Feature Friday: Rage, Abuse, and Not Being a Jerk

Book Discussions

Hey, everyone,

Like the rest of you, I’ve spent the last two days trapped in the tenth circle of Hell—which is, if you were unaware, a new circle now populated by those poor souls condemned by racist-classist-misogynistic-homophobic-transphobic bigots. It’s a lovely crowd here, I must say.

And since my brain’s quietly melting in horror, making it very difficult to get anything done, I’ve been relying on your blogs to fill my free time—and boy, did you guys deliver.

Three discussion posts in particular I wanted to give shout-outs too, because they’re great and you might want read them. Behold:

Female Rage & Romance

Even though I rarely read adult romance, I took one look at the title of this post and thought, YEP. I NEED THIS. And yep, I did need it.

After reading Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire (an adult fantasy romance), Book Riot’s Amanda Diehl had a revelation: what was truly captivating about the book was the heroine’s experience of and struggle with rage, which is surprisingly and unfortunately rare to see in romance (and, I’ll add, YA).

Diehl discusses female rage as perceived by society, and explores the possible reasons for its (general) absence from the romance genre.

In our daily lives, women struggle with feeling minimized. Manspreading on the subway has our body contorting and folding in on itself. Our emotions have to be tempered and even-keeled, lest we’re labeled unhinged or crazy. Our facades have to pleasant, always smiling. And sometimes, I feel that often a heroine’s presence in romance or her role is for the benefit of the hero, rather than the other way around. The hero is the tortured one. The hero is the baggage. The hero insists that he’ll never love again.

All things tough and ugly and difficult and traumatic (with the exception of rape, but rape and sexual assault as a common backstory are a topic for another day), are attributed to the hero. And frankly, that’s bullshit. Women go through the same emotions as men, the only catch is the stigma related to expressing those emotions, which—let me tell you—can lead to some pretty expensive therapy bills.

[…] I think one of the main reasons why the onus of ugliness, shall we say, is placed on the hero, is that a heroine has to be likable.

And, as everyone knows, a woman who expresses anger isn’t particularly likable. (*Eye twitch.*)

There have been some notable new YA releases featuring young women who experience and even succumb to rage, including And I Darken and The Young Elites trilogy, but (in my humble opinion) we need more. These women are fascinating and relatable in ways the fluffy heroines of lighter books aren’t designed to be, and they have important stories to tell.

Check out Diehl’s article here.

To Review or Not to Review A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Wait, hold on, don’t let the title of Diana’s discussion post mislead you. She doesn’t ponder the dilemma of reviewing a popular book (though that could be interesting). Nope, she does something even better: she contrasts Tamlin’s behavior in ACOTAR with that of the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale (one of Maas’s inspirations for ACOTAR), and lays to rest the question of whether or not the Beast’s behavior is abusive.

[…] Tamlin is the absolute worst kind of gorgeous, brooding hunk, and that’s an emotionally abusive brooding hunkwho takes everything I love about the Beauty & the Beast story and twists it into something uncomfortable at best, borderline cruel at worst.

As a huge Beauty and the Beast fan, and someone who loved the portrayal of Feyre’s trauma in A Court of Mist and Fury (the sequel to ACOTAR, for those of you who live under rocks), I thought this whole post was fantastic.

Go forth and read Diana’s awesomeness here.

How to Enjoy a Problematic Book and Not Be a Jerk About It

Do you have a book blog? Do you not want to be a jerk? Well, The Book Avid offers some valuable advice: it’s totally fine to enjoy and promote a book with problematic aspects (unquestioned racism, an abusive relationship presented as romantic, etc.), but you need to know how not to unintentionally endorse problematic attitudes and behaviors.

For most adults that are aware of the problematicness and just enjoy a book for the entertainment value this may be all common sense – but consider that especially when we’re talking YA, our actions don’t go without consequences. Many actual teenagers read YA, are active in the fandoms, and we have a responsibility towards them. Romanticization is not a joke and can seriously mess somebody up when people around you tell you early on that problematic behavior is okay.

I support people not being jerks, and you should too. You can read Book Avid’s handy tips to avoid jerkishness here.

