This is such an unpopular opinion but I’m not really that disappointed with stories I read that doesn’t closely mirror real life, even for contemporary stories. For someone who views reading as a form of escape, I’d rather not see too much similarities. I don’t know, I always have thick line between what’s real life and what’s fiction. So no, I don’t believe in everything I read but I know which ones to enjoy, regardless.

It does not mean I don’t need some doses of realism on the stories I read. Sometimes I crave those kinds because those elements make it more relatable to me, especially when human emotions are portrayed. But somehow my brain process certain ways that make fictional aspects a little more acceptable compare to real life scenarios. I don’t think I like to end up with a bad boy as much as I liked reading about them. I don’t think it’s my subconscious telling me that I do but liking about it in an imaginary context and implementing the idea in my life is way too different.

But reading is always a personal thing, at least on most cases. We mostly critique the stories we read based on what we think; which is made of our prejudices, ideals, morals, etc. It is why I get people who favor books that are more realistic. For example, those who occasionally wants stories that do not always end in happily ever after; because life can bit be a harsh on us. But at the same time, I like unrealistic, fairytale type of ending. I think it also mirrors real life. People sometimes think the rawer, edgier are better. But people do get their happy ever after. And sometimes it nice to be reminded of good things even though it could sound far-fetched.

But it all boils down to how much it weighs on what readers’ want and how the person accepts it. Do you take everything you read by face value? How much does it influence you? If you like a character, do you seek a person that similar to it? The real question here is: how much do you want on the stories you read to be reflection of real life?

ETA: Another question for y’all: what things do you deem unrealistic?


12 Responses to How closely should fiction mirror real life?

  1. Faye M. says:

    I don’t really need my stories to mirror real life as in literally mirror real life… sometimes even the fantasy settings feel “relatable” because it’s mostly the human emotions and the human experiences that are more important, the rest are just details (although it’s always important that they should at least be feasible… unless it’s fantasy or paranormal, of course! We know vampires don’t exist!) . As long as there is human emotion, human feelings, and a plight that we all can relate to or at least somehow parallel what somebody in this world could be going through, that’s more than enough for me!

  2. In a way, I’m a little selfish. When I read stories about hot guys who go for girls with “bikini bodies, perfect smiles and caring attitudes” it lowers my self esteem for whatever reason. i need to read a mix of stories where someone like me can be the main character while I can still read about a bunch of personality types. And I think that’s what really reflects real life. The diversity of what can happen. A lot of the things that happen, you wouldn’t believe so I hate saying, “this isn’t realistic” because a bunch of things happen to me where it isn’t realistic. For example: I’m in grade 7 piano with high 80’s% and I practice about an hour a week. If this were in a book, it would be dismissed as “unrealistic” and it is, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

  3. Reading in itself is a very subjective experience, and like Nova pointed out, I think the level of reality is also subjective. Everyone’s definition of ‘realistic’ differs a little. For instance, reading about midnight curfews, they’re definitely not realistic to me (or most Indian kids, for that matter), but from what I read/see/hear it’s pretty standard in other parts of the world.

    But I think there’s also something to be said for stories that aren’t all that realistic. Sometimes, they’re just what you need atm. Be it to lift your spirits and realise that there are worlds different from yours, or to simply revel in a haze of too sweet happily-ever-afters.

    But that is not to say that I DON’T find some things way too unrealistic and just have to roll my eyes. Eg: instalove

    But basically, I don’t mind a bit of veering off from reality :).

  4. i certainly don’t mind if the story doesn’t reflect real life, as long as i can understand and relate to the character. the story could be about a super star celebrity, an alien, or supernatural creature, all of which i’m certainly not, but i could and would still love it as long as i agree with his or her morals and relate to it. in my opinion, you don’t need to be similar to someone or something to understand it 🙂

  5. Shannelle says:

    I’m not really specific, because it all boils down to how the book made me feel. If I close the book feeling really happy with it, I’m not going to care if it was realistic. Case in point, Anna and the French Kiss. But if I didn’t like it, it might end up becoming the reason why I didn’t like it.

  6. Jordon says:

    I think the same thing! I really don’t like reading books that mirror real life, it hits too close to home and, just like you, I read to escape real life. This is why I usually love paranormal romance, fantasy and science fiction more than contemporary or chick lit. Sometimes, well most of the time, I just can’t handle a down to earth book. It also makes me feel like I’m missing out on things in life… Which is a bit weird don’t you think?

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