This Drama Queen Hates Drama

Recently a few books have reminded me that I really hate drama. Because I reviewed a few of these books, I wanted to write this post to clarify why I dislike drama, and why that doesn’t mean that a book I disliked for the drama is a bad book. Because my opinions about drama are just that, my opinions.

The first thing you need to know is that I dislike drama in books (and other media as well). As a general rule, I like happy fluffy books. Now you may be thinking, “But Malka, don’t you want there to be conflict or a plot or some story in your books?” And my answer is absolutely not! Last year for my birthday, my friend wrote me a short story that was pure fluff and cuteness with zero plot as a present, because she knew how hard it is for me to find those kinds of books. I can be okay with minor inconveniences, but generally, I don’t like when major drama occurs in books.

dramatic drama GIF

There are several reasons why I feel this way. The first is that I don’t like getting stressed out and anxious because of a book I’m reading.ย I know many bloggers and readers love talking about books that make them feel a certain way. Many people enjoy when they are stressed out or in pain for a character!ย  But I am not one of those people. I cannot handle a book when it gets too stressful. I will physically put a book down if it is stressing me out too much. This means that I many times put down a book for hours, and sometimes even days in the middle of an important battle scene or otherwise impactful (read: stressful) moment. Most people want to continue reading to find out what happens next! To see if everything ends up okay! But I force myself to take a step away until my emotions get under control. I have enough in my life that stresses me out, I don’t need to take on the burden of a character’s emotion as well.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t read much fantasy or hard-hitting contemporaries. I physically cannot handle all the emotions that the characters go through. In most fantasy books the story is optimized for maximum drama. There are lots of reveals and plot twists and other sorts of devices that build tension. Characters tend to go through awful experiences in order to maximize their pain, and I don’t like reading about characters in pain! WHY CAN’T EVERYONE BE HAPPY ALWAYS? I much prefer character driven books which don’t focus on drama as much. And if it does, it’s usually in a more drawn out way where I don’t have to worry that my emotions will ricochet all over the place as I read.

comic con glee GIF

My response when I’m expected to handle a character’s drama

Which brings me back to my point about drama. See there are books where I understand that there is drama. I do sometimes read hard-hitting and dramatic books. I’ve even read many dramatic fantasies. (Although writing this post is helping me solidify my decision to read less fantasy in the future.) But I like when drama and pain and emotion is purposeful. And of course, I happen to have very high standards for what purposeful is. So if I think that dramatic scene is placed into a book just to wreck with my emotions and to make a character’s life miserable, I don’t appreciate that. If the drama seems natural to the story, then I’m less likely to take issue, because that’s just how life is. And so I might be okay with the drama.

I am not okay with using emotions and drama as a plot device, however. There are many plot devices and tropes that are there to create drama and emotion and I do not appreciate it. Miscommunication causes drama, fake (and impermanent) deaths create drama. (At the current moment I’m just thinking ofย  Romeo and Juliet which embodies ALL THE DRAMA.) If I think that any form of drama is contrived or unnecessary I immediately take issue with it.

can you not stop GIF by John Crist Comedy

Me when I come across drama in a book

Since there are some books with drama that I’ve enjoyed, I will sometimes take a chance. But I’m very picky. So if I’m reading a review or synopsis and see that a book has lots of drama or a roller coaster of emotions, I may be intrigued, but I probably won’t pick it up and read it. I’ve learned to take my emotions into account both so I have a higher chance of enjoying a book, but also because my mental health is important and I don’t want it to take a nose-dive because some character has everything going wrong in his or her life.

And there you have it! This whole long post is here to clarify my feelings on drama and to tell you that you may very well enjoy several books that I’ve given a lower rating because of said drama. If you ever see that mentioned in a review, now you know. It probably was just a case of it’s not you, it’s me.

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How do you feel about drama? What’s your favorite non-dramatic read? Do you like feeling all the emotions when you read?


