I have been asked for an explanation of Best Romance Ever, as it breaks every rule of the romance genre. Here are the rules of romance, from Elizabeth Grayson, although you will find I have broken every rule of every romance ever.
1) the readers care about the characters.
2) the readers identify with the heroine.
3) the readers fall in love with the hero.
4) the readers believe that the hero and heroine are convincingly united at the end of the book.
- I don’t think either Sam or Kira are particularly appealing characters. One writer that had a look at Best Scandal Ever found the fact that Kira was fat and had a lot of boyfriends unbelievable due to her own weird hangups. They are interesting, but not particularly heart wrenching people. Another early comment was that referring to Sam as a womanizer was an insult. I replied at the time that it was descriptive. Sam is not a bad person at all, he just likes women, preferably briefly.
- See above. Kira is a weirdo, who would rather hide in her house than attempt to disengage with her feelings. She uses them elsewhere as impetus to do other things.
- Sam is not the sort of guy that anybody sensible would fall in love with. His entire life is devoted to avoiding such encumbrances. The only reason he nearly achieves romance is to improve his status.
- Sam and Kira do not end up together at the end of the book. Quite the reverse. It is a comedy of manners, in which their respective nationalities plays a huge role. Kira is shy and completing a project, regardless of money or status, whilst Sam is very keen to be seen as very successful. This gives you a further insight into their characters, and is a development on Best Scandal Ever, which posits Sam as a business genius, whilst Kira is a faintly evil academic/artist who doesn’t care about people, money, or anything much apart from Sam, whom she wants nothing to do with.
So, although the principle of romance is there, there is no actual romance. All it establishes is a link between the characters, in the form of his turning up at the music festival when he is upset about the failure to sustain his romance with the famous actress. In terms of the series, it makes perfect sense, but in terms of the rules of romance, it is entirely rule breaking.
Nevertheless, men have particularly enjoyed the book, as it explains a lot about women. That nagging old fuck standing in your kitchen loves you very much, in fact, she is just busy maintaining your preferred level of boring old life. Love is not necessarily about flowers and pretty things. Sometimes it is about being extremely tough and withholding affection for wider reasons.
Some men, Sam included, misunderstand this as being stuck in a rut, or hen-pecked. So, for the more intelligent male reader it gives a measure of insight into why you would still be madly in love after thirty years, yet having a relatively grim day to day life. Best Romance Ever is my attempt to capture why your relationship unit may look shaky, but actually be performing extremely well.
There is a measure of almost autistic denial about Kira. She has little to no self-confidence, but I have forced her into situations where she copes remarkably well. She is horrified by her feelings about Sam, and yet flogs her dead horse persistently throughout the books. This in itself is more romantic than the average romance, since she has no expectations at all and does not forsee anything good or positive coming out of her feelings.
Sam, on the other hand, is blissfully unaware, and even if he was aware, would choose to ignore it, or brand Kira as insane.
Best Adventure Ever, the game in production at the moment, expands on this. Players selecting Sam as their character will get a very different experience, expressed through food choices and choices of date, than players selecting Kira and her choices of date. The romantic element between them is still there, however this piece of work is created around them rather than about them. It is really a piece about the quality of your relationships, how your looks impact/do not impact on your life experience, and how happy you end up as a result. It is also a comment about men and women generally, since Sam and Kira exemplify the ‘inny/outy’ nature of genitalia itself.
Finally, the pieces of work relating to Sam and Kira are about people who despise convention. The one thing that Sam and Kira share is that they have no real interest in conformity. If I ever put them together, I am sure their adventures together would be just as interesting, because of their opposing perception of the world around them.
I would argue that the Best Romance Ever is as the title suggests because there is no concluding ‘happy ever after.’ The Best Romance Ever, is a period of endless negotiation, therefore it is infinite.