Monday, August 15, 2011

How Do We Feel About "Make-Over" Romance Novels?

I read a few books over vacation, and one of them was Too Perfect by Julie Ortolon. A formerly chubby slightly agoraphobic woman gets "stranded" on a tropical island and becomes a housekeeper for a reclusive man who refuses to be seen. Just to win a bet with her friends. Sure, that sounds....totally plausible. Anyhoo, the "recluse" is actually a big, jaded Hollywood star who is gorgeous and sexy. Since we can't have a frumpy, chubby girl get the hottie guy, said girl undergoes a transformation....transformation.....transformation....(imagine "Slim" from A Bug's Life is saying this part, which should be easy if you have kids and watched that movie 10 million times).

Needless to say, Chubby Girl gets a make-over by Hollywood Dude aka French Dude With A Fake Goatee aka The Recluse. Gone are the big, baggy clothes, replaced with bright colorful shirts with parrot motifs, chunky jewelry, and hair loosely piled on her head instead of pulled back in a tight bun. Because nothing says New And Improved Sexy Girl like a parrot motif.

(Yeah, I'm being sort of sarcastic here but as soon as I read "parrot motif" I got thrown out of the story.)

So, as I'm reading this, I'm thinking.....(A) Make-over books are sort of irritating, and (B) If I was getting a make-over and someone made me wear a shirt with effin parrots on it, I would be seriously pissed off, and (C) Why can't the chubby girl get the hottie guy?

There is something inherently romantic about a mousy little thing transformed into Cinderella for a night. But there is also something distressing about it, too. Can't a mousy little thing be beautiful, appealing, sexy, loved? Do we really need clunky jewelry or mascara for men to find us attractive? Who the hell finds parrots sexy? (Maybe a zookeeper or something?) The point is, I think the "make-over" theme in romance novels is pretty seems like the kind of thing a teenager would like. Teens, who spend millions of dollars on hair products and make-up and accessories and shoes with sparkles on them. I am hoping that adults have realized there are more important things than soft, wispy tendrils of hair falling seductively around one's face. And I would surely, surely hope that a hero would realize it, too. Even if the heroine is slightly chubby, or wears drab clothes, hopefully he could see past that and find her kind, generous, funny, sweet and lovely personality a big win. Because otherwise, he's looking pretty shallow.

The hero in this book is actually pretty cool. He does recognize that the heroine is genuine and wonderful, even without the bird-inspired apparel. As far as contemporary romance novels go, this is a cute book, although the make-over details were definitely overdone. (Grade: B+)

How do you feel about "make-over" books? Love them? Hate them? Do they make you feel inadequate about your own style, which may be sadly lacking in parrot shirts?

Happy Monday To All!