18 thoughts on “This Drama Queen Hates Drama

  1. This is such an interesting post, I love it! I have to admit that I love drama, but when I’m in the right mood for it. I also can’t handle books that make me feel too stressed out and that’s why I avoid certain books or get to these books only when I’m in the right mindset -especially when it comes to books that are heavy on the emotions or handle some triggering topics. When I’m in the right mood though, I love a book that gives me all of the emotions and make me feel everything and, more often than not, these are the kind of books that end up being 5-stars reads to me, too! ๐Ÿ™‚
    That being said, you’re so right and it’s so important to put yourself and your own mental health and emotions first before getting to a book, no point in reading books that just make you feel all stressed out! ๐Ÿ™‚
    This is a great post! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I definitely hear that! There are times when I want a more emotional read as well, but I try to find emotional reads that arenโ€™t also stressful! I think I also have a lower tolerance for stress, so while some people like having one in every five books be emotionally gutting. Iโ€™m more than happy to go months without a heavy book! Iโ€™m so glad you enjoyed the post! โค

      Liked by 1 person

  2. GAH. YES. YES YES YES YES YES. Those super high stakes books with EVERYTHING hanging in the balance and a character’s life is going to be RUINED and they’re going to LOSE IT ALL IF-

    UGH. I spend every second of every day of my life living with that feeling (thank you SO much, anxiety disorder). I get needing conflict in a book- it’s not a story without some sort of conflict. But I don’t want the kind of conflict that makes me feel freaked out for the character, or that makes me want to whip out a paper bag and breath into it as I’m turning the pages. I’m probably already doing that anyway, I don’t need to do it more.

    This post sums up the way I feel about this topic SO perfectly. (And excuse my going Crazy Caps Lady all over your post, these are just some big feels I’ve got on this topic!!!)

    Liked by 1 person


      I agree that I probably wouldn’t be happy if there was never any conflict, but I like when it doesn’t cause me all the anxiety, as you put it. I think I go for conflict-less books after reading stressful stories. I go: “Okay, I’ve hit my quota of stress inducing books for the month. What’s the least stressful book I have on hand?” And then I go and read a romance or other fluffy contemporary or graphic novel where the conflict is set pretty low.

      I think I most dislike drama when I wasn’t expecting it because then it sets my balance of happy, fluffy books vs stressful books off balance. I’m so glad you found the post relatable! It took me a while to get the wording right to convey exactly how I feel about this issue!


  3. This is such an exciting post! Books with major stress and excitement and what ifs…

    Gah! I absolutely love it, and hate it, and love it, and hate it! I just get so confused because some books either fall short of the drama they set up, make it over dramatic and cringe to read or have so much suspense and NO RESOLUTION!?!? Which makes no sense!?! It’s fun to read books that tu at your strings, and make you invested in the characters, but not so much that I want to cry at every page because I am stressed!

    This is such a cool post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think I have super low threshold for what makes me stressed out. If I feel conflicted about how I feel about a dramatic book, I usually end up disliking it. Because how dare a book make me expend so much energy worrying over a character! But I also think that I use drama as a metric for how much I enjoy a book. If an author manages to make me enjoy a book and root for a character even though there’s drama, I know it’s a masterfully written book!

      Glad you enjoyed! ๐Ÿ˜Š


  4. You’re so adorable Malka!! My writing partner is just like you and its a struggle to get her to read anything that doesn’t fit her idea of purposeful drama too. She prefers murder mysteries and that’s that. Haaha but she wants to put our characters through the worst drama she can think of. It kind of makes me chuckle because I feel like I’ve had this same conversation with her. โค๏ธ Sounds like you are a slice of life reader. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t mind a bit of drama every now and then, but I definitely get what you mean! It can get stressful!
    I think the thing I don’t like is when the drama is a simple misunderstanding between characters that could easily be solved if they just communicated. That just stresses me out because it’s so easily fixed, and it’s frustrating to read when you know both sides of the situation!
    Great post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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