Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Update on 'Reader, I Married Him'

There are a couple of clips from this programme available on the BBC website. Daisy Goodwin, the presenter, wants to discover whether or not reading romantic fiction reduces her cortisol levels (high cortisol levels are an indicator that a person is under stress). She discovers that it does, but, as she reveals, this may be because it sends her to sleep. I've found an article that Daisy Goodwin wrote about romantic fiction. In it she makes the comment that 'if you want to create a heroine, a fictional character who lives on and off the page, who becomes a benchmark for women’s aspirations, then you have to be female'. She also says that she defines romantic fiction as 'a book that no man would be seen dead reading' since 'if you are a man there is really nothing in these books to interest you'. The Romance Writers of America, on the other hand, found that '22% of romance readers are male'.

The Guardian's Nancy Banks-Smith provided a short review of the first installment of the programme, and it seems to have done nothing to improve her opinion of the genre:
The stars of Mills and Boon seemed less eager to appear. [...] I would have liked to hear from Miranda Lee, writer of The Billionaire Boss's Forbidden Mistress. As Wodehouse said of a romantic novelist: "A simple apology is all that is required."
That doesn't sound like a new convert to romance-reading, then.

But for anyone who would like to know more about Miranda Lee, there's a 2002 interview she gave here. Apparently she's Emma Darcy's sister. And there's a list of her novels here.


  1. I am beginning to suspect that I am the only one who finds this show remotely annoying.

  2. Have you seen it? All I know about it is what I've seen/read on the links I've posted here.

    A lot of people were hopeful that it would promote the genre and present it in a good light, but unfortunately, from what I've seen so far, I'm not sure it's doing much, if anything to challenge the negative stereotypes about romance novels.

    I'd be really interested to hear what people who have seen it think of it.

  3. I haven't seen it - I don't watch TV. But I may have to make an exception for this to see if all the reports are true. They're consistent enough for me to think they might, unfortunately.

  4. I was invited to appear on this show actually (as a 'real reader'), but from the content that they told me was going to be presented, I thought they weren't going to do a good job presenting an accurate portrayal of what romance is about. I actually wrote pretty lengthy emails to them telling them to recognise the american romance industry, but I think they didn't bother..

  5. Wenlock posted summaries of the other two episodes, i.e. the one about heroes (which really only covered 4 heroes: Darcy, Heathcliff, Rochester and Rhett Butler) and one about heroines, but from what he says, it doesn't seem as if there was much, if anything, in these programmes about modern American romances.