Your Source of Positivity

Okay, so I’m kind of reconsidering this entire post, because all three of the articles featured above discuss pretty negative topics. So let’s follow them up with two lovely and uplifting posts from Fadwa at Word Wonders:

  1. Keep Looking at the Bright Side (tips on maintaining positivity during dark times)
  2. Things That Will Never Get Old to a Book Blogger (celebrating the awesome side of book blogging).

Thanks for bringing sunshine into all our lives, Fadwa!

What Else?

Which neat articles and reviews really stuck out for you guys this week? What awesome things did you write and want to show off? Let me know!



16 thoughts on “Feature Friday: Rage, Abuse, and Not Being a Jerk

  1. Great post, Liam! I immediately thought The Young Elites when I saw Female Rage. Another awesome book that explores that topic is Vengeance Road. I don’t know why but I tend to really enjoy books that have female characters like this. I think it’s because most YA novels with female MCs, tend to be portrayed as the damsel in distress type which I don’t identify with at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I haven’t read Vengeance Road yet; I’d actually taken it off my TBR, as (a) I’m not particularly interested in Westerns, and (b) I read a lot of meh reviews for it. But it sounds like I need to be more open-minded and give it a shot!

      There does need to be much more variation in the types of female MCs out there; it’s empowering and relieving and satisfying to see yourself reflected in a MC. Here’s hoping we’re seeing the first steps in a broader movement to provide more diverse MCs in terms of personality as well as race/religion/sexuality/gender identity/etc. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. NOOOW LIAM, are you set on making me cry today? This just made my whole week and I want to thank you for that ❤
    It makes me so happy to just help put a smile on people’s faces and reading what you just said makes me feel like that’s mission accomplished, and I hope I’ll keep on being that little source of positivity whenever you need it.
    I’ll go check out the other posts now since all the topics sounds VERY tempting to me especially female rage (YES TO THAT) and the problematic books one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aaaahhh, thank you SO much for featuring my post, Liam! This was such a delight to see before my work shift and truly brightened my whole day. I really appreciated your comments on the original post, and I hope we can have more discussions like that in the future 🙂 I’m definitely checking out these other posts now as well. There was quite a selection this week, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store. Thanks again!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post but I definitely have to check out these other posts especially the one on female rage, I totally agree with everything you said on that one. Have you read The Female of the Species (by Mindy McGinnis)? Because its another great YA with a female lead dealing with rage.
    And for ACOTAR if you read the second book you understand why the author wrote the first book the way she did but like you said I’m kind of uncomfortable with the idea that ACOTAR was romanticizing emotional abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! =)

      No, I haven’t read The Female of the Species, but I’m hearing a lot of great things about it. Clearly it needs to be on my shelf.

      Abuse should never be romanticized; I’m so glad that Feyre eventually realized what exactly was going on in their relationship, and that it was 1000% not acceptable. That’s a message that needs to be shouted from rooftops.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love that you’re sharing the love! We need that now more than ever…
    You picked some brilliant posts! I haven’t been online much this week, I only have time during the weekends now, but I’ll try and read them all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Apologies for compulsive nerding. Dante gave us 9 circles of hell, the eighth of which is Fraud. Like Dante, I can imagine some people there… deep, slow breath but I won’t rant about that right now. A tenth circle such as you describe sounds like somewhere I’d want to be and as a person of faith, I’ll venture this: the God I know would totally be there, too.

    On Wednesday night I broke down crying. My cat hopped up on the couch beside me, his eyes wide. He stared at me for a minute, then pulled back one of his meaty paws and smacked me. When I didn’t immediately “snap out of it,” he punched me again, then ran away. It was… really cute. He’s been extra cuddly since then, no doubt picking up on my emotional state. Animals may not be able to fix all of our problems, but sometimes I don’t know where I would be without cat-therapy.

    Here’s to encouragement, strength, hope, help, love, and cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU. Never apologize for knowledge and the sharing of it! My only excuse (as someone who has actually read and studied the Inferno) is that my brain has in fact melted enough to be entirely useless. I must remedy this, possibly with ice cream.

      Awwww, ahaha. Your cat is both adorable and amazing. I hope his bossy sweetness has improved your emotional state significantly by now (and that your cuddles are sufficiently pleasing to him).

      I’m sending all that right back at you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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