First Opinion: Beauty and the Beast Theme

I’m going to be honest here. I cheated a little. You see I’m supposed to be writing my account of a theme I am only vaguely familiar with (if at all). But here’s the problem: I am quite possibly a closet Beauty and the Beast theme expert. It’s true. Ever since I was a little starry-eyed girl handed that magical VHS tape that started a love that only intensified I have been absolutely enamoured by anything ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

It’s still my all time favorite movie and story. I’ve read and watched and drawn and daydreamed  many, many, many variations of what is quite possibly my favorite theme. I’ve read ‘Beastly’ by Alex Flinn (and plan on watching the movie… Even if it stars Vanessa Hudgens), watched Jean Cocteau’s black and white masterpiece, and bought and colored in every coloring book page of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ I could find.

When I was younger I aspired to grow up to be a beautiful woman who got lost in the woods, found a foreboding castle, fell in love with the monstrous master, and broke the spell to live happily ever after. When I was a teenager I would re-watch the same Disney film and cry because I wanted that kind of love desperately. When I was an adult working in child care I would pop the VHS into the old tv in the corner and watch it all day (and if there weren’t any kids to be watched I sang along).

I think my point is that I might be fairly biased.

The current list of books I have and plan to review primarily revolve around the theme of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Some I’ve already read but plan to read again. Some I’ve never even heard of. Some… I really am quite hesitant to read out of fear my beautiful and beloved theme will be tarnished.

A lot of the books are historical (primarily Regency era) but I have a couple contemporary and Highland so there are piggyback themes to be had. Then again I don’t think any romance novel has just one specific theme, and I’m okay with that.

I adore this theme from the depths of my very soul for several reasons which I will list for you. In reality I have countless reasons but I’m going to try to keep this short enough to read in one sitting. No promises since I have a slight tendency to fangirl.

  • It takes more than one day for them to fall in love. In fact, usually at the beginning they either hate each other or the ‘Belle’ is afraid. This kind of romance takes a lot of build up and patience with a hefty helping of adversities to overcome. It makes the whole thing feel worthwhile.
  • ‘Belle’ isn’t an idiot (in most cases). Her common past-time is most often reading or some other intellectual endeavor. The girl has chutzpah to put up with a terrifying jerk as well and a stubborn streak to look past his scars to see the prince within. Plus she has enough brains to know there’s more to someone than an oiled up chest and rippling pectorals. He could look like the offspring of a bear and a bull and she’d still be able to love him if he met her on the levels that really mattered.
  • The ‘Beast’ is a complex character that evolves throughout the story. No matter how he got his scars or how bad they actually are his personality goes through an overhaul. It could be him growing out of his arrogant and brutish ways. It could be that he has to overcome the fact that he is ‘hideous’ and feels unworthy of the ‘Belle’. No matter what lead to him being the ‘Beast’ he has to go through some kind of redemption.
  • It’s a universal theme. While everyone may be familiar with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ there are myths that were around long before it was ever written that follow the same formula in one way or another. My favorites would have to be the Greek myths of Hades and Persephone as well as Eros and Psyche.

Those are pretty much the MAIN points that can find a way to fit almost every interpretation. All the others kind of bounce around between different versions. As you can probably tell I like the tale for its cerebral impact just as much as the emotional. It just makes sense, even if there is magic involved.

Overall I blame ‘Beauty and the Beast’ for being my gateway drug into a life of romantic obsession. I loved other Disney movies before and after it as well as other love stories but for me it has always been at the top. It will likely always be at the top too, though as I get further and further into the romance genre I may find something new. Who knows?

Anyway, this is my ‘Before’ opinion and I doubt it will change much when I give the ‘After’ opinion.

Also, around the tenth of November you’ll be in for a treat. Since it is my wedding anniversary I’m going to tell the story of my real life romance in a big celebratory post.

Advertisements

He wanted her to tell him more about the person she was beneath the mask.

Okay so it’s time to tell you a bit about myself since you are going to be hearing from me for a while. It might help you better understand my viewpoints on certain things, feel more connected to me as the writer, or just amuse you to know how very crazy I am.

