When it comes to fiction how should toxic relationships be handled? Is it okay to portray toxic relationships How can we avoid glorifying Teacher x Student or other toxic dynamics, and is it important to try to avoid that? How do you feel about abusive relationships in fiction? What about in adult dark romance?
I’m not usually one for romance novels and while I have come across some representations of toxic relationships in the genres I do read, it’s hardly the central point of the story. That said, if the dynamic is part of the story, as long as the author handles it in a sensitive manner, and actually brings to the reader’s attention how bad things really are without glorifying or romanticizing it, it can be a good thing. People are influenced by what they read to greatly varying extents, but this can be a great way to educate readers about the dangers of toxic relationships. It’s absolutely essential to avoid glorifying such toxic dynamics which are not only unhealthy, but also illegal in the case of student/teacher relationships.
Personally though, I’ve never seen the appeal in these kinds of books. I don’t like reading about abusive relationships and this largely ties into last week’s topic about how mental health relates to reading books. Reading is a method of relaxation for me, so I try to avoid books that delve into such disturbing themes even if the purpose might be to show how someone gets out of such a relationship. I can’t speak for adult dark romance as it’s not a genre I’ve ever ventured into, but generally speaking I am uncomfortable reading books that touch upon these topics and that is a large part of why I believe books should have trigger and content warnings, so that the reader is forewarned and can avoid them if needed.
How do you think books should handle toxic relationships? Share your thoughts in the comments below!