My Rant About Author J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts: The Fictionalization of Abuse


Ok, I give up. This subject has been pissing me off and I’m going to rant even though I’m really tired and won’t make much sense.

First a disclaimer: You may ask why I keep reading books that piss me off? It’s because I get bored and I need to read and I don’t want to read “The Help” because I already know what it’s like to be black in the South for god’s sake and I don’t want to read interesting autobiographies because I don’t like autobiographies and I can only read so many cookbooks and knitting books and just…because!

There, now that’s out of the way…

I am pissed at Nora Roberts who writes a futuristic police/romantic suspense series “In Death” under the name J.D.Robb. If you’ve never read them I’m going to do spoilers so don’t read on if it will ruin things for you.

And this rant has nothing to do with the repetitive, monotonous nature of the writing, in which the same thing happens over and over in every book, even when it makes no logical sense. And yes, I still read them. I know! I’m bored okay?

In the “In Death” series Nora/J.D. Robb writes about a female New York detective in our future. This detective’s name is Lt. Eve Dallas. Eve Dallas is not really her name because as a child she was horribly sexually, and physically abused by her father, to the point where she killed him when she was 8 years old and promptly forgot her name and past. She was then found on the streets and put into the foster system. They named her Eve Dallas as she was found in Dallas.

Throughout the series Eve refuses to deal with her past, which I understand, but I don’t understand her actions. Oh wait! This is also supposed to be a romance isn’t it? Romantic suspense…right.

Ok so she marries a man who is Irish, sexy, and rich. Of course. And they have sex...lots and lots of sex. I actually skip those parts now, in part because of the ridiculous monotony and repetition and partly because it’s just dumb!

What I just love is the time her husband said he was worried that her past would cause her pain in their intimate life and she says that it would never happen because all she see is him blah, blah, blah. Really?

Ms. Robb/Roberts takes lots of time to detail the various rapes that happened to Eve as a small child. And you’re telling me that would have NO bearing on her sex life and intimacy now? Really?

I also love how Eve can have a flashback and immediately “fix” it by having hot sex with her hot husband. Because that makes it all better doesn’t it? And her husband will see that she’s remembering something and then he scoops her up and they have…wait for it…sex!

Oh wait I see…it wouldn’t be very romantic if Eve had flashbacks during sex and had to stop would it? It wouldn’t be romantic if her husband wanted sex and she couldn’t do it at that moment because she had just remembered her father raping her would it?

I think it’s awesome that women with abusive pasts (who may not have been in any kind of therapy to know better) can read these books and wonder if something’s wrong with them because they can’t just see the person they love when intimate.

I’m not saying that a person couldn’t get to a place of more peace where intimacy becomes easier. I believe that is possible, with help. But Eve is not in counseling or therapy. She pushes disturbing thoughts away and refuses to get regular counseling, even though one of her close friends is a psychologist who has offered to help her work through her memories. And almost every case, in every book, is a sexual homicide. It would be hard enough for a police officer with NO past sexual abuse to handle that, let alone someone with Eve’s past.

I don’t blame Eve. Not at all. Most of us run from those dark thoughts that cause pain. BUT if you’re going to write about sexual abuse, it should make more sense. Eve should have trouble. But that’s not romantic is it?

The author has NO trouble fictionalizing sexual abuse for entertainment purposes but her heroine does not react like a normal person would. That pisses me off because then sexual abuse becomes exactly that: entertainment. But sexual abuse is not entertaining. Of course Law and Order: SVU would prove me wrong wouldn’t it?

Like I said, this has been ruminating in my head for a while and I just needed to rant. I really need to find some new fiction now that I’ve grown out of Twilight (you can laugh). 😛

 

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About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
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15 Responses to My Rant About Author J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts: The Fictionalization of Abuse

  1. Karen says:

    I also love how Eve can have a flashback and immediately “fix” it by having hot sex with her hot husband.

    I actually laughed out loud at this. I mean, obviously the subject matter isn’t funny – but the idea that flashbacks of, er, sexual abuse are cured by sex is so appallingly absurd.

    It feels like the author is using CSA as a plot device. I don’t have a problem with that per se, but only if it’s done sensitively and realistically – and it really doesn’t sound like this is! It sounds like the CSA and the protagonist’s supposed recovery are used to show how ‘strong’ she is. Like you, I don’t blame the character herself, but the writer should have done a bit more research before using such a sensitive subject to illustrate her point.

    • CimmarianInk says:

      You hit it perfectly Karen. I too have no problem with an author writing about sexual abuse, especially if they have personal experience. But either way, make it true and make it reasonable.

  2. Freasha1964 says:

    Your sense of humor over this comes out loud and clear, so forgive me for laughing and smiling at your comments through this post.
    I have the following observation: Ummm…. there are a lot of reading choices out there. Clearly there is a draw for you in some way. I wonder what it is. I suspect you should keep reading these? Maybe? Or??? Maybe it is not a good thing. That is for you to ponder. Maybe it is that you need to deconstruct these misconceptions for a wider audience?
    Anyway, thanks for the rant! 🙂

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Oh Freasha, there’s no need for me to forgive you laughing and smiling. 🙂 As serious as the subject is, I couldn’t help but write it with sarcastic humor because it’s so ridiculous to write a character like that.

      I don’t know if I just want to read mysteries and that’s why I come back or not. Maybe the draw is due to the abuse? No idea. Either way, thanks for letting me rant lol.

