There I was, all snuggled up on my couch with the most recent book in an unnamed series when it hit me: Read Rage.
Read rage is emotion that occurs when an author, usually a favorite author, does something so heinous, so bizarre, so unthinkable that the reader is immediately plunged into a rage. It’s a crippling condition that isn’t spoken about often in the Romance community.
As an avid reader, someone who works in medicine*, and as an occasional sufferer of read rage I believe I’m uniquely qualified to describe this phenomenon to you so that you can catch the signs of read rage and prepare yourself for the inevitable fall out.
Read rage, much like other emotions, is part of a wider spectrum. The lowest end of the spectrum is irritation. This is the type of emotion a reader might feel when confronted with poor editing, typos, or the overuse of particularly, flowery purple prose. These instances are irritating but not enough to make you want to do more than roll your eyes and repeatedly sigh loudly until your partner asks you what is wrong.
The second spot on the spectrum is upset. You may feel upset when the heroine of the novel you just started reading is a completely helpless moron who couldn’t fight her way out of a wet paper bag or when your book ends in a cliff-hanger that feels a lot like a cash grab. If you are upset you will likely write a less than favorable review and vow to not read the next book in the series, only to forget that promise when the next book actually comes out. If you are upset I recommend a large piece of cake and/or images of frolicking kittens to find your way back to center.
Next is angry. Angry is what happens when a perfectly good series gets totally weird through the addition of fairies or when the devout, virgin, investigator you loved in book one turns into a sex-crazed monster hunter and wrangler of wereswans by the fifth book in the series. Anger is the emotion that will have you actually quitting a series and letting everyone who asks know that you started that series but refuse to finish it out of principle. If you are angry, use the buddy system and find someone else who is angry about the same series and hash out your feelings in a safe, soothing environment. Cake and the administration of kitten images will also work in this scenario, but only after you have let go of your anger and begun the healing process in earnest.
Rage is the final spot on our spectrum. True read rage is the result of author decisions that feel like betrayal. Read rage can be because a favorite character is killed (and then brought back!), the male protagonist turns out to be a cheater or a favorite character becomes evil even though you know they are meant to be with the heroine. This is the kind of rage that has you throwing your beloved Kindle across the room, throwing a toddler-like tantrum, or using Twitter to demand the author who caused your rage “fix this shit”. It is important that you do not actually do any of these things. You love your Kindle, you don’t want to hurt it and you should never communicate with the author that has caused you read rage. Screaming, dancing angrily and browsing images of a semi-clothed David Gandy (or the celebrity of your choice) are all effective ways of dealing with your read rage. I also recommend cake and alcohol for their medicinal properties and suggest calling into work sick for at least two days- you deserve this. Once your read rage has subsided, read another book to purge your mind from the book that had you spiraling into read rage and then and only then should you consider publicly commenting on the book that shall hitherto be unnamed.
Read rage should not be confused with actual rage. If you are reading a book in which the author uses multiple racial slurs, demeans or stereotypes individuals, or has a “hero” who is part of a military organization bent on world domination and the eradication of an entire people group, then your rage is just plain old rage, not read rage. Actual rage is justified in areas such as these.
Knowledge is power and understanding read rage is the first step to treating it. Happy reading!
*I work as a receptionist for a couple of Chiropractors. Therefore, all pseudo-medical advice should be taken in the satirical spirit it is given.
Have you experienced read rage?
How did you cope?
Please attempt to keep comments kind. One person’s read rage inducing novel is another’s favorite book of all time. Please comment remembering the age-old adage “different strokes for different folks.