One-Minute Book Reviews

September 16, 2009

Bella the Doormat – Another Reason to Say Goodnight to ‘Twilight’?

Filed under: News,Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:03 am
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Need a reason to skip the “Twilight” vampire-romance series beyond that Stephenie Meyer writes at a fourth-grade reading level … and that’s in her adult novel, The Host? You’ve gotten your excuse from the authors of Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels (Free Press, 2009), a new guide from the creators of a lively Web site.

Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan have identified ten heroine-archetypes in romance novels, such as the Airhead, the Smart-Mouthed Cynic and the Spoiled Hoyden of Historical Inaccuracy. Then there’s the “Doormat: Still out there, waiting for you to wipe your shoes on her.”

Here’s how Wendell and Tan describe this throwback, whom they see as exemplified by Bella Swan, the American teenager who falls in love with a vampire in the first novel in the “Twilight” series:

“She’s malleable, weak, and an utter bore. She doesn’t stand up to anything, much less her own desires, and can be found swooning on the nearest sofa, or lying on the bed while she’s ravished with pleasure she so does not deserve. Might be seen swooning, wringing her hands, whining, or otherwise worrying about something. Any resistance she might mount against the hero is ineffectual, and she couldn’t find her backbone if you showed her an X-ray … “


  1. I love that last line “…she couldn’t find her backbone if you showed her an X-ray.” 😀

    I bought these books as a birthday present for my son’s gf, who is apparently devouring them. Classic case of ‘Cinderella-complex.’ All she wants in life is be a stay-at-home mom, taken care of by a man. It was too embarrassing to purchase them at a local bookstore, I ordered them online.

    Comment by Digital Dame — September 17, 2009 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

    • That line about backbone is typical of the book, by the way:). The authors have a breezy sense of humor … They seem to have figured out that they’d lose everybody if they took romance novels too seriously.

      Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 18, 2009 @ 12:23 am | Reply

      • I’m on board with that, it’s pretty hard to take romance novels seriously. When I was in 7th grade I went through a phase of reading Georgette Heyer’s Regency romance novels. Then I was over it. 😉 But they did sort of prep me for reading Jane Austen, I learned a lot about Regency England from Heyer’s books.

        Comment by Digital Dame — September 18, 2009 @ 11:10 am

      • Interestingly, the authors of Beyond Heaving Bosoms say: Victorian is the next Regency. They think the Regency period has pretty well played itself out in romance novels and people are ready to move forward historically.

        Your comment points to a possible reason for the burnout: Georgette Heyer was the best, or so the consensus seems to be, and she’s not writing any more … Thanks for mentioning her. She’s in Beyond Heaving Bosoms.

        Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 18, 2009 @ 11:19 am

      • I was in B&N a couple weeks ago and I was stunned to find books by Georgette Heyer in the “Mystery” section. I had no idea she’d written mysteries. I may have to pick one. I’m guessing they are all newly reissued for some reason.

        Comment by Digital Dame — September 18, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

      • It may be that publishers see Georgette Heyer as having attained classic status, so they’re willing to bring back her books in all fields. She certainly seems to be the most admired writer of her era in the historical-romance field. I keep hearing about what a stickler for accuracy she was …

        Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — September 18, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  2. I had no intention of spending money for this book. Now, it’s gotten to the point where “they” would have to pay me to read it. The heaving bosoms thing looks interesting for those of us who like to satirize genres we don’t read.


    Comment by knightofswords — September 17, 2009 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

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