Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels - Sarah Wendell 3+ stars. A good, quick, humorous read, but only a few things that will remain memorable.

The book covers a variety of different romance novel- and love-related themes, to varying degrees of success. For example, I only skim-read through the chapter on heroes, titled "We Know More Than A Few Good Men." Why? Well, I know what I like in heroes, and I don't necessarily need analysis on why or what others like. I found that this section just didn't hold my interest, to be honest. Also, there are a lot of book quotes in that section, so I was trying to avoid unintentional spoilers. On the other hand, the chapter on sex was actually quite insightful and thoughtful for reasons that are not pervy, surprisingly. I found it very interesting to see how romance novel sex has influenced women's perspectives on it, whether it be their becoming comfortable with sexuality while not having anyone with whom to discuss it, their openness to exploring kinks, or just as a resource for ideas beyond Tab-A-Goes-Into-Slot-B information.

As a general note, I really liked the writer's snarky, humorous, conversational tone. It's too bad that, with at least 50% of the book (probably more like 60-70%?) comprised of extensive quotes from a multitude of authors and readers, we don't get to hear too much of that tone.


A few things that really resonated with me:

1. "Just about every romance reader I've ever spoken to can recall the first romance she read." So true. Case in point, for me: [b:The Scandalous Wager|3442396|The Scandalous Wager (Regency Romance)|Olivia Fontayne|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vlTaMal3L._SL75_.jpg|3483419].

2. The 2009 Boston Globe article by Robin Schoenthaler that is quoted in the heroes chapter, which the author introduces by saying "the ideal man is not the one with the biggest bank account or the extreme sports habit, but is the man who will hold your purse in the cancer clinic." I looked up the article in full, and you can find it here.

3. The personal recovery writing piece that is included in full from an anonymous survivor of childhood sexual abuse, found in the section "We Know That Happily-Ever-After Takes Work." A brutal and honest account of how books were this person's escape, the vivid writing made me cry. Specifically, this part: The writer speaks of contemplating suicide, but how books were her escape from these thoughts. "I'd sit there, biting my lip so hard it bled, reading the same pages over and over and over, because there was a happy ending - and if she could have a happy ending, she who was so hurt by her family, by that guy, by that serial killer, by life itself -- then so could I. If a "hero" looked at her and saw beyond her scars, if he didn't care that she was sexually abused, that she was messed up, there could be a guy like that for me, couldn't there? I wouldn't want to miss that. So I lived to find out. And I still do."