Name: Kourtney (I prefer to go by Sunny)

Age: 24

Gender: Female

Location: Virginia, but I’m moving to New Jersey this month.

Family: Husband (David), dog (Freya), cat (Verdandi), turtles (Nyordjr, Forseti, Hordurna)

Interests: Reading (I’ll read just about anything), writing, art, video games (RPGs especially), shopping (mainly for books and video games), trying new foods and restaurants, making amazon.com wish lists, firearms, listening to music, watching tv and movies (I’m especially fond of Japanese anime, sitcoms, and romantic comedies), going to museums and historical sites, mythology (all cultures), psychology… Mostly artistic and creative ventures.

Quirks: I have Attention Deficit Disorder so I can be a bit impulsive, disjointed, excitable and I sometimes lack in an appropriate filter which leads to me sticking my foot in my mouth… A lot. I like to think that I’m funny and so I make jokes a lot for many reasons and at the expense of many things (mostly myself). I also ramble on things if I’m stuck on a particular thought.

Themes I Enjoy: Beauty and the Beast, Historical, Workplace, Series, Paranormal, Humor*

Themes I Dislike: Bodice-rippers, Rape, Infidelity, Cougars, Plus sized, Children and Pregnancy*

Heroes I Enjoy: Bad boys and villains are my absolute favorites. I especially like villains that are mentally unstable. Seeing them reformed or at least tolerated is always a treat to me and there’s something about a guy that is morally depraved that just appeals to me. I want to get into his mind and see what made him the way he is.

Heroes I Dislike: Goodie-two-shoes. I’m talking about the guys who are just too sweet and perfect. The guy that is a children’s doctor who volunteers at the homeless shelter on weekends and breeds puppies that he trains as service dogs. Now if he had a crime syndicate on the side I’d be inclined to like him more.

Genres I Enjoy: Romance, fantasy, sci-fi (more post-apocalyptic and dystopian future rather than alien planets), comedy, mystery, horror (zombies are my current fave)

Genres I Dislike: I’m not a big non-fiction fan. There are some I will read but they have to be really involving or I get bored quickly.

Future Aspirations: I hope to become a published author someday soon of whatever it is that I manage to churn out. I also plan on becoming a mom at some point as well as finding a paying job in the place we move. Winning the lottery would also be quite nice.

Education: I’m a high school graduate with some college, though I do plan on going back and getting a degree. I also hope to take some character building classes like a cooking class, a kickboxing class, a dancing class… Just things to help me find my niche.

Weaknesses: Math, being rushed to do something, easily distracted.

So that’s just a very basic outline about me. I know I didn’t give much but I really couldn’t come up with a lot that was interesting or informative. If you can think of anything you’d want me to add or any questions you might have feel free to comment.

* = I will discuss why I like or dislike these particular things in greater detail in future entries.

Also! I’m thinking that instead of cheesy lines you may or may not find in generic romance novels I’ll start titling my entries using the Random Romance Novel Title Generator. We’ll see how that works and what you guys prefer.

She tried to plan everything but he had a way of ruining plans.

So to start out I think I’m going to come up with a template for book reviews. I just finished a good book so happily I can get this going very soon. Before anything I just want to have the skeleton mapped out as well as an explanation of how I judge each area of the book.

Title: I’m going to judge just how relevant this is to the plot, cover art, and how well it flows.

Author: Not really going to judge the author though I may snark a little at the chosen pen name.

Cover: This depends on how clichéd the cover is.

Summary: I’m going to comment on how much detail the back cover gives away, how well it is written, and points of interest.

Plot: I’ll break down the book into my own summary of the events within. This will contain spoilers but I’ll try to give fair warning every time.

Believe It Or Not: Basically if any of this is plausible or just whimsical.

Setting: Where the book takes place and if it helps or hurts ‘the mood’.

Sensuality: How hot, kinky, or embarrassing the sex is. Oh and the relationship itself when the couple isn’t boinking.

Hero: I’ll describe the main male character of the story and how I perceived him.

Heroine: I’ll describe the leading lady the way I come to understand her.

Themes: I’ll include the recurring themes that are common to many other romance novels.

