My Return to HEA

11 Oct

And they lived happily ever after.  The End.  It was my favorite kind of story.  My mother used to read to us every night, or at least that’s the way I remember it.  We had a beautiful book of fairy tales.  My favorite was Rapunzel – I thought rampion sounded exotic. And who wouldn’t be in love with a man who would scale walls to get you your heart’s desire? All the fairy tales – the girl gets the Prince – my dream come true.  Then it was time to read on my own.  Trixie Belden occupied much of my reading time.  She was still happy at the end.  Mystery solved.

As I grew older, teachers made me read certain books that they thought all teenagers must read to get through life.  The one I remember most is The Catcher in the Rye.  Not that I remember the story, but there was a scene in it that had parents up in arms.  As none of us really wanted to read it, all of a sudden it was the best read book – at least that one part.  Other “have to” reads – Animal Farm, Ethan Frome, and 1984.  If memory serves me correctly I remember police were pigs, a sledding accident, and Big Brother is watching you.  That’s about it.  I could have lived a full life without those! Some weren’t even happy at the end.

The novels I still remember are those that I chose – my all time favorite Gone With the Wind, Dr. Zhivago, and The Valley of the Dolls.  That last entry was one that my mom had sort of hidden in her room and I found it.  I smuggled it into my bedroom, closed the door and proceeded to read it in one setting, afraid that my mom would find out and take it away from me.  It opened my eyes to a new world of romance novels!  But only for a bit. . .  Besides, I had to convince myself that they would be happy, the author just didn’t finish it yet.  Rhett will return.  Yuri finds Lara.

Through college I continued reading.  My sister and I joined Doubleday Book Club, sharing the commitment to purchase five more books in a year’s time.  My choices were usually suspenseful espionage novels.  Robert Ludlum was a favorite.  I was educated and felt that reading anything less would be frivolous.  Summer found me reading as many international intrigue books as I could before school started again. Not necessarily happy, but the world was safer.

For many years I continued reading “dramatic” works.  I saw those “scandalous” covers with Fabio in bookstores and couldn’t figure out who in the world would ever read that trash.  Danielle Steele or Nora Roberts – never!  Even though many teachers talked about enjoying those two.  One year I had two students’ parents that were good friends and wanted to buy me a novel for Christmas.  They asked me which book I would like.  Since I liked reading best-selling novels, I told them to just pick one from the best-selling list  and surprise me.  Boy was I surprised!!  Nora Roberts had just published Northern Lights and of course it made the best seller list.  My first very own hard-covered Romance Novel!!  I was kind of embarrassed, but I brought it with me on the high school band’s trip to Florida and read it on the bus.  It was good.  I was hooked!  Who wouldn’t want to read a book that was lighthearted, passionate, and euphoric?  Everyone eventually gets what they want.  Soul mates unite.  True love wins.

My choices have changed.  Find me a book that will make me happy. Real life is tough – romance is easy.  Don’t worry, be happy.  Let those spies continue to make others paranoid.  Give me “And they lived happily ever after.  The End.”

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