Chat Between Chapters: Book Boyfriends: Good for readers or setup unrealistic expectations?

March 16, 2014 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 22


 What are book boyfriends and how do they impact a reader’s real life? Do you feel like real guys can compete with guys in books?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

Book boyfriends are that, fantasy make-believe wonderful men/boys that we wish were ours. I think that while authors may base their male character traits on people they actually know, I’m sure these boys, especially the ones that seem too good to be true, really are only on the page. In general, I think real life dudes have no chance when compared to book boyfriends. I say in general, because let’s face it, girls are always griping about the male population. But there are some special guys that can rival a book boyfriend. I’m lucky enough to say that I’m pretty sure my husband could, maybe, almost. 😉

Rose review avatar Rose:

Let’s begin by defining a book boyfriend. By definition a book boyfriend is the male main character in a book that steals your heart with his incredible swoon worthiness and makes you wish you were in fact the female main character. BIRLs (boys in real life) can most definitely NOT compare to book boyfriends. Number one, book boyfriends smell like soap, mint, and the woods. BIRLs smell like sweat and stinky feet, or cheese curls, beef jerky, and sometimes onions. Number two, book boyfriends are rich, independently wealthy, charmingly poor, or hard working over achievers with an operable car. BIRLs are not rich, have to work for their money and that means staying late and working past closing. Forget dates, BIRLs either don’t have the money or don’t have the time off. okay, I should probably stop now. I think my bitter is showing. Book boyfriends are always perfect. In real life, they would probably be creepy or annoying. A google search of “book boyfriends” returned this little gem of a link that had me laughing out loud. What if your book boyfriends were real? I will admit that book boyfriends are probably not so swoon worthy if brought into real life. They probably cannot be separated from their plotlines or they lose something that makes them so remarkable. I do think that reading makes me pickier and harder to please when it comes to the opposite sex. However, is that such a bad thing? It makes me less likely to settle, too. In fact, a have had more than one reading experience that led me to end a relationship. I cannot say that I have ever regretted those break ups. I’d like to think that there is a Jamie Fraser out there for me. Or a Josh Bennett… Or a Dean Holder… or a Lucas Maxfield…. Or….

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22 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: Book Boyfriends: Good for readers or setup unrealistic expectations?”

    • Julie

      Haha oops. But yea, don’t we sometimes expect our real life boys to treat us like a fictional boy would? I mean, why else would people write amazing book boyfriends if that’s not how we wanted it to be for real?

  1. Ula @ Blog of Erised

    Ah, BB are definitely too perfect to be real because let’s face it, where do I find a rich man that would adore me DESPITE a million of my flaws? Nowhere.
    Plus some are just dead unrealistic: a 107 year old virgin that just happened to be waiting on that special Mary Sue. He’s also gorgeous and rich and talented at piano and sports and whatnot, super sensitive but a badass at the same time… Just lawd, I feel bile rising.
    They are absolutely overdone, at least in 99 % of the time. As are chicks in books, let’s not be bias here.
    We do really bash on male race all the time, and men do on us as well, but I think there are some that come close to BB.
    I wonder where my guy is hiding… Probably got lost, I live in the middle of nowhere… Yeah that’ll be it.

    • Julie

      Haha you’re right – some characters are a bit over the top! [Looking at you Mr. Grey]

    • Julie

      I don’t think it is a bad thing either. We should raise our standards for the kind of men we put up with 🙂

  2. Maureen

    Really, are book boyfriends any different than those buxom female fighters you see in video games? An ideal man for your reading pleasure. I have to agree with the other comments, as well. My husband is MY ideal man. He might not be perfect for a book, but he is perfect for me.

    • Julie

      Aww, that’s a sweet thing to say. Was he reading over your shoulder? Kidding!