Length: How many pages this book has and if it is enough, too little, or too many.

Overall: This is where I lay down my final opinion of what I just read and if I think the book is worth reading or throwing against a wall.

So far that’s the first draft of the template I’ll be using for reviews. I’ll try to include cover art of the novel if I can (as soon as I learn how to do that). Keep in mind there will be more to this blog than just book reviews and I’m going to try to cover every base of the genre: Even the ones that I REALLY don’t want to.

I’m not really sure how I’m going to go about the order or themes just yet. I just bought a ton of historical so you can bet that’s where I’m starting off. I’ll try to fairly balance the scale by reading at least one ‘bad’ book that has the theme. I’ll judge how bad it is by amazon.com reviews and suggestions from readers. Another thing is I will try to read at least one series with the theme I’m covering so I’ll give one big cluster review of each book.

I’ll also try to give an overview of what I expect and think of each theme before I start reading as well as a review of the theme after I’m finished. Then again this is all subject to change as I figure this all out.  If all this attempted organization falls flat on me I may just wing it. Who knows? I’m spontaneous like that.

Tomorrow look forward to posts about my humble self so you can learn a little about the mind behind this madness. Meanwhile I’m going to try doing some fun art spoofing cheesy covers. Hopefully it will be a weekly treat and I promise I’ll try to do something better than stick figures.

Also, I noticed I say ‘try to’ a lot. That’s because I really am trying. Soon enough I should be trying less and doing more so bear with me!

And so she took a deep breath and displayed a winning smile…

Hello readers!

Welcome to Preconceived Motions. This blog is going to be mainly about romance novels and all that it may entail from the perspective of someone fairly new to the genre (and admittedly a bit intimidated and incredulous). I plan to have various types of commentary from book reviews, common phrases and their meanings, personal observations and experiences, and other (hopefully) interesting entries as I immerse myself in the world of romance.

I’m hoping to grow as a writer (and hopefully find a semi-decent paying job as one) while enjoying my fairly obsessive love of books. There’s also the fact that I am trying to find structure, balance, and distraction as my life becomes uprooted in a move from the place I’ve called home since birth. And maybe I’m in search of myself and my purpose, pursuing a way to contribute to the world in some small way.

I picked romance novels as my genre because it’s such a mixed bag. People unfamiliar with romance (like I used to be and still sort of am) might think they have it figured out: Brooding caveman hero is charmed by sexy virgin heroine as they have loads of monkey sex described with cringe-worthy phrases like “Heaving bosom” or “Turgid manhood”. Add in unrealistic orgasms and cheesy declarations of undying love and you’ve got yourself a bestseller, right?

Not quite. You’d be surprised (like I was) to learn just how much more there is to the whole thing. There are different themes, character types, settings… An entire underground community of hardcore readers who aren’t ashamed to go into a bookstore, grab the book with the most embarrassing beefcake cover, march up to the register, and buy that sucker with hard-earned cash without batting an eyelash. And that community is more than just bored housewives and middle-aged divorcees.

Consider this blog as a sort of investigative dive into what romance novels are all about. An educational unveiling of a poorly represented genre. A tribute to the souls that hunt down books with dogged enthusiasm and aren’t ashamed to be moved by them.

I plan to be humorous as well as honest in my posts but it is hardly my intention to be offensive. While I might question some of what I may encounter I do not plan on ruthlessly bashing. I want to be open and friendly as I discover the good and bad of something new. I keep crude language at a minimum but since I am discussing a genre that contains copious amounts of copulating the subject matter will be discussed.

I’m entirely new to blogging and fairly new to romance novels so you can expect a few hiccups along the way as I feel everything out. I’m also likely to be a bit sporadic in my posts for a while since I’m getting ready to move but once things get settled I’m hoping to get a steady schedule going. My grammar is not perfect but I attempt to be literate.

For now I’m still in the process of setting up and figuring things out but friendly advice and suggestions are always welcome. I hope that readers will enjoy or at least be intrigued by what I have to say as I embark on this perilous journey into the widely unknown (to me). Wish me luck and thanks for reading!

Newer entries »