I recently purchased a book I’d been looking forward to reading because I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Erotic menage romance so copious amounts naughty business were bound to occur and I was in the mood for that (it happens). I opened up the book only find the heroine’s name was the same as mine. It was a bit jarring to me because I’m not used to seeing that, but I figured I could go with it, ignore that it made me feel odd for some reason and get on with reading.

Then I turn the page and discover one of the heroes names is the same as… the husband of a really good friend of mine.

EEEEEEWWWWWWWWW!

I couldn’t read the book. I’ve passed it on to the friend in question who thinks it’s all pretty funny and is going to have a go at reading it. So perhaps it’s just me. I have a weird idiosyncrasy where I can’t read books if the hero’s name is the same as a friend’s husband, my father or one of my brothers. I see that name and I just put ‘em down. I think it must have to do with the theory that as readers we view the heroine as a placeholder for ourselves (placeholder: a theory about the reader’s identification with a character.  Part of a reader’s experience with a book is to “take the place of the heroine” and fall in love with the hero). Who wants to put themselves in the ‘place’ of a woman who’s having sex with a guy whose name is the same as her brother’s? Again, EEEEEEWWWWWW.

I don’t actually read romance novels because I want to imagine myself in that heroine’s place. I read for the overall story, the character development of each person in the book, the underlying issues and to study the interesting dynamics between those two (or three) particular people, because no couple (or trio J) would ever be exactly alike, so it’s interesting every time. These are much the same reasons I write romance too BTW, not to have or create some vicarious fantasy sexual experience. Personally I’m interested in what happens to a person emotionally throughout the story, and sex brings up a lot of emotions so it’s fertile territory for the exploration of inner angst, hopes, dreams, hangups, you name it. Given all that perhaps if I did read a story where the hero’s name was the same as someone very familiar to me in my real life, I could get into it and dismiss that aspect as the pages turned. I don’t know. I gotta say, I don’t try. Eeewww.

What about you? Are there any names that turn you right off a book immediately, hero or heroine’s? Any other little reading quirks you want to share?

Sami

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