  3. Kimberly

    As an author myself, I can say that my male characters are usually a mix of men I know in real life. Granted, I take all the good parts and throw them into one swoon-worthy male. 🙂

    I always thought men from romance novels weren’t realistic, but then I met my husband. He’s husband number 2 for me which gives me the benefit of being able to see and appreciate the characteristics that really matter.
    Kimberly recently posted…How often should I weigh myself?

    • Julie

      Do these men in real life that inspire the characters in your books know they are being inspirational? Hehe

  4. Georgia

    My husband blows all “book boyfriends” out of the water. Seriously. And the only book boyfriend who keeps coming to mind is Heathcliff so really almost ANY boy beats him! 😉
    Georgia recently posted…Awesome Apricot Chicken

    • Julie

      Well I’m sure we can recommend some books to give your awesome hubby a run for his money 😉

  5. Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun

    Oh this is a fun topic. I don’t think book boyfriends ruin real life boys, but maybe make us raise our standards a bit? I feel like my boyfriend could rival a book boyfriend (we’ve been together 9 years, so the blinders are WAY past off lol) too Julie. He’s alpha with a soft underbelly…both literally and figuratively. I think for me that’s the point where real guys can’t match up – like you mentioned Rose.. Most real guys won’t have the money and I’ll add the super hot bodies. Even if they are attractive, they don’t have perfect bodies. But we CAN expect them to behave and treat us certain ways. And that’s how my bf rivals a book BF, even if he’s not as eloquent about it as Jamie Fraser. *sigh*
    Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun recently posted…All Hallows Night | Blitz

    • Julie

      I think you make a good point. The book boyfriends make us raise our standards, so that we pick the best real life boy that we can 🙂

    • Rose

      And what a wonderful option! Real boys never live up to Book boyfriends anyways!!!

  6. April @ The Steadfast Reader

    Bahaha. Rose – your description of what book boyfriends smell like is so spot on. 🙂 I just finished The Weight of Blood and Ivory soap was very central to the smell of the boy.

    I’ve never had a book boyfriend… maybe I’ll start looking for one, though I think that my husband already thinks that my books ARE my boyfriends… poor guy gets left out between the reading and the career and the house work and the blog… 🙂

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!
    April @ The Steadfast Reader recently posted…Spread the Love 2.0: Week Six

    • Rose

      My bf is neglected as well. Maybe they could get together and form a support group? I saw a pic online that a man was wearing a tshirt and it was HABB (Husbands Against Book Boyfriends.)
      And, side note here, I know smell-a-vision never took off, but what about scratch and sniff books? Like if all these book boyfriends smell so wonderful, why not give us scatch and sniff books? Entire cologne and body wash lines can be created from these books… and readers could buy them for their BIRLs and then the real life BF would smell like the Book BF. THIS IS A GREAT IDEA!

  7. Elin

    Love this post! Book boyfriends is supposed to be amazing, charming and dreamy. They are book characters, yet I believe that authors often invents these individuals while they may think of someone they know. That’s at least what I do when I write, I do not make the characters just like the ones I know but of course you get ideas from the familiar. Of course there will never be some men who are as perfect as those in the books, since these books characters are often written by women. But having said that, I love book boyfriends and I love men in real life. They can be charming too, if they want to 🙂
    Elin recently posted…En smakebit på søndag/ A taste of Sunday: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris.

  8. Reviews From A Bookworm

    Great post! Book boyfriends are amazing and starting the blog has led me to so many new and swoon worthy book boyfriends that I am starting to lose count. Luckily my boyfriend could give some of them a run for their money, especially since he buys me books when he thinks I’ve had a bad day which makes me swoon a little every time 😉 I’m a sucker for books.

    But, most of the time book boyfriends do seem to good to be true and that’s why we love them. Here’s the link to my review of Easy that you wanted btw 🙂
    Reviews From A Bookworm recently posted…My Weekly Book Haul: 15/03/2014

    • Rose

      Wow you boyfriend buys you books!? Does he have a brother? lol jk. My bf will get me an amazon card from his credit card rewards points. That sorta counts??? And thanks for the link to your review of Easy. I commented. 🙂

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