Love at First Sight
Or insta-love, or 'The One', or even Bella Swan syndrome (which is kinda more of a Mary Sue thing, but you get the gist.) Now, to get things clear, I'm not talking about things like this in real life. I'm sure they can happen, and that they're all very happy together and whatever, but I'm talking about this in the context of YA fiction. I don't mean this as a rant or anything, it's just something I wanted to discuss. Also, feel free to dismiss anything I say as I AM only a 14 year old girl who has zero experience with with actual bf/gf relationships. But. I AM also entitled to my opinion, so, y'know ;)
Anyway, I like paranormals. I like characters and the stories and the creatures, but last year, it was literally all I read. And I didn't see anything wrong with that (well, there isn't) but I also didn't see anything wrong in the relationships these characters were having with each other. Being a naive 13 year old, I kind just thought that was how it worked sometimes. And then I started to read contemporaries (which before blogging I wouldn't have touched with a bargepole because they were too 'girly'. You can laugh.) Reading these contemps, I was kind of surprised. I mean, get this. The girls, well, they weren't perfect, and they weren't Mary Sues. And the boys? Well, neither were they, and they weren't trying to kill the girl they fancied. And then, this is where the REAL shock set in, they actually, like, got to KNOW each other before they started kissing! I know right. I totally just heard your jaws drop open.
Okay, so I was being a little bit sarcastic there, but you get the point. Reading all of these tales of epic undying loves had distorted my vision a bit, and I don't even know how! I HATE Romeo and Juliet with a passion (no offence Shakespeare, I'm more a Beatrice and Benedick girl) so I don't even know how I started loving these books, but I just kind of do. Except for Twilight. That's pushing it. (Again, no offence, but sparkly vampires just don't do it for me.)
Getting away from the point again... (sorry I'm a bit distracted.. ;P) But I think that what reading a large volume of these kind of books does, when you're young and impressionable like I was (and still am, I guess, about these kind of things) is that they sort of blur the line between lust and love. And I know I'm a bit young to be talking about these things, but now when I paranormal, I don't see love. I see a boy and a girl who are strangers and have just made eye contact and want to get into each others pants. I see an incredibly unhealthy relationship brewing, one that has no actual basis apart from the fact that they kiss a lot, and they 'need' each other. And I'm not so silly to think that relationships built upon need are good ones.
Now, I know it's only fiction, and I know now that I shouldn't really take it all seriously, and I know it's just for fun, and I don't think it shouldn't happen! But, sometimes it can distort peoples vision of love and lust, and sometimes, they're just so unrealistically sappy for each other that I just want to slap 'em both and tell them to get some balls. But I think you get my point. Maybe. Hopefully. Man, I'm not even sure if I get it...
But, if you could make some semblance of sense in my nonsensy post, what do you think about it? (not the post, the whole insta-love and the effect it can have on silly people like myself...) ;)
Totally agree with you!! As much as I like the romance aspect of paranormal books, I certainly don't think that it is love most of the time, especially after only looking at a guy without knowing anything about him!ReplyDelete
I know exactly what you mean. I just read a book yesterday in fact and I was like, how did they fall in love? We are 27 pages in and we know nothing about this guy!ReplyDelete
Something like that ruins the book for me.
(Blogger won't let me comment as me...AGAIN.)
Okay, I have to say something first. I don't read paranormal. And when I did, it was Twilight, The Mortal Instruments and Blue Blood series. That's all I can remember. But I love contemporary. In fact, most of my books are contemps. I can't exactly tell you how insta love works in paranormal, but I think insta love isn't only in paranormal. Contemps have sometimes insta love, too. And it makes me angry. I think all genres are suffering from this disease. We want build up between the characters not making out scenes on the third day they get to know each other authors! Okay, I just wanted to point that out. It isn't only happening in paranormal.ReplyDelete
Totally! Love at first sight is so overused now that it's getting pretty predictable and less exciting. Though I must say I LOVE EDWARD!Sorry :PReplyDelete
LOLS!!! Your sarcasm had us cracking up.ReplyDelete
"I mean, get this. The girls, well, they weren't perfect, and they weren't Mary Sues. And the boys? Well, neither were they, and they weren't trying to kill the girl they fancied. And then, this is where the REAL shock set in, they actually, like, got to KNOW each other before they started kissing! I know right. I totally just heard your jaws drop open."
