Adam and Carly - Romantic or Dangerously Romanticized?

Use this forum to discuss the February 2020 Book of the month, "Opaque" by Calix Leigh-Reign
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Aquilis
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Re: Adam and Carly - Romantic or Dangerously Romanticized?

Post by Aquilis »

Yeah, I wasn't a fan at all of Adam and the way he acted with Carly. I think it took the worst parts of the twlighlight romance and tried to make it seem like a loving relationship. Unhealthy at best, dangerous at worst for the younger readers who pick it up and think this is what a normal relationship looks like.
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Post by leximutia »

In my opinion, Adam was not entirely mentally healthy. He had already displayed tendencies towards obsessiveness and sociopathy, and his intense fixation / sudden infatuation towards Carly certainly should not be normalized or seen as some sort of relationship goal.

On top of that, he, although inadvertently, played a role in the death of a girl, who he had abducted and restrained in his Den, where he kept weapons, sex toys, cameras, photos of his mother, and other disturbing items. Carly's easy willingness to forget this and "accept" him bothered me a lot.

For this relationship dynamic between Carly and Adam alone, perhaps, this book should not have been aimed at young adults.
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Post by JohnKasha »

Adam and Carly relationship was too toxic from the start and they had barely known each other...this makes it amiss for me! The relationship should have been a bit developed .
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Post by TheNeouReader »

I am so glad there are tons of other people on here with the same thought-process haha. When I was in highschool, I probably would've adored the book and thought oh Adam is just a damaged boy. But I am an adult and no! Absolutely not is Adam a good love interest. His relationship with Carly is so toxic. I cannot comprehend how such a strong woman POC can just forgive Adam for everything he has done, especially without discussion. Yet again a woman character cleaning up a young boy's act at the expense of her self.
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Post by Harty »

My take is Adam's obsession with Carly can only be described as infatuation for her power and hence superficial. That's why he can afford to worship her as he does withing a short time after knowing her.
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Post by NatRose »

I agree with seemingly everyone here. This was the worst part of the book for me. The trope of a girl loving and "fixing" a damaged boy is so dangerous especially for readers who are young enough to not know better. Also, we never saw the two of them develop a relationship in a healthy manner. First was Adam's obsession and then their synced cores or whatever seemed to force them together as if they had no choice.
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Post by Kishor Rao »

Yes. But I consoled myself that their cores are connected and they are supposed to act in such a way. Now that you've pointed it out, it was Dangerously romanticized
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Post by edztan15 »

It is a toxic relatonship. Kind of reminds me a little of the relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn.
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Post by Zoe Luh »

Nym182 wrote: 06 Feb 2020, 10:37 One of the biggest issues I had with this book was the relationship between Adam and Carly. It is my opinion that their relationship was dangerously romanticized.

Adam becomes obsessed with Carly almost immediately. Even though he has only known her for a month or so, he is willing to die for her.

He also expresses his "love" for her in a dangerous ways. He washes her shower and becomes overly protective of her, even though her powers are stronger and she has more experience with them than he does. In addition, he eavesdrops on her private conversation at least 3 times and I don't feel like the author portrayed that as being a bad thing to do.

While I acknowledge that young love can be strong and passionate, I don't think a book aimed at teenagers should be taught or normalize these types of actions/feelings.
I agree with you! Their relationship was textbook abuse and it's really freaky to me that it was romanticized. I've been seeing dangerous relationships being romanticized so much lately and it's terrifying! I was in an abusive relationship and thought so many things are normal because of the way romance is portrayed in media. It's really concerning to me that this book romanticizes Adam, especially because it's meant to be for a younger adult audience
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Post by Zee_Zee »

Aquilis wrote: 02 Apr 2020, 04:27 Yeah, I wasn't a fan at all of Adam and the way he acted with Carly. I think it took the worst parts of the twlighlight romance and tried to make it seem like a loving relationship. Unhealthy at best, dangerous at worst for the younger readers who pick it up and think this is what a normal relationship looks like.
You are right. Younger readers would be misled and give into the thought of this being a norm for a standard relationship. That's why I wouldn't recommend this book to young readers. The relationship between Adam and Carly can be described as toxic. Absolutely dangerously Romanticized!
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Post by Sumansona1344 »

AntonelaMaria wrote: 07 Feb 2020, 16:24
Nym182 wrote: 06 Feb 2020, 10:37 One of the biggest issues I had with this book was the relationship between Adam and Carly. It is my opinion that their relationship was dangerously romanticized.

Adam becomes obsessed with Carly almost immediately. Even though he has only known her for a month or so, he is willing to die for her.

He also expresses his "love" for her in a dangerous ways. He washes her shower and becomes overly protective of her, even though her powers are stronger and she has more experience with them than he does. In addition, he eavesdrops on her private conversation at least 3 times and I don't feel like the author portrayed that as being a bad thing to do.

