Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last

( 5 )

Overview

Why isn’t real-life romance more like fiction?
 
Patience Bloom asked herself this question, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like their heroines: That shy guy she had a crush on would sweep her off her feet and turn out to be a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Patience kept hoping.

Years later she found her dream job, ...

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Romance Is My Day Job: A Memoir of Finding Love at Last

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Overview

Why isn’t real-life romance more like fiction?
 
Patience Bloom asked herself this question, many times over. As a teen she fell in love with Harlequin novels and imagined her life would turn out just like their heroines: That shy guy she had a crush on would sweep her off her feet and turn out to be a rock star. Not exactly her reality, but Patience kept hoping.

Years later she found her dream job, editing romances for Harlequin itself. Every day, her fantasies came true—on the page. Her dating life, however, remained uninspired. She nearly gave up hope. Then one day Patience got a real-life chance at romance, but Sam lived thousands of miles away. Was it worth the risk? Could love conquer all? 

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  • Romance Is My Day Job
    Romance Is My Day Job  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/25/2013
As an editor at Harlequin, Bloom’s life was filled with romance—brooding, chiseled heroes and beautiful, headstrong, virginal heroines “realizing they’re destined for each other.” She’s familiar with the formula, but wasn’t able to apply it to her own dating life—she jumps from one short-lived relationship to another. As Bloom describes in this mostly lighthearted memoir, when she reaches her 40s, fresh out of another unfulfilling relationship, she finally concludes that “romance doesn’t exist.” Then, via Facebook, Bloom reconnects with Sam, a high school acquaintance with whom she shared one dance at a winter formal back in 1984. Bloom and Sam, who’s now divorced and living in Israel, are soon swapping instant messages and making regular Skype dates. As their long-distance relationship blossoms and they make plans to meet up in person, Bloom realizes that this love story isn’t much like the ones in her beloved harlequins—in most ways, it’s better. Throughout her memoir, Bloom riffs on dozens of romance novel tropes with a practiced hand, and her painstaking analysis of the differences between romantic fiction and real life is undeniably poignant. Unfortunately, the real love story picks up far too late in the book, after numerous digressions that range from pedestrian to tonally erratic. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-26
A veteran editor of romance novels at Harlequin delivers a witty memoir of her history with romance. Unlike the novels she edits, her real-life relationships have been messy and the happy endings elusive. Bloom's story begins at a private high school in Connecticut, when she invited "Harlequin-hero gorgeous" Kent to a formal dance only to be ditched, then rescued by the popular, "fiendishly cute" Sam, who swirls her around the dance floor and insisted they have their picture taken. The photo becomes an important factor later in the story. From high school to college to teaching to a successful editing career, readers follow the author's quest for Mr. Right. She cleverly juxtaposes the conventions of romantic novels and movies with the challenges of maintaining a real relationship, avoiding maudlin territory. She chronicles her series of at-first-exciting but ultimately deficient boyfriends, and her encounters inspire a humorous contrast of romantic archetypes--"The Secretive Hero (Who May Be Hiding Something Really Bad)," "Dangerous and Sexy Alpha Male Heroes That Are Supposed to Have a Heart of Gold," "The Beta Hero (Who Cooks and Isn't a Tool)"--to their real-life counterparts. This is classic girls'-night-out dishing. Though the men in her memoir, with the exception of one, are more typecast than fully formed, the deeper thread here is the idea of self-evaluation and betterment. "This is the part of any romance novel that is never included, the mundane details, the forging ahead, the suffering that doesn't involve pining for a boy," she writes. Despite insecurities, Bloom, a survivor of a violent crime, reveals an inner strength and resolve to carry on. In the end, it's not romance but something more elusive that Bloom finds: intimacy. Romance may wane as the quotidian details of cohabitation intrude on hearts and flowers, but that's when true love begins.
Library Journal
★ 02/01/2014
The beautiful irony of the title says it all—erudite romance editor by day, lonely girl by night. Bloom (editor, Harlequin) offers the American, real, and highly relatable version of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones. A lovably quirky narrator and an abundance of self-deprecating humor give this book the appeal of a good New York-girl-in-publishing chick lit title that's bound to be consumed in great gulps. That said, this is a very well-packaged and well-written memoir, containing a great deal of substance. Bloom doesn't gloss over the seriousness that underpins her experience, but she folds it into a larger tale to tell a phenomenal story—not of a fabulously flawless twentysomething but rather the warts-and-all saga of a woman approaching middle age who's been fruitlessly searching for love as long as she can remember and whose story has (how could it not?) a happy ending. VERDICT Readers who are appalled at the demise of Fielding's Mark Darcy, snap this up. It will ease your pain. Highly recommended for romantics of all stripes.—Audrey Snowden, Orrington P.L., ME
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525954385
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/6/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 400,445
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Patience Bloom
Patience Bloom has been a romance editor at Harlequin for sixteen years. After living in Connecticut, New Mexico, and Paris, she now lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt

Prelude to a Romance

I know there’s a reason why I’m here, all pouty and sullen on this Amtrak train speeding back to New York City. There has to be. It’s one of the first beautiful days of spring in 2009, but I’m not appreciating it the way I should. My situation is causing me some confusion. If the irony of my lame love life and my profession as a romance editor is a cosmic accident, then life is truly absurd. This is why I need a chocolate doughnut before boarding.

