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Does The Blue Lagoon Count As Romance?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Posted in: book talk

I loved this book when I read it many years ago, and I possibly thought that Dick and Em were a romantic couple, but these days I’m not so sure. Their relationship was beautiful, but seeing as they both die in the end, I would class it more as a love story.

And, yes, they did die.

What do you guys think?


  • I believe a book that’s classified as ‘romance’ for marketing purposes needs to have a HEA or HFN. To me that means there’s a couple (or triple or whatever) at the end of the book committed to each other and to making a go at their relationship. It doesn’t mean a white picket fence, marriage and a dozen babies.

    So, no, any love story where the couple dies, one partner dies, one partner leaves is not a ‘romance’ as far as I’m concerned (I’m looking at you Romeo and Juliet, Gone With the Wind, etc).

    I’ve been really annoyed over the last year at some really egregious mislabeling. Books that at most may have romantic elements being labeled ‘romance’ because the marketing people know ‘romance’ sells!

    I have a long memory and I hold a grudge! Publishers and authors who do that will not see any more of my cash (I’ll never buy another Extasy book after complaining that a m/m story labeled a gay romance ended with one partner going back to dating women and the other partner devastated and being told by the author and publisher I just didn’t get it).

    But it’s not just e-pubs that have been guilty of this. It’s harder to boycott a big house that publishes a lot of my favorite authors. Grumble, mumble.

    I just wish they’d all leave the ‘romance’ label alone and not abuse it to make a quick buck.

    As to what to call these books with romantic elements: call them love stories or better yet tragic love stories, so us poor suckers who don’t want to be depressed at the end will know what to expect.


  • Now see, you’ve performed another public service, Karen. I never read the book (didn’t even know there was one) but saw the movie and have always wondered whether they were rescued in time or were already dead.

    So, now that you’ve cleared that up, I can weigh in with my opinion that, no, I do NOT consider Blue Lagoon a romance. It’s an adventure story, possibly even a moral play, with romance and tragedy elements.


  • Randi
    October 8
    2:52 pm

    GrowlyCub; amen. I have noticed a number of “romance” books I have bought lately, do not have the HEA. I read one last night. I was sooooo bummed and pissed off. I agree that ‘romance’ should have the HEA. Otherwise, put it in fiction. I go to the romance section for a happy ending. If I don’t get it, I’m totally pissed.


  • Mireya
    October 8
    3:03 pm

    Thing is that most romance lovers do expect, if not an outright HEA, at least a HFN. Trying to sell a piece of fiction with strong romantic elements as a “romance” (yet not the positive or hopeful ending requirement) does not fly and readers end up feeling cheated. Additionally, we are not stupid, when we buy a romance, we expect a romance with a nice ending… not a tragedy, and no matter how much an author or publisher may want to tell us otherwise or even dare say that “we don’t get it”, we still will not buy their argument.

    Speaking for myself, I read romance to feel uplifted not end up in tears and angry. If I want tears and anger all I need to do is open up a newspaper…


  • Huh, I remember reading the book and distinctly remember that the young couple ate the sleeping berries and fell asleep, like the baby. “They were asleep.” I took that literally, like the movie, that they all were rescued while they slept. Of course, being a romantic, I didn’t think they died. I think the author, who wrote this book around the early 1900s left the ending like that for his readers to decide.

    The sequel (and the second movie that was based on it) was written by another author decades later. He decided that the couple was dead. I didn’t read this book, but if the couple did die of the sleeping berries, how come their baby lived after eating them? So, I stick to my belief that The Blue Lagoon has a happy ending ;-).


  • Never read the book, barely remember the movie. Didn’t know they died in the end, though.

    Regardless, I wouldn’t call it a romance, I don’t think.


  • I don’t think Romeo & Juliet was a romance, either. It was a tragedy–because they died at the end.

    If they would have lived, it would have been a comedy, which is as close to a romance as they had in those days. (The play was hilariously funny, if not for all the dying.)

    I did not know Blue Lagoon was a book. Learned something new!

    And I didn’t think they died, either.


  • DS
    October 8
    6:16 pm

    There’s genre romance and then there is romance. Genre romance is a creation of the last few decades and the guarantee of the happy ending is even more recent than the books that started the genre. It is restricted to a happy ending.

    In the larger sense Blue Lagoon is a romance, it is not a genre romance.


  • I tend to file The Blue Lagoon with anything by Nicholas Sparks, something I call “ManMance”. The “Loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” crap that pisses me off to no end, lol. I have absolute fits when people call it “romance”.

    I didn’t realize they died. I’d have thought this one would fall under your “incest” purview, Karen, since they’re cousins. That part bugged me even when I was little but hubbie tells me that no one cared because Brooke Shields was damn near nekkid. I mean, I understood how it happened, but the story was a long series of bummers that I never got. I just liked the ocean.

    The Bummer Police


  • I’m with Dee on this one.

    Yes, it may be romance in the “pure” sense of the word (what DS was saying, I think) but it’s not romantic to me at all. It’s like Casablanca–I like the movie, and it’s poignant and beautiful and whatnot.

    But every time I want to bash someone on the head when Boggie gets Ingrid Bergman to get on the effin’ plane.


  • I didn’t realize they died. I’d have thought this one would fall under your “incest” purview, Karen, since they’re cousins.

    I read this years ago, when I doubt I even knew what incest was, and actually it was only a couple of years ago that I even realised that they were related. Totally missed it the first time round.


  • Emmy
    October 8
    8:35 pm

    I agree that ‘romance’ should have the HEA. Otherwise, put it in fiction.

    I think it would be more aptly placed in ‘non-fiction’ since it’s more true to life, lol. Maybe we need to create a ‘reality’ romance genre. Wonder if we can get Harlequin to pick this up. Instead of a billionaire tycoon, we can have Joe Six-pack.


  • Totally missed it the first time round.

    I probably only picked it up because I so desperately needed a reason to make MY cousins stop watching it, lol.

    Wonder if we can get Harlequin to pick this up. Instead of a billionaire tycoon, we can have Joe Six-pack.

    Oh, trust me, HQ has tons of Joe Six-packs. You have to pick what you want to DO with him to decide which one to pick up, lol.


  • Harlequin tried the ‘non-fiction’ variety with the Everlasting Love line. I read 5 or 6 of them and they were all godawful and depressing as hell.

    Harlequin killed the line, but they are now sticking them in with the SuperRomances which, to my mind, is a waste of good slots that could be used for better stories.


  • Sorry! TOTALLY OFF TOPIC: Karen! I need your expertise but I can’t find how to email you, can you email me please?


    Liquid Silver Books


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