Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's Hear it for the Unloved


Love’s a b!tch, and then you die.

Okay—maybe not the most eloquent way to put it—but it seems as good a way as any to describe unrequited love. Sure, maybe it’s not as tactful as the “walking wounded” label Nancy Myers once gave to people suffering from the affliction, and it’s not as romantic as Lloyd Dobler holding up a ghetto blaster and blaring “In Your Eyes” (though I suppose that wasn’t exactly unrequited). Still, I think the sentiment accurately reflects reality: there is very little that’s lovely about unrequited love.

I was well acquainted with the condition in high school (wasn’t everyone?) and I sure as heck don’t recommend it.

And yet...

If I’m completely honest...

It’s one of my favorite plot devices. Give me a decently developed character who’s pining and I’m glued to the page or screen. How else can you explain the fact that I’ve watched The Holiday 36 times (please don’t actually try to explain it, I’m actually a little embarrassed) and have Some Kind of Wonderful memorized. Or the fact I didn’t want to read anything for an hour after finishing “Quiz Bowl Antichrist” by David Leviathan because I wanted to hang onto the story for a little while longer. Heck, I sometimes wonder if the reason I so loved Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns is that John Green’s MCs seem like male versions of high school me—forming attachments that are doomed to never really materialize.

So my question for you, this week, brave YA lovers is: What do you think about unrequited love? Do you like movies and books where one character is secretly pinning for another? Any great books or movies you’d recommend?

And I'm throwing in a Jann Arden video because Living Under June was my seventeen-year-old self's unrequited soundtrack.




Photo by Gabriela Camerotti

9 comments:

LeishaMaw said...

It's great, as long as I'm safe inside a book or movie. It stinks if it's in real life. Maybe that's why we like it when we read or watch it, it gives us a chance to safely experience those emotions in an environment that usually has a happy ending. Life, not so much. :)

Bee said...

One of my favourite themes actually. One reason why I never get tired of watching Never Been Kissed *gulps*

Erinn said...

The best example EVER of unrequited love is the first four season of the West Wing. Josh and Donna had a best banter and truly loved each other.
Season 5 sort of sucked and 6 was ok.

lavenderlines said...

I'm a big fan of unrequited love that works out in the end. (BTW Some Kind of Wonderful? Best 80s teen flick, IMO.)

When I was younger and dealing with my own unrequited love(s), I think it gave me a sense of hope to see movie and book characters yearn for someone and then finally get them. God knows it wasn't happening in my real life. LOL

Mel said...

unrequited love always keeps me turning pages b/c I want to know if they will ever get together. In real life, it almost never works out. John Green somehow manages to make it real And satisfying (Paper Towns is my favorite).

Lydia Sharp said...

I love it, but it can be annoying if not done well.

Melody said...

I love them, but only when they finally realize they're perfect for each other. Otherwise, I'm sad.

Debra Driza said...

Spike and Buffy, Spike and Buffy!

Siiighhhhh...

Seriously, tho, I feel like unrequited love is one of the BEST ways to keep a reader turning pages/tuning in week after week. Bc we all live for that little bit of HOPE that it will finally work out!

J.S. Wood said...

Unrequited love is great in books and movies and like Deb said, it's something to keep the reader/viewer coming back for more. I do like resolution though and a happy ending.