St. Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. Even if I dared to forget, my local stores keep reminding me of its approach with relentless cheery displays of hearts, cards, flowers and chocolate. And hey, you just can’t beat chocolate and flowers, right?
Maybe that’s why I’m reading a lot of books lately that combine the themes of comedy and romance. I’m working my way through Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series and am up to number seven (or I will be when it arrives at my library, at least). I love this character. She’s a hilarious walking disaster area of a bounty hunter and has three semi-relationships with handsome men such as police officer Joe Morelli, mercenary/bounty hunter Ranger and we’re-not-quite-sure-what-he-is Diesel. (Diesel appears to be a bounty hunter, but he goes after beings with supernatural powers and has supernatural abilities of his own at times.) All three are protective of Stephanie, but I think Morelli is the real relationship. So far, anyway.
My classic writer for comedy and romance, though, is Nora Roberts. Her comedy comes from her characters’ dialogue and inner thoughts, rather than the comic plot devices that Evanovich uses. Some of the Roberts characters are sassy and cynical (Eve Dallas), others are neurotic (Tia Marsh of the Three Fates trilogy and Jude Murray of the Irish trilogy) and still others use a cocky humor (Gull Curry of Chasing Fire).
I’ve also just read the book He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. I’ve been seeing clips of the movie on YouTube, so I got curious about the book that they used as the movie’s base and decided to read it. It’s good. Basically, the book’s message is that everyone deserves to be with the right person for them and if someone doesn’t treat you right, then move on.
I often think love has much comic potential. We spend so much time analyzing ourselves and our romantic interests, but the reality is simple: If someone cares about you, they do something about it and show it. Period. That’s it. You don’t have to wonder, get stressed and make interpretations of every little thing your romantic interest does or says. But it’s only human if you do, I guess. (And if we stopped doing that, Hollywood and the fashion magazines would go bust, poor people.)
Sometimes I ask married couples how they met and fell in love, and the answers I receive are fascinating. One woman saw a guy on the other side of the room at an event and thought, “That’s him. That’s the man I’m going to marry.” He felt the same way about her and now they’ve been married for years and have four kids. And then there’s the classic story of my family friends Mr. H and Mrs. H, who met during World War II when he was in prison camp in Scotland.
Maybe there’s a book in that, too — the comic or touching ways married couples initially meet each other. Hmmmmm.