Reassessing Romance is a Bonus Book

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,

Kdrama Jen

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

10 thoughts on “Reassessing Romance is a Bonus Book

  1. Thing is, that when you’ve got this friend from childhood (I gather he was a kid when she first met him, and she definitely acted as his big sis from the start) and you therefore have never even considered him as anything else, you ALSO get the idea HE isn’t thinking of YOU as anything more. It’s extremely difficult and intimidating for people to go outside their comfort zone. HE of course is terrified of losing her, and if he admits he’s always had this crush on her (that, yes, has developed into love), then he fears she’ll distance herself from him and he will lose her completely.
    I fully understand this.

    • I am enjoying the way they have explained this through a book metaphor. It is not the book that has changed; it is that the reader changed. Loving the book love from this show!

  2. These were my thoughts too! From the “What happened to his face?” To the “But it’s Jong Suk and I will watch him in anything” and “Dani is so annoying!” to second lead syndrome and ” I want to be part of that work family! (isn’t the new employee guy so adorable) “. I was worried after reading comments about the writer and how others were passing on it because of that. I ‘m so glad I stuck it out through the first episode. I should have known Jong Suk wouldn’t fail me!

    • The writer does have a tendency to load everyone up with baggage, but I am not seeing that this time. Of course, we still have plenty of episodes to go, but I am optimistic now. I am glad others stuck with it too!

  3. Actually, I like his new face. I don’t know what he did, but now it looks more balanced?
    I really like the pace of this drama, the fact that we don’t have EVIL people, just people with problems, the pace and that they talk and show paper books.
    I’m fully invested in the main couple and in the possible secondary ones.

    • I am not even noticing the change now! I also love that there are no evil people out to destroy others with no clear motivation. I just want to sit back and watch people who love books fall in love or work through their problems. I am fully invested in all of the relationships.

  4. I am really glad you stuck with this one Kdramajen. I liked it from episode 1. I am definitely hooked now. This drama is certainly bringing back my love of books. I love it.

    • I am too! I am really enjoying it. I love the book whispering component. I think it reminded many of us of old friends on our bookshelves. I love how deep the show gets into our relationships with books. It just makes me feel so warm and happy.

  5. I am really glad that Kdrama Jen stuck with it because that meant I kept feeling like I should come back to it too. I am in love with the literary references, and seeing the behind the scenes of the publishing company. The four leads are paring off very nicely in the later episodes too. I love all the characters and I’m invested in all of their stories. I also have to give praise for having a queer couple in the show and not making a big deal out of it or making fun of them. They’re just like any other couple the writer has shown. They aren’t a huge plot point, but it still feels important.

  6. I still don’t find the leads as romantic couple material…and JS looks are not of my liking. (too feminine) But I’ll keep watching because of the theme in general, the other characters and mere curiosity at this point.

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