Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Mills & Boons Reverie

I read my first Mills & Boons when I was sitting jobless at a client's place (audit is by far the most boring field of work) and I asked a friend to forward me an e-book. Till date I've read about 10-15 Mills & Boons books (yes, I know, I know), here's what all of them are about:

1.    Tall, dark and handsome men: Yes, the ones that don't exist. Okay, fine. They do exist. But, they’re already taken. They do not exist for us mere mortals. And here in India, we mostly find short, stout, dark and not handsome men who leer at us. Mostly. Oh, well.

2.    Well built men vs. tiny and frail girl: I am neither tiny nor frail. I can kick some serious ass! And, well built? Bitch, please! Why do you think the terms "paunch" and "beer belly" exist? Fairy tale portrayal, WHY!?

3.    Very big man: I need to add a *nudge nudge wink wink* here. You know. The girl has never seen such a huge man. Then again, her fear is replaced by how turned on she is and at the end of the day, they fit perfectly well. You know. Yeah, okay.

4.   Stone wall, zero EQ: The male protagonist is always surrounded by a stone wall, emotionally. He has had some bad experience or the other as a child that has left him emotionally stunted. He has built a strong wall around his emotions and feelings, never lets them show and yes, the female protagonist breaks the wall and he gets all mushy, emotional and gets in touch with his feelings. The man will always, always be beautiful, rough and broken. We aren't talking about broken shards of Venetian glass. No. The woman will fix him (it seems to be her single motive). Wouldn’t going to a shrink be easier? Think about it.

5.   Growl, growl, ROAR: Whenever the guy is turned on, he growls. I am not joking! I have noticed this in every sex scene that was elucidated. Sorry, how tactless of me. Love making scenes. The woman sucks in her breath, he growls. The woman moans, he growls. The woman smiles, he growls. The woman hugs him, he growls. A trip to the zoo would be easier!

6.    Damsel-in-distress and knight-in-shining-armour syndrome: Yes. She is always in need of help. Yes, he is always there to save her. They fall in love and have a happily ever after. Don't we all? It must be so difficult to come up with a plot line showing exactly that. No more, no less.
Oh, a few more pointers for the perfectly concocted M&B- the damsel is usually in financial distress. The only solution? Marriage; A loveless marriage. Duh! Guy demands sex. Girl refuses. Girl falls for his undeniably sexy charms. *Gasp* Guy has amazing control over his sexual appetite and restraint (because, obviously, the girl said no and he should honour her wishes, duh). They end up having sex anyway because they are beautiful, hot, sexy people and what do two beautiful, hot and sexy people do? Yep.

7.   Wealthy magnate: The male protagonist is never a-struggling-anything. He used to be. Not anymore. He only struggles with his non-existent EQ. He is always a wealthy magnate, has more money than well, a lot of money, has real estate all over the world, has an amazing business, is always in the middle of some business negotiation or the other, is always ruthless in those negotiations (the girl injects some emotions here to balance out the ruthlessness; and because she has to do something other than sit pretty all the time) and is just the perfectly tactless multi-millionaire.

8.   Marriage and kids: So, the guy is emotionally stunted. The girl fixes him. He wants to marry her. He wants her to have several of his children. Several. Girl is shocked to her wits that he is willing to commit. And kids? Several of them? $%%&%&, sure! It is not like the girl gets annoyed with the "several" part because she has to pop them out. They get married. Girl with a shy smile tells him “I’m glad you are talking about babies; I am pregnant!”
Because every girl's reaction, once she knows she's pregnant is unbelievable happiness coursing through her veins. And of course the guy is super duper happy that his girl's knocked up because his legacy will remain. I mean, come on, did you honestly expect anything less? People don't just freak out and try to run away from reality, especially when it is pregnancy. That has mediocrity written all over it!

Mills & Boons 101.

You are most welcome! 


  1. I have very little deliberate exposure to romantic literature, but every once in a while I chance upon a chick lit title on Good Reads -- or Good Reads does the honor of sending me a newsletter in case I have the fortune of missing it -- that has a half naked heartthrob on the cover. Here, let me prove it to you. These are some of the recent titles with the romance tag on GR. See if can count the number of abs per square inch of your screen:

    I tend to ignore this kind of subhuman filth, but I'm also equally glad when someone takes the time to pan it and make it shit bricks like you have in this uniformly enjoyable post. Great job! :)

    On the other hand, if a casual spell of boredom drove you to read 15 of these books, I can only guess how many of the echelons higher in quality literature you'll swallow in time. And if you'll permit me to add one to it: My favorite writer in the whole world, who no longer is in this world *sob sob*, is David Foster Wallace. I have read all his books to rugged shreds -- every wonderful word -- except the last, The Pale King, as I just couldn't get myself to finish it. The closer I approached the end, the greater the sadness that set in, knowing that I am coming close to the point where he killed himself and his depression synced with mine. Even writing these words pains me.

