by Uncle Walt
I am a man who has manly pursuits. I have fixed cars and toilets. I own a chainsaw, a tractor and a fishing boat. I have designed and implemented full-scale computer networks. I can pee standing up. Yet, due to a strange quirk of fate, romance novels have taken over my life. Thousands of them fill shelves, boxes, crates, tables, even the floor of my house. I am often found with my nose buried in one, another open on my lap, one put aside after being perused, and a stack of more ready to be cracked open.
You see, late one night The Wife laughed aloud. This is not typically a life altering occurrence, but my life is not typical. Innocently I inquired as to what was funny. I don’t regret the question, but I often wonder what my life would be like had I not asked it. She looked up from her book and said: “The desire deepened, went lower. It filled her hips and made her vulva cry.” After pulling my jaw off the floor, I rustled up enough courage to ask her what the hell she was talking about.
Amidst what was apparently an otherwise well-written romance novel, that line appeared. While it wasn’t the “purple-headed warrior” of cinematic fame, it was certainly a literary gem. After some questioning, The Wife admitted that such lines are not uncommon, even in the best books in the genre. With prompting she quoted from another novel: “His body wept within her, her shuddering passage milking his seed, while orchids burst like fireworks and pink dolphins leaped through the sparkling cloud that had once been her mind.”
Being the bright fellow that I am, I saw the value of these quotes. I recognized that they needed to be preserved for posterity and shared with mankind. Thus the Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Quotes blog was born. Later a bastard brother in the form of Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Covers would appear, to highlight and honor the oft-times terrible cover art that graces these published works. For over a year, The Wife and I have updated the blogs daily with a unique quote and (minus the occasional accidental duplicate) cover.
The only downside to our creation is the rarely-voiced opinion that we are anti-romance novel or that we are insulting the genre. Nothing could be farther from the truth! The Wife is still a fan and continues to read a surprisingly large portion of our inventory. I have even developed an appreciation for them myself. While I doubt you will catch me actually reading “The Billionaire Boss’s Virgin Mistress’s Baby Bargain,” I am the first to admit that there are quality authors and stories. Why, then, would we poke fun at them? Believe it or not, it’s somewhat altruistic. Sure, we feel the pain of “desire slammed into his loins like a fist” as if we were the ones who had received a cock-punch. But the ultimate goal is to prevent us ever having to read a phrase like that in the first place.
Criticism is an effective and useful educational tool. If you clearly illustrate what not to do, you often provide a much more valuable resource. I hold no illusions that I’m changing the world. I realize that by the time I read “Christian’s manroot jumped against her thigh and she imagined it a velvet-tipped iron spear,” it’s just too late to help the poor, lamented author – after all, it’s already in print. But perhaps, just maybe, a budding writer will realize that describing a man’s genitalia as a thistle is not a flattering comparison.
There are lovely, romantic, sexy and fun books, just as there are tasteful, attractive and sexy covers. We see them, we appreciate them, and we do not put them on our blogs. Sure, maybe we cheat a little, taking a line out of context. I mean, surely “actually, I stuffed a dead hedgehog in your muff” can’t possibly mean what it sounds like it means, can it? We’ll never tell! You’ll just have to read the book to find out. Which, believe it or not, is what happens. People search out and purchase books that we’ve featured on our site. I imagine that the author won’t complain too much about the occasional out of context quote if it helps them sell more books.
I would love to be put out of business. But until such a day comes that I will no longer read lines like “Kissin’ your red-hot love flower made this stem grow big and hard just for you Baby Doll,” I consider it my civic duty to mankind, a gesture of kindness and compassion, to warn my readers of what to expect. You’re welcome.
Uncle Walter’s Bad Romance Novel Quotes and Covers have been featured in the March 2010 issue of RT Bookreviews Magazine. Uncle Walter also has his very own Facebook fan page. You can submit quotes and covers to the site via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.