  3. Oh geez, I laughed reading the absurd nature of the book you described. How does Eve know she was abused if her memory is gone from the time before killing her sicko father? Did she remember some stuff afterward? It seems all a bit ludicrous healing one’s sexual abuse with sex even if it is with someone you love who cares about you. I agree with Karen and you, Nora Roberts should have tried to be a bit more realistic and done her homework before writing about a topic she obviously(thankfully for her) never experienced.
    I never read the Twilight series but watched a few of the movies and thought they were strange for glorifying what looked like an abusive relationship (between Bella and Edward). The first one I admit I sort of enjoyed but they got worse after that! (for me).

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi reflections,

      To answer your question, Eve was 8 when she killed her father in self-defense and when she ran afterwards, she forgot everything, including that she killed him. But over time as a police officer she has been exposed to sexual homicides that have brought parts of her memory back. So she remembers what he did and that she eventually killed him.

      And yes, you got my point and I agree with the others too. If an author’s going to write about any subject, they should do their homework, especially a subject like child sex abuse.

      Hehe, as for Twilight, I always defended myself because I liked the books way, way, more than the movies. I found the movies stupid and not faithful to the books at all. All those brooding glances and sulking…in the books Bella stood up for herself as much as possible but being human was unable to fight supernatural powers. Still, I’m over it. I’m so glad the movies are over after this winter. Ugh!

      Thankfully I have the Hunger Games trilogy. 😀

  4. Neloran says:

    Good rant. You made excellent points, and you know what? I agree with them all! What kind of message, in particular, does this send to survivors out there who read it and think “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just push the flashback aside like she does when having sex?”

    -Nel

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi Nel,

      Thank you and I’m glad I made sense. Romantic stories are rarely true to life but this one burns me because sexual abuse is such a strong feature of the character and the cases she works.

  5. Alice says:

    brilliant rant! It’s just so ridiculous!! I couldn’t help laugh a little too, how could she write that and NOT think it’s absurd? Alice x

  6. aynetal3 says:

    Just me … We’re in agreement with the others as to the quality of Ms Robb/Roberts work with this novel. Obviously, she’s playing with fire and isn’t aware she’s holding a match. I think people read books trying to figure out things that are on their mind and this author gave no real assistance in providing answers. Still we ask questions indirectly through reading – I think hoping something of our past will make sense to us. I don’t think abuse ever makes sense, but resolving some of the issues forced on us would be sensible.

    When we started dating Rich (relationship of 18 years), he had to scrape us off the wall or out of corners where we were banging our heads – EVEN if orgasms were supposed to be good. Now that many years later, we’ve accomplished so much sexually, but still care has to be given not to trigger and most nights we still end up with a younger Gracie whimpering. Rich in general has been patient and there is a normal reassurance of communication afterward with her. Normally, he’ll say something like … let’s take it up a level which is her cue to trust some of the others of us to take back the feelings that are frightening to her. On a good night we’ll find our smile, but on other nights we whimper ourselves to sleep. There’s still a lot of guilt in that we can’t keep her from being startled. All in time, I suppose we have to be patient all around til the truth unveils itself.

    I see the dreaming you are doing as something that is evolving for you as well. I couldn’t help but thinking there might be some crossing over with the scream from losing your grandmother and her safety to screams that went unnoticed by the people who weren’t so safe. I think that one of the worse parts about being severely abused is that our abusive family members were of no assistance in helping us calm or reassure ourselves after being terrorized. It seems to affect long into the distance our abilities to cope. BUT, I also feel the more you can be conscious of, the more you can as a system take on an improve. Something has to come in our slow and gradual enlightenment from the past. Right?

    Always our best,
    Anns

    http://annsmultipleworldofpersonality.blogspot.com
    http://newsdidmpd.blogspot.com

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi Anns,

      Intimacy is so complex. It’s great that you can have “good” nights and absolutely understandable when you have not-so-good ones. Patience is a hard one for me in this area.
      I think you’re right that there is a definite connection between the loss of grandmother as a person but also of the safety she represented.

      And yes, something should come out of all this enlightenment lol.

  7. I agree with all of your points! Fictionalising abuse in such a way is wrong. It gives the wrong kind of message to the survivors and evidently the author is fictionalising sexual abuse for entertainment purposes. Our organisation is called White Balloon Support. We aim to inform, alert and direct people to the social issue of child sexual assault to help prevent and support those who had to endure it. Check out our blog – http://whiteballoonsupport.wordpress.com/

  8. Ella says:

    I love Nora Roberts/JD Robb for a fun, fast read that gets me out of my own head. I agree with you on a few points however, as a sexual abuse survivor myself and someone currently in treatment for PTSD I do feel you are taking this a little too seriously. I am an adult. I don’t read this and go “Oh no! A fictional character from the future ‘got over’ her abuse with sex, so should I!’ any more than I think I should be able to find a millionaire Irish ‘batman’ figure and use laser guns. Please don’t assume that abuse victim=moron. The person above who said:

    What kind of message, in particular, does this send to survivors out there who read it and think “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just push the flashback aside like she does when having sex?”

    That is just a silly thing to say. And mildly insulting. I read these books for a kick. They often make me laugh or roll my eyes. I skip the sex scenes a lot too. But I don’t curl up in a corner and hate myself for not being able to screw away my demons like a fictional character. Lord have mercy….

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Ella,

      You obviously missed the humor in my post and my point.

      And you insult me and my readers by making assumptions about where I was coming from and criticizing the comments of others.

      I stand by my rant which if you had really paid attention to it, you would have seen that some of what I said was tongue in cheek. However, I am 100% firm in my thoughts that there should be some realistic expectations when a fiction author decides to make her main character an abuse survivor. And, not every person who is a survivor and reads those stories will be in the same place as far as healing. It is possible that a person who is still struggling with certain aspects of their abuse may wonder why their reactions are so different. That doesn’t make them morons, it makes them human. Dealing with sexual abuse is complex and the subject deserves to be taken seriously.

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