I just finished Life: An Exploded Diagram, by Mal Peet. Basic premise follows:
- Boy meets girl.
- Boy and girl are of radically different class backgrounds.
- It's 1960s England so this is super important to the adults and it's Romeo and Juliettish. (The main character's savvy best friend points this out early on. I liked that guy, and this book could've used more of him.)
- Boy and girl sneak around and make out a lot.
- The Cuban Missile Crisis just happens to be going on.
It's presented in a sort of zigzagged, out of order way. (Lots of asides about Kennedy and Khrushchev and the construction of various types of planes. Also, entire chapters switch from third to first person, which I didn't particularly like, and most of the dialogue is written in a thiiiiiick accent. Sort of like Hagrid, if Hagrid was speaking for 85% of an entire novel.)
Nevertheless, it brings up some interesting points. Like how not everything set in "historical times" has to really deal with the history going on. People live normal lives through, in this case, the imminent threat of nuclear warfare. The characters are teenagers, so they have a license to not care, and they're written that way. It's realistic, which I appreciate. (When have "current affairs" ever interfered with the personal lives of horny teens, really?)
Also, it gets about yay *flimsy gesture of measurement with hands* smutty. I don't know if it was all supposed to be arousing or artistic or solely for the sake of imagery or what. I'm not personally morally opposed or disturbed by it, nor am I all hot and flustered at the very prospect of smut, as the depraved SMeyer fan might be. I just found some of the lengthy paragraphs about the "ivory curvature of her breast" and how "they kissed as if they were running out of oxygen" (paraphrased examples) kind of tedious. (Overall, though, 6.5/10. Rating things makes them seem so much more official, doesn't it?)
Thoughts on "romantic" scenes in general?