As y’all probably know, I’m a genre omnivore. If there’s something in literature that I won’t read, I’ve not found it yet. But why do I read? It’s not all about entertainment. Studies have shown reading fiction is good for us. It broadens our minds and changes our perspectives. It builds empathy, makes us better communicators, improves our memories, and enhances our understanding of the world. Being able to read about something in the fictional world that’s outside our comfort zone helps us comprehend and be empathetic to those things in the real world. That’s why I read whichever genre or trope speaks to me at the time and why I was able to enjoy Birthday Girl and Credence despite elements outside my comfort zone.
Both Birthday Girl and Credence are billed as taboo romances. And as you know if you’ve read my reviews, I adored them both. However, the taboo elements of each could be off-putting to some.
In Credence, there are several taboo elements. Age-gap, the “family” element (although they were step-family and haven’t been around each other), and then there’s the fact that there are 3 males to 1 Tiernan. It was all very titillating and since its fiction, none of it bothered me. I could rationalize Tiernan’s feelings and actions seeing as she’d endured a lot of loneliness in her life. I could also rationalize the behavior and actions of Jake, Kaleb, and ___ seeing as they’d also experienced loss and loneliness.
Birthday Girl was different in that the taboo elements – age-gap and love triangle involving father of boyfriend, boyfriend, and Jordan – are more palatable. Again, as this is fiction, those elements didn’t bother me. And honestly, I don’t think the age-gap would bother me in real life if things happened in a way similar to how they did in this story. Pike was young as he’d become a father at 19 and Jordan was very mature for her age due to circumstances in her upbringing. You can’t help who you love – who you connect with. And the relationship between Pike and Jordan felt organic and genuine.
Both stories evoked strong emotion and I enjoyed them for various reasons. I applaud PDouglas for writing Credence – a story she probably knew would garner mixed reviews. Birthday Girl could have as well although it’s lighter in tone.
What about you? Are there taboo elements you avoid in reading? Do you avoid taboo reads completely? Or are you like me, take it all as fiction and read it all anyway?