As I write this, I realize that I published a pensive post at the beginning of last year, too, based on James J. Cudney‘s Watching Glass Shatter. This year, Holly Renee‘s Good Girls Series prompted my thinking.
First, a moment to outline the book that lead to this post: Where Bad Girls Go to Fall. It’s a best friend’s brother romance that’s the second of three in the Good Girls Series by Holly Renee. Overall, it’s a cute read with some definite steam. I enjoyed the read and plan on reading the third book in the series soon.
What I’m stuck on is one small passage in the story about jealousy and possession. Our main man, Mason, realizes he’s crazy jealous of his love interests’ unprompted male attention and calls himself out on his feelings. His instinct is to go caveman style and lock her away from others, but knows this doesn’t drive a healthy relationship.
This is where I start thinking (I know, dangerous)…
How many guys, or girls for that matter, recognize this subtle difference between jealousy and possession? Or love and possession? How many romance novels focus on the alpha male trope and blur these lines even more? Am I being too serious about literary escapes by tying them to larger societal topics?
I get it; I just asked a bunch of questions and didn’t even attempt to answer any of them. Honestly? I’d say mostly because I have no idea what the answers are. I can certainly speak from personal experience, but I have no mind to say I represent society overall, let alone could speak for them. But, I started this discussion, so I guess the least I can do is contribute to it.
When I was younger, I most certainly didn’t know the difference between jealousy and possession or love and possession. It felt like love should be some all consuming thing that meant we’d only ever want to spend all of our time together, never even showing interest in anything else or other people. Obviously, this caused a few issues with relationships as I re-learned that misconception.
I’d say even now I struggle… my husband has an alcohol addiction. He struggles way less than he did in the past, but I still find myself spending time worrying when it might come back full force. What’s a normal amount of worry versus getting possessive again? It’s definitely not exactly the same line, but sometimes feels close when I want to hide away inside and not let either of us leave.
I think outside of us pondering the initial questions, we also must think about the final one: Am I being too serious about literary escapes by tying them to larger societal topics?
A professor in college used to say “Art is a reflection of society, not the generator of it.” I think that applies here to some extent. Women like to read it, so it’s written about. Do women like to read about it because we’re told to or because that’s what we have as reading options? It feels a little chicken and the egg-ish.
Maybe I’ve had too many days off from work for the holidays.
Maybe you can help drag me out of this swirl I’ve created. What do you think? Are we teaching people to equate jealousy and possession or love and possession? If we are, is it through literature? Or somewhere else? Should we all know better that to have a book drive our understanding of the world or does that seem completely plausible?
Pull me out of my misery, I’d love to hear your thoughts!