While I acknowledge that young love can be strong and passionate, I don't think a book aimed at teenagers should be taught or normalize these types of actions/feelings.
This I would definitely describe as a toxic relationship. He goes from one obsession - his mother to another- Carly.
Same. Firstly, I didn't see it as toxic but it kept bothering me. He was obsessed in a way which might be toxic for Carly.
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Post by Zoe Luh »

Nym182 wrote: 08 Feb 2020, 12:46
gilliansisley wrote: 07 Feb 2020, 14:24 Oh. My. Gosh.

This was my absolute biggest pet peeve. And this is supposed to be for young, pre-pubescent readers, ages 11-17? HELL NO.

Their relationship is unhealthy as hell, but it's portrayed as totally normal, which is wildly dangerous. I liked Carly as a character, but completely detested Adam.

Apart from the most obvious concerning things going on in their relationship in general, the time when I was actually most upset was when Carly describes finding the Den. She describes how disturbed she is by the pictures of JoAnn, and the journal, and all that. She's overwhelmed, and yet she says "This isn't the time to be a weak little girl and run away". So she burns down the Den.

Yes. Because apparently, thinking your boyfriend is sick and perverted is WEAK. Because STRONG girls find evidence of their boyfriend having a f*cking scary-ass torture Den in the middle of the woods with CHLOROFORM, and WEAPONS, and SEX TOYS which "make it obvious what this structure was meant to be used for", and they burn down all of the evidence to protect their sociopathic, murderous and possessive boyfriend.

What an absolutely horrific message to give to young, impressionable girls.

And after burning down the Den, Carly says something along the lines of, "Adam deserves a fresh start, and I'm going to give it to him. He's made mistakes, but he's still a really good guy. I'm going to dedicate my life to healing and fixing him."

Horrifying. Truly, truly, disturbing. This is NOT a healthy example for how a relationship should be. If you find out your BF kidnapped and murdered (by accident, but still) some innocent girl just because he was uncontrollably horny, you take that sh*t straight to the police. You don't destroy evidence and cover it up in the name of "love".

In all honesty, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a guy who sexually assaulted me, and this book was a trigger for me. Red flags everywhere. There are points in the book where Adam says, "I'm not a monster", and I was in my reading chair saying, "YES YOU ARE, you psychopath!".
Say it a little louder for those in the back!!!

You are 110% right about this!

Love and relationships are confusing enough to try to figure out in high school (sh*t, I am 30 and married and it's still complicated!). Carly's actions really seem that of someone who is in an abusive relationship... the covering up, the 2nd/3rd/4th chances, the justification... And this is what love is between Carly and Adam... And at no point does the author seem to acknowledge back a$$wards.

It's not ok to give a rapist/killer (I'm pretty comfortable saying that he probably would have gone down that path) a fresh start because you have made your own mistakes (I think she also says something like "I'm not perfect" CRINGE) And this is supposed to be romantic?

I also kept stopping throughout the book to think "are we just ignoring the fact that he is a psychopath?'

omg and the scene when he goes into the bathroom to watch Carly shower and wash herself? That part creeped me out so much!
yes! thank you!!! Carly definitely acted like someone in an abusive relationship and I don't feel like the author does anything that would let young readers reflect on how messed up their relationship is! Young readers are soooo impressionable and I really think it's dangerous for them to read stuff like this that romanticizes abuse
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Zoe Luh
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Post by Zoe Luh »

Drakka Reader wrote: 27 Feb 2020, 13:51 It is dangerously romanticized for sure. I hate bringing this up for anything but it honestly feels like Twilight. Book aimed at young adults that shows a near abusive relationship like it's a good thing? That's both these books!

Really, the moment it starts to become "She can love the evil out of him" it have become kinda abusive and wrong.
Yeah I completely agree. I feel like this book was creepier than Twilight, but they both definitely romanticized the hell out of terrible relationships. As soon as you bring in the idea of "fixing" someone's abusive behavior or saying it's okay cause she made mistakes too there's no going back. So messed up
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Post by sirbobthewise »

Absolutely right on-board with this topic and line of thinking. Adam was dangerously possessive of Carly, and both of them from the very beginning were super dependent. This only escalated as the relationship went on. And it seems like this book really played into the whole idea of "Oh, he'll/she'll change," or "I'll help him/her change," and let that be the rationale behind why someone should stick around in a toxic relationship.

While I totally get the author was showing the growth of Adam from this depressed and deeply-wounded guy to a more well-round human being, I don't like the impression that the scenario might give young adults. While there are exceptions to the rule and some people do change, it's always my stand-by to believe that they are not the exception and that if you are in a toxic relationship, you should get out.
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Post by jdsatosk »

I kept waiting for the huge blow up where all of these issues came up. What I got was a very calm ... and naked in bed together ... conversation. I was torn. Okay so Adam is finally telling her - in a calm and safe manner, where they both feel comfortable and vulnerable. But, how strange and disturbing that Carly has known or had an inkling of what happened for a long time and said nothing. I feel that it is overly generous of her to assume that he gets a complete pass for his past and only should be judged on his actions with her. She has the advantage of literally being able to see the change in him from dark to light, but it still doesn't feel right. I guess it doesn't feel right because that isn't a benefit that regular girls get with regular guys. So to take that forgiveness and apply it to a real relationship that looks like this one... would probably end badly for the girl.
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