You're too funny. ;)
And wise, really. Beyond your years. B/c you're right, this is isn't how the world works. Love at first sight is... debatable, but even if it's real, it's uncommon. And what fun is it anyway? Getting to know each other is the best bit, the exciting, heart-fluttering, sweaty-palm joy.
Sometimes it's fun to read about those unrealistic relationships, that desperate pull of love. But it doesn't set up realistic expectations at all. Real love is hard work -- but that's also the reward. Knowing that you and the person you're with are dedicated to each other, that you can overcome differences, and grow together.
You're right! There are actually quite a few paranormal books that I've read recently where the relationship moved too fast (the whole insta-love thing) and I just didn't enjoy the book as much as I would if it wouldn't have happened. They all would have been excellent books, but the couple just bothered me too much.ReplyDelete
I hate instalove almost as much the the ridiculous love triangle.ReplyDelete
The thing is, I know that attraction can be instant and sometimes hit you like a freight train. You see a hot guy or girl, the pheromones hit the air, and suddenly you find yourself desperately craving their presence, attention, and touch. That's perfectly natural.
What bothers me is when authors, particularly YA authors, slap the "true love" label on it in order to make things seem more romantic or grandiose or whatever.
I personally don't believe in falling in love with someone without getting to know him/her first. Love for me is a very deep emotion with very deep roots...and those roots need time & nourishment to grow.
Bottom line, if authors want their characters to go totally gaga over each straight out the gate, then that's fine by me. However, present it for what it is: infatuation & hormone-driven lust.
Also, I agree with you. I think that instalove sends some mixed messages to young readers and may even give them the wrong idea of what love and a healthy relationship is supposed to look like. Many teens are already rushing way too fast into serious relationships and into sex. And I worry that this notion of instalove and finding your 'soulmate' at the mere age of 15/16/17 sets teens up for having unrealistic expectations and muddles their judgement.
Okay, rant over. ;)
Thank you guys so much! :DReplyDelete
Lindsay- Yes! I'm totally just like, 'who is this and why are you kissing him already?!' ;)
mfay2- you're totally right. I really should've mentioned the other genres... But I just got my rant on and kind of forgot ;) But you're right. I think I just focused on Paranormal 'cause that's where I read most of it happening.
Miaandsofia- Ain't nothing wrong with loving Edward! He's alright until the sun comes up ;) (if not a little bit stalkierish...)
WeHeartYA- Thank you! :) And I do try (to be funny, not wise.. That just comes naturally ;p)
Kapri- Yeah, sometimes I find it just kills a book a little bit...
Marg K- I totally agree with you! And grrr... Those love triangles! ;) And yes! It the whole 'true love' label that gets on my nerves! Because it isn't! (IMO)
Well, I'm a 31 year old with gobs of experience in the whole boy-girl relationships thing, and I too find insta-love to be obnoxious.ReplyDelete
First off, it's staggeringly rare in real life. Lust, like, pleasant sensation of fuzzy attraction at first sight are all common, and make for better stories.
Secondly, it's lazy writing. It means the author didn't want to take the time to build real characters or real relationships. The only thing I like less than love at first sight is the magically mated thing which is taking love at first sight to a whole new level of lazy.
Third, it gyps the readers. We don't get to enjoy the process of getting to know each other. Trust me, when you've been with someone for a long time, you learn that first stage where you're still getting to know each other is a whole lot of fun.
As for the use of it in YA... I guess I'm neutral about it. It's a common trope of romances for all ages since pretty much the dawn of time. (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, as you mentioned R&J.) My hope is many young readers can figure out that not only are the vamps in the book not real, but the relationships aren't either.
I completely agree. I'm not against lust at first sight, or characters who like each other and get on straight away, but love takes time to grow. I also agree that it gives teenagers reading a screwed-up view of what love is.ReplyDelete
Another thing that worries me about insta-love is how willing some characters are to give up their entire previous lives for the person they just fell in insta-love with. Cough, Bella Swan, cough. I just find it almost entirely unrealistic that a teenager would have no previous dreams or aspirations that they were seriously attached to. And to give them all up to what, pretend to be a teenager forever? Bella's destiny isn't even exciting. (Sorry, letting my disdain for Twilight show!)