SATIRE: How I staged an intervention for my mother’s romance novel addiction


Illustration compiled by Nowshin Chowdhury

When Mama’s reading romance novels, the children know better than to interrupt.

My mother is a survivor. She survived the immense suffering from a severe disease that made her constantly and vigorously read obscene material throughout her entire days. This was an addiction. Her addiction. But after tough attention from her family, she was finally able to get past this illness and take control of her life again.

This obscene material, known by one of many street names like “Romance Novels” or “Mommy Porn,” came into being after British publisher Mills & Boon began peddling their first work of pure smut, “Arrows from the Dark” by Sophie Cole, to the unsuspecting public of 1909.

It was only a matter of time before millions of suburban housewives would become addicted to what most experts call 300 pages of sex.

My mother was especially affected. But the problem didn’t become apparent until she stopped talking at the dinner table in order to read her romance novels. It was as if a long-haired and bare-chested book cover model had taken her away from us.

It only got worse. I vividly recall my brothers and I accompanying her for a day of errands, bringing our favorite Red Hot Chili Peppers CD for the drive. But, before I could get the disc out of its case, we were suddenly bombarded at full volume with an audiobook description of the “throbbing member” of a Scottish highlander knight.

We were so young. So impressionable. And so innocent.

We finally knew we had to do something when we found strange amazon packages in the mail with Scottish kilts in our father’s size. She was trying to drag someone down with her into her hellish world of addiction. But we couldn’t let her.

The first step for anyone in this unfortunate position is to remain calm and make a plan. Speak with experts like the local librarian or whichever adolescent boy in the family spends most of his time “just browsing the internet” with his crotch hidden under his bed sheets. These are the people who can best direct this addiction to more suitable behaviors.

Once you’ve worked with these experts to develop the best treatment option, it’s best to understand the depth of the problem. Reading 35 pages of “50 Shades of Grey” before getting bored with it isn’t a problem. But throwing away precious photo albums to free up shelf space for a Nora Roberts collection is a major red flag.

Then you assemble an intervention team. This is a mixture of people who are personally touched by this addiction, (maybe a home-run scorer who looked up to see his mother buried in word porn,) and cold, hard analytical nerds that can present the facts clearly for the addict to understand.

Next, outline the consequences. You need to know what to do if you find anything from the soft-core Nicholas Sparks to the utterly obscene “Fanny Hill.” But make sure that if you tell her you’re never going to a book club with her again that you stand by it.

The last thing you have to do before the intervention is make sure you know exactly what to say. Now, don’t make it too wordy, it’s not like she’s reading Shakespeare here. Just make sure someone with the reading level of an eighth grader and the mind of a depraved sex-fiend can understand exactly what you have to say.

And finally, hold the intervention. Stand firm in your plan because she’s gonna try and play this off as “harmless” or “just for fun.” Don’t let her devalue the pain you’re going through when she says it’s what all her friends are reading. There is no excuse. You have to remind her of that.

The road to recovery can be a long and difficult one. But I can honestly say that it is worth every effort. Before the intervention, I hadn’t spoken to my mother in 11 months. But now I call her every day about the Pulitzer Prize-winning literary giants we share an interest in. I couldn’t be happier that she’s a part of our family again.