The boyfriend I call Superman is sitting next to me, looking extremely gorgeous. He’s that elusive alpha male I’ve always dreamed of dating, the hero who fills up the pages of many romance novels— and he was mine for five months. Now we’re not speaking. The weekend at his country home was a disaster. I can’t wait to be home.

I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. At forty, I should have this part of my life figured out. And I of all people really should know better, right? I’ve been a romance editor at Harlequin for more than ten years. As a supposed expert in the field, the mechanics of love are familiar to me. I’ve read the dating books (combined with a dizzying number of romances) and given real life romance my full attention for over twenty five years. Though I never deluded myself that my hero would be James Bond or Heathcliff (who was a head case, by the way), you’d think I’d have come close. I have this vast knowledge of romance in print, a gigantic dating pool in Manhattan, and I’m no Quasimodo. But it’s been a long time, and I haven’t met anyone close to Mr. Darcy. Maybe it’s time to take a break.

But never a break from reading love stories. The novelty of editing romance is still there: I read romance through terrible times and it gives me a boost. Every day, I work with friendly, smart people at my job. I get to deal with writers who love writing about love. They make me love love, even when I hate it. These books even compel me to hope that everyone finds her own happily ever after—not just me. And it’s not because authors send me chocolate on Valentine’s Day, always ask about my personal life, supply me with manuscripts to feed my book reading obsession, and are interesting people. Who doesn’t want to escape for a little while? Really, it’s sick that I get paid to do this.

Imagine the agony I endure on a day to day basis: A surly fBI agent—let’s call him Jake Hunter—has to find the latest serial killer menacing a small community. Even though he has been through hell—maybe his wife died in a car crash or his partner was killed by a drug cartel—he has this crazy attraction to the town’s knitting store owner with a name like, say, Cassie McBride, who happens to be a virgin. Knitting Girl has no clue a stalker—most likely an ex boyfriend or jealous friend from high school—wants her dead because she’s so unforgettable. And why is an fBI agent in her knitting store? He’s definitely sexy, and it’s been a while since Cassie’s no good boyfriend dumped her.

Yes. This is what I want to read most of the time. My average day is a good one. In the morning, the sun hits my neck, and I’m drink¬ing my coffee and plunging into a tale of characters overcoming obstacles, having amazing simultaneous orgasm sex, and then realizing they’re destined for each other. It’s a far cry from this sad, depressing Amtrak ride.

I gave dating my best shot. I did everything I was supposed to do: made myself available but not too much, dated like I shopped, online dated on numerous sites, went out, was cheerful, didn’t talk about my ex(es) or whine. I took extra care with hair, clothes, and makeup. I was ready for any opportunity. But then years—decades—went by and here I am, still. I’ve read so much, tried so hard, and I figure I’m happy even without real romance in my life. I’m okay if it’s just me. The final verdict is: My life is nothing like these books, not even a little bit.

Or, maybe my real life romance is just around the corner. . . .

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 8, 2014

    Stole my heart

    This memoir is a wonderful tale of love-at-last, infused from start to finish with candid, witty, thoughtful and intriguing story-telling. She confides in the reader, sharing disappointments, misadventures, hopes and struggles, as well as the ultimate giddy joy of true love. By the end of the book, she feels like a dear friend that many of us can relate to. The insights she has gleaned from years as a romance novel editor are evident in the slyly funny descriptions of the various (often ill-suited) suitors cast as "leading men" in her life. As she comes to know herself and to better understand the relationships in her life that have been dissatisfactory, she finds herself face-to-virtual-face with a chance for real, lasting love via a message on Facebook. A fairy tale for both the social media age and the timeless romance genre,and a true pleasure to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    Funny and real....real-life read.

    Couldn't put this book down. I don't read romance novels, but sure liked this one! OK not a true romance novel, but rooting for the real life herione. Enjoyed her humor and honesty.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2014

    You will enjoy this book

    Love this book and the authors fab sense of humor. It was the kind of book i didnt want to put down, and enjoyed until the last sentence.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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