Ready for a Modern Day Romance?
I don’t often read romances but I thought I’d take a break from some of the intense reading I’d been doing on trauma and complex PTSD and mindfulness and treat myself to something a bit lighter and thus I chose The Heart Principle.
I’m still debating if it was the right time to pick up a book like this after coming to a dead end on a romantic possibility of my own, one that had caused a lot of emotional turbulence, sadness, and fear. Reading about other people falling in love and having the best sex of their life can certainly induce hope but can also cause feelings of envy and a deepening of that loss.
I have to say overall I was pleasantly surprised by all this book managed to do.
The author Helen Hoang, did a great job of interlacing the story with legit human issues such as the emotional toll of caring for a loved one when they become ill, the ups and downs of therapy, living on the autism spectrum, and even some light touches on race in America all while following two people as they fall in love.
I know how hard it is to sit down and write a book, so I’m not here to go through and nitpick, but I did find a couple of things that felt slightly off. It’s probably because I am not super aware of the standards that come along with romance novels but I noticed that every time genitalia was mentioned in the story she used the word, ‘sex,’ such as:
‘He felt the wetness of my sex as he slid his fingers deeper inside.”
Is it against the rules to use vulva? Pussy? Penis? Cock? Are those words too aggressive? Jarring? Un-sexy where romance is concerned? It’s not that big of a deal I just found it off-putting and I like the idea of modern day romances being as sex-positive as possible.
Which leads me to my only other critique. And SPOILER ALERT. The guy she’s dating at the beginning of this book wants an open relationship. She agrees to it because she doesn’t know how to say no. I actually like the premise because again, it’s one of those legit human issues many people in the dating world go through, but is that really what they were doing in the book?
I know that there are a plethora of reasons why people choose to have open relationships as well as the type of open relationships people agree to have, but once he said he was going to sleep with other people she just went back to her apartment and lived her own life and never really talked to him again until he showed up at her parents house. Like, if you’re in an open relationship you’re still having relations with each other right? They weren’t separated. Yet, they didn’t do anything to keep their relationship going. She wanted out but would she have gotten back together with him if she didn’t find an out through another, better guy?
Which leads me to my final thoughts—the best and also most unbelievable (in a good way) part of the book, Quan. Where does one find a man like that? I hope that by Hoang writing a character like him she has in turn manifested men like that into real life because damn. Not only is he physically hot, he has a successful job, a solid support system of family and friends, a car and a motorcycle, hobbies that he enjoys by himself and with others, and most importantly kindness, patience, and generosity. Of course Anna would want to be with him over the insensitive narcissistic open relationship dude. I WANT to be with him and he’s a made up person.
I understand that this is a romance and the guy is supposed to be a FANTASY but I’m still holding on to a glimmer of hope that people like him exist because everyone deserves to have that kind of love in their life.
Anyway, if you’re looking to get swept away in a tale of finding true love within yourself and in your relationships while tackling all that life throws your way this is a good one to go with. It almost makes me want to start dating again.
Or join the Book of the Month Club and read along with what I’m reading every month!