Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Try a Little Tenderness


My 4 year old had a pretty high fever on and off all weekend. This involved lots of snuggle time, ice-packs, cool baths, jello, and ibuprofen. It was hard to see her so lethargic and listless, knowing we just had to wait it out (her tonsils were inflamed). Yesterday my five year old woke up from an impromptu nap (first sign something was wrong) with a fever. Then she started puking. This experience, while I was Mommy-on-the-spot and doing everything I could for her, was not so sweet and poignant. At that point, I was more irritated. Hadn't we just gone through this? And what's with the vomit? Sigh.

While laying on the couch with my sweaty, half-naked 5 year old, I picked up a book I had read years ago. It was about a husband and wife who had become estranged after the death of their infant son. Of course, it tugged my heart strings. How could it not? Was that why I had kept it over the years instead of lending it out indefinitely?

The romance genre has to touch our more tender sentiments, perhaps even make us verklempt. The reader has already been promised a happy ending (take that how you will), so if it was all about conflict resolution, there would be no point. Moving scenes of tenderness add a depth to the read. If a book makes me cry, it's usually a keeper.

That said, if a book is full of sap and makes me immune to the intended heart string tug, it becomes cheesy on a chick-flick level. And then there is the scene that could be moving, but is way too graphic in effort to be realistic and becomes gross. I become distracted by the, in my case, purple children's Motrin vomit, and not able to focus on what could be heart wrenching.

In summary, A little tenderness = good. Too much tenderness = overkill. Tender + Gross = Gross.

Are there scenes from books or films that you remember as particularly poignant? Does that affect how you qualify the movie/book as quality?

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