Dear Faithful Readers,
Is it truly possible to lose your faith in love? Yes. We’re living in the time where random hookups, casual sex, multiple partners, and non-commitments are more fun ways of dating. Very few people of younger generations have the intention of falling in love, committing to a person, feeling intimacy, and having emotional connection to pair alongside the physical. Every now and then, you’d see a couple’s post on social media announcing their engagement after years of being together and I’d feel a spark. It’s a spark of hope, a tinge of warmth, a general bittersweet-ness. They have gotten their act together. They’re not going to be people looking for a one-night stands in their seventies. They won’t have find a new partner after a short time with the previous one.
This outlook may lead you to think I’m cynical to love. You wouldn’t be completely wrong, but can you blame me, really? There is, however, a list of books I’ve read that have changed my views. The characters in these stories experience love in ways that actually make me believe in love again (albeit temporarily).
1) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
2) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
3) The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
4) Aaren by T. A Ford
5) All the Bright Paces by Jennifer Niven
6) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson
With The Fault In Our Stars, Eleanor & Park, and All The Bright Places, the couples had their fair share of struggles before they met each other, and in some ways those things tried to create distance and tension for the couples. Sometimes they did, but they were willing to fight it, because they loved each other that much.
For The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, three generations of women who explored had dealt with battles in the name of love, but still found clarity and resolution from their pain. Their struggles, combined with magical realism, the story brings together wonder as well as connection.
In Aaren, we have the classic trope of second-chance love. The couple knew each other for years, got together, broke up, and years later after establishing adult lives, they find themselves reunited. Sometimes, it’s easy to think once something has ended so horribly, there wouldn’t be a chance to make things right. Sometimes life gives us that chance for a reason.
As for Bridge to Terabithia, the main characters (Jess and Leslie) aren’t a couple, but they have an incredible platonic love for each other. They started out strangers but formed a friendship and formed a place to escape the grittiness of reality. Their bond was so strong that when tragedy hit, it pulled at heartstrings and left readers crying for years.
Am I saying that everyone has to lead their love lives a certain way to be happy? No. I am saying that people now seem afraid to take that plunge: to actually care about the person they’re intimate with, they choose random sex because of previous bad experience or to not feel tied down or because that’s their definition of fun. I am saying that the examples I’ve talked about dealt with relationships in ways that felt authentic and more meaningful in comparison to the hook-up culture that has tainted younger generations into taking the easy way out in terms of interacting with people. The people and relationships in these stories aren’t perfect in any way, but that’s why they make good stories. It’s reflective of the imperfections of people, but they are still willing to fight for something real. That’s my view anyway.
Your Romantic Cynic