    DFW was a writer of such individuality that when he died and left The Pale King unfinished, the publishers, knowing well that no ghost writer can imitate his inimitable style, decided to publish it as an unfinished novel. This unfinished novel, despite its unfinishedness, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2011 (actually, all the three books nominated for Pulitzer received equal number of votes that year, so all the three books were considered winners, but still).

    I'll fill my bedroom walls with his quotes someday. If you haven't read any of his material, Infinite Jest is a quick-sand entry. You'll regret reading it for about the first 80 pages, and then the void you were sucked into turns into a literary extravaganza as unforgettable as your first beer.

    Sorry for my hypergraphic ramblings. (Default disclaimer)

    1. It is difficult to get e-formats of good books. You get stuck with crap like M&B at the end. Reading paperbacks on assignment is a strict no-no (obviously). Will surely give DFW a try.
      This was by far one of the best comments I've received.
      You shouldn't let your blog remain comatose. :)

    2. Hahah, my blog! I haven't visited it in months, thanks for reminding :) Ever since migrating to Quora I've minimized (stopped) my blog activity, although there are so many topics on the back of my mind I'd love to write on. Can-Should-Must.

      Yeah, I've been moving over to ebooks a lot myself. A tablet is to paperback what Google Maps is to paper maps. The convenience and functionality of hand-held ebooks outweighs (sometimes literally (unfortunately)) the unreasonable romanticism that people have attached to physical books. Almost 85% of the books I read lately are ebooks, mostly in epub format due to their supreme customizability of everything from font to font size to background paper texture to the choice(s) of dictionaries. The remaining 15% of the physical books are mostly math-based; those damned things require flipping pages back and forth a gazillion times. That is one art technology is yet to master.

      Keep 'em posts rolling :)

  2. Anne Mather, Violet Winspear, Betty Neels, Janet Dailey.... all names I read. In my defence I read them only so I could chat up this girl.

    Janet Dailey progressed from the pseudo-porn of M&B to softcore.

    You forgot the Portuguese / Spanish rancher with a broken heart and a smouldering local betrothed to whom he was affianced as a young man and who he throws over for the heroine. Also the Doctor/ surgeon with a broken heart who learns to love again from the nurse.

    TenPoint, I love your writing style, sarcasm wins over social causes anyday, in my book.

    Following you now.

    1. Reading M&B to chat up a girl? I don't know whether to be impressed or look at you with disdain for having wasted your time!
      Oh, the ranchers and princes! How could I forget!
      Why, thank you! New follower!
      Allow me a moment for the fact to settle! :P

      PS. Different avatars for one blog. Interesting!

  3. hehe...i have read only one M&B book. I prefer thrillers, mysteries or adventurous books anyday.
    Loved what you wrote,which is so true!

  4. Well, that was quite a no-holds-bar review. Though I wouldn't even dream of using some of the brazen expressions that you've liberally adhered to, yet I quite like your candidness. Its all so true and I fully agree with you. M & Bs can never change. They were the same thirty years back and are the same today though I was never taken up with them. :-)

    1. Haha! Why, thank you, ma'am! My writing is a long way from being mature. You will find many, I repeat, MANY such instances where you find it brazen. But, I would somehow like to keep it this way. :)
      M&B books are the quintessential example of 'where creativity goes to die'!
      I went through your blog, the one in English, it is different. I like it. You've found a follower :)

  5. I have heard so much about this series.
    This is definitely on my to read list

    1. Oh wow. Do write in to tell me whether I missed out any points I shall update the post :)

  6. Nice view.Like the things you express in simple words.

    1. That's a spam-bot, JK. :) I get a lot of these on my blog. (Like, 100s every year). Just filter them out. This one I received yesterday:

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      Basically, it's a bot that generates some generic compliment followed by a link to their website.

    2. Wow! Didn't know that! Thanks! :)

  7. I've only read one M&B ever, and this post sums it up perfectly! Nice one :)