Sometimes the Fangirls have differing opinions about a drama. There are times we have hive-mind-like thoughts about a show, but then there are some dramas that appeal to one or two of us, but not the rest. That’s not a bad thing at all. We are all different and find value and meaning in a variety of experiences and dramas. This is certainly the case with Romance is a Bonus Book. Read on to hear why Kdrama Jen kept watching.
My Lee Jong Suk Love is REAL
I am a huge Lee Jong Suk fan. The first episode of this drama bothered me because I couldn’t sense the chemistry between the leads, and I was still trying to adjust to the recent facial structure changes of one of my favorite actors. I was feeling a bit shallow because I was finding LJS’s new look a bit jarring. As time passed, though, I adjusted. I don’t know if this is because I got used to it, or if he became less stiff. Either way, I found myself enjoying him again. I guess he can change his nose, but my love will never change. (Well, it almost changed, but we can just pretend that didn’t happen.)
Reassessing the Pathetic Life of Dan-i
I also initially had a problem with the way our leading lady just seemed to cry her way through life. I have little patience for people who don’t step up and take responsibility for their life choices. So, at first, I found myself annoyed by Dan-i and her pathetic life. Yes, I realize that makes me sound cold and callous, but I am trying to be honest about why I almost walked away from this drama. It bothered me that she was just living in some condemned building and scraping by to send her kid off to boarding school. And then I really stopped to think about it. She left her successful marketing career in order to be a fulltime wife and mother. She gave herself to those roles with all of the enthusiasm and passion she might have dedicated to climbing the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, the man she chose for her husband was not someone worthy of all of that dedication. Feeling humiliated and embarrassed, but still determined to give her daughter the best life she could, Dan-i made many sacrifices. Maybe I would not send my child off to school in the Philippines, but maybe I would. If I truly believed something was in my daughter’s best interest, then would I be willing to live in a condemned building to make it possible? Definitely. So, I started to see Dan-i in a different light.
Second Lead Syndrome
The neighbor-guy/second lead with his adorable Golden Retriever seemed like a really good choice for Dan-i. He helped her out when she was dripping wet and bedraggled. They had a sweet chemistry I was not feeling with The Lee Jong Suk pairing. He really seemed like a nice neighborhood guy who might help Dan-i see herself as desirable. I was kind of finding myself on Team Green Onion.
Still, I kept watching…
Publishing World Setting and Work Family
And as I watched, the story began to unfold. I loved the glimpses into the Korean publishing industry, and I started to fall for all of the supporting characters. The office politics and relationships held a hint of sincerity and reality that drew me into their world. I think I kept watching because of these small moments. I felt my heart ache a bit when I saw all the books that get sent to the shredder. I also found myself trying to understand all of the workplace rivalries. The publishing world fascinates me.
Literature and Art References: Be Still My Nerdy Heart
Woven throughout the story are references to different kinds of art, literary, musical and on canvas. I always wanted to be the kind of person who makes vague references to obscure artists, but I don’t quite have the right sense of gravitas to pull it off. Still, I appreciate those who can! Look for the mentions of indie musicians, notice the quotes used, and keep your eye out for art exhibits. These small touches are pleasant surprises that make me want to curl up with a mug of Fair-Trade coffee, pet a hypoallergenic cat and wear turtlenecks. Actually, let’s skip the turtlenecks. There are way too many in this show! Still, I do love all the art references. Once I started paying attention to the book pages at the end too, I found deeper meaning. Oh, and the book love this show elicits–it makes my inner bibliophile swoon with happiness.
Wait. What was THAT?
I still wasn’t invested in our lead couple, until suddenly I was. So, I am not sure if this was brilliantly calculated acting and plot development or simply an accident, but it felt like I started to feel the chemistry at the same time our couple seemed to discover it. I suddenly realized I was fully invested in seeing their long-term relationship become something more. The few little moments of sizzle felt like the beginning of a new realization or new chapter in their relationship. I swear it wasn’t there before. I even went back to watch the first episodes. Nope. Not there. Now, though? Definitely there.
I do still have to question if Dan-i REALLY went her whole life not realizing her best boy was super hot and talented and kind, but I am willing to suspend disbelief because I think she will be reassessing more than just the fact that he has chest muscles.
So, I went from watching just because it is Lee Jong Suk to watching for the side characters and publishing world setting to… episode stalking. And now I can’t wait for Netflix to post the next episode.
Perhaps a quote from the drama itself sums up the purpose of this post: “A book that inspires others may not always inspire you, but find a book that does.” So whether it is a drama your Kbesties are raving about (or ranting about), a best selling novel, or the hottest new band, you don’t have to feel obligated to love it too. We may not all love the same things, but the important thing is definitely to find what you do love.
So, there you have it. This is why I am still watching Romance is a Bonus Book (and why I almost walked away). Are you watching? Did you love it from the beginning or was it something that had to build over time? Comment below and let me know.
I’ll just be over here waiting for Netflix to refresh…
Until Next Time,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi