Give me some of that sexy, sexy self-loathing
February 6, 2014 1:25 PM Subscribe
Book recommendation filter:
Guy loves girl. Guy hates himself for it. Romantic drama ensues.
posted by pretentious illiterate to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Okay, I'm pretty sure this is one of the most common tropes in romance literature, but I'm hoping that by narrowing it down a bit, I can get some good recommendations, as opposed to just a list of the hundreds of books that feature it.
Here's how I'm narrowing it down.
1.) It's a book you can actually recommend. I don't need it to be great literature at all - higher-quality genre stuff would be lovely, since I probably read less romance than any other genre - but no hate-reading. Along those lines, please recommend it because the central conflict works for you emotionally - I think The Scarlet Letter probably meets my specifications, but I don't think anyone has gotten sucked deep into its forbidden romance lately. (Though if I'm wrong, let me know!)
2.) No cheating. Well, there can be incidental cheating, but another person that can't be the primary barrier keeping the lovers apart. I'm hoping this will be the caveat that narrows down the field.
3.) No pedophilia/age gaps. "I love her, but I hate myself because she's only sixteen" isn't romantic, it's gross.
4.) Maybe this is more of a clarification than a specification, but: this can't just be a forbidden love, or a love with consequences. If, say, religion is keeping the lovers apart, the lover must have actually internalized the religious norms, and be conflicted about them - the drama can't just be "If we get caught, we'll get in a ton of trouble (c.f. Romeo and Juliet.)
5.) Hetero relationships only, please. Not because I'm not into gay fiction (I read a lot of slash, and this trope is everywhere). It's just not what I'm looking for at the moment. Examples where the trope is reversed (it's the girl who hates herself, not the guy) would, however, be welcome.
The book that sparked this question is The Thorn Birds, but the classic examples of the kind of emotional fetish fuel I'm looking for are Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. The obvious recent Bad Examples are Twilight and Fifty Shades (I think, haven't read the latter) but again, I'm looking for books you recommend.