Friday, 8 July 2011

"Reading Mills & Boon is

potentially harmful to your health..." - or so it says on page three of this morning's paper. Apparently someone called Susan Quillam who writes romance and is a "relationship counsellor" has come to this conclusion.
I have not come across Susan Quillam's work but I did once try to read a Mills and Boon book. I was bored by the end of the first page and went no further. It was not for me.
But, it is a genre that many people enjoy. I understand it is read mostly by women but I believe there are some closet male readers as well. Of those readers I suspect that the vast majority of them know very well that "real life" is not "like that". One reason for this will be because many readers of Mills and Boon are apparently older readers. They know that the world of Mills and Boon, like so many other fictional worlds, is not real.
There is also an art to writing Mills and Boon. It is not a matter of sitting down and writing boy meets girl, falls in love, marries and lives happily ever after. There are guidelines which need to be adhered to and ways in which aspects of the story must be handled.
I once talked to a New Zealander about this. He was a television news reader but he supplemented his income (not nearly as high in those days) by writing Mills and Boon books. He would turn out about six a year. He could write them on a sort of production line which turned out uniform but unique products - if that makes sense. I came to the conclusion it is a different sort of writing - something I could never handle.
Writing those slim books was not harmful to his health. I doubt they are really harmful to the health of the vast majority of those who read them. They are probably like chocolate or icecream - and some people can eat more of those things than others.
It is not going to make me read a Mills and Boon - but I hope those who enjoy them will continue to do so.


Rhiannon Hart said...

Harmful to your health! What's the right word? Baloney! Nothing wrong with escapism.

Anonymous said...

Rhiannon- baloney is putting it politely. It's the sort of nonsense you would expect from a Murdoch newspaper - Chris

JO said...

Surely it's great that people are reading. Who are we to censure what they read? OK, so maybe Mills and Boon doesn't rock my boat, but better to have read and been entertained than never to have read at all.

catdownunder said...

My father - who has never read Mills & Boon was bemused by the report (and the prominence given to it) and said, "There are far more harmful things they could be reading." He agrees with both of you!