters labeled 'Corset' (about heroines) and 'Codpiece' (about heroes), 'Bad Sex' (about rape in romance) and 'Love Grotto' (about sex scenes) had sections where I just skipped them to the next header for whatever reason. Like any other Fandom meta-essay analysis book (which if you're into the Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, or Star Trek fandoms you will have read at LEAST one meta-essay book, in my case I read them like a thirsty man needs water) some of it can just be very dry and 'well I knew that'.

This book though I think is good for anyone who has a friend (male or female) who constantly teases them for liking books about 'women who swoon at men's feet and have sex willy-nilly' (I hear this a lot). Now you can pull this book out, flip to the section they just accused you of enjoying and have them read just how wrong they are. This isn't a comprehensive guide to romance books, this is a guide for the genre itself told in a witty, intelligent and easily understandable way. There's illustrations (of Mavis, the romance reader stereotype), ridiculous 'Create the Perfect Title for Your Lordly Hero' (because every historical hero needs a title that conveys his dark, brooding self) and the 'Oh Honey What's Your Problem?' (involving some of the more ridiculous reasons heroines are still virgins) games and best of all--its funny. It takes its subject matter seriously, but makes fun of all the tropes, stereotypes and plots that make the genre hard for outsiders to swallow.

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