Earlier this year when book reviewer Paul Goat Allen posted an article on BarnesandNoble.com about the worst sex scenes in paranormal romance I tried to brush it off. Allen's ignorance about the genre was clear to me in the fact that he'd even write such a piece in the first place, taking one of the best-selling commercial fiction categories and mocking it publicly. PNR fans certainly wouldn't find it as amusing as he.
It was also seemingly apparent that he just flipped through some books, found some lines he found funny, and just wrote them down to make fun of them. Yes, some of the excerpts he pulls might make you cringe and giggle, but he's taken them out of context and completely disregarded the fact that some of the authors may not have even meant those lines seriously. I know more than one author who landed on that list and it's not uncommon in some snarky and spunky PNR for sex scenes to be written tongue-in-cheek, with the purpose of taking a common convention and pushing it beyond its limits intentionally for a laugh of its own. In addition, some of the quotes Allen pulls here aren't even from sex scenes. For example, Nicole Peeler's quote about "seaweed pubes" (yes, gross sounding haha) was actually describing an underwater character's hair. It had nothing to do with sex.
All that to say that Allen was not winning any points in my book. Even when confronted by an author about his misuse of her work, he recognized that he took it out of context and shrugged it off, not caring that he's characterizing her in an unfair negative light knowingly. For that, my respect for him dwindled even further.
Then, last week, I see that his oh-so-hilarious (*insert sarcasm here*) article has made it into the Huffington Post. Good, just what we need--his obnoxious opinion to be put in front of more viewers. Yay.
I was upset, to say the least. Not only for my friends, whose talent is immense, but for how this man was being made out to be a credible source for this kind of thing when he surely doesn't deserve the role. It did offer some solace to know that any PNR fan probably doesn't take his opinions to heart, that anyone with a head on her shoulders would see that you can't judge a book, or even a sex scene, by a sentence or two. The only people who would really find this amusing in the first place are the ones who don't read the genre, so at least it wasn't deterring sales for readers who actually are interested. In fact, for me, it made me more curious to read these books he highlights, to see for myself if he's just being an unfair jerk (I know. I'm *awesome* with the insults haha) or if there is truth in his commentary. I'll admit that I know there are instances of both on this list. And I will also say that, in general, Allen makes some good and accurate points about writing a sex scene in general. But my opinion definitely isn't stemming from what Allen chooses is "a cheesy sex scene." I'll be using my own legitimate judgment, thankyouverymuch. I hope you will too!