Dear Ms. Cass,
I am writing to tell you how thoroughly I enjoyed your book “The Selection.” I work at a university library, and this week we had to go through our ancient physical card catalogue and confirm that we did, indeed, have records in the online database for every card, before we recycle them for good. I find I need engrossing fiction to listen to in order to perform this task without losing my mind, and your novel did the trick. I am excited to finish the series (as soon as I can get them. The hold list is lengthy).
What I really want to compliment you for is your portrayal of Macsen. I love that his primary trait is being overwhelmingly kind. Tender boys often get the short stick in popular media, being eschewed for heroes whose only recommendation is their James Dean- or Paul Newman-esque cool factor. I enjoyed learning about Macsen, just as much as I enjoyed learning about Prince Char in Ella Enchanted, or Kent McFuller in Before I Fall. Thank you so much for writing a romantic hero I feel like I can admire. I feel like I love Macsen for all the “right” reasons: For his kindness and his willingness to promote social change. For his tender honesty and shyness. This is in stark contrast to the reasons I love other heroes (say, for instance, Tony Stark) and I think it helps me respect my husband more to be kindly led to love a quiet (uncool?) guy in my recreational reading.
I don’t know if you are really promoting the idea of kinder men as the ideal mate, or treating boys as humans instead of a means to an end (whether that end be financial security, social status, or emotional comfort), but I feel that America’s actions are believable and that readers seeing her relationship may reconsider their own relationships to see if they are based friendship or not. My husband and I were friends for a long time before we were romantically interested in each other, and I am constantly surprised by how WRONG Hollywood gets this true love business.
Before I got married, I believed that love was found by pursuing an experience of attraction to see if there was compatibility and mutual interest (and that does work sometimes!), but for me love was found through recognizing and respecting the efforts of a friend to take care of me when he saw I needed it, and from that effort came respect, appreciation and trust. All of these things compounded to build a super-stable relationship that I will rely on for the rest of my life.
I don’t know if that is the direction you are taking this series, but I wanted to comment on the pattern that I saw in this novel, to raise my (proverbial?) hand, and to say that I know that song you are singing, and I wish everyone did.
I don’t think it is your job as an author to write heroes we admire or to critique societal patterns, but I do think that when I see an implicit critique of machismo and society’s overt fascination with a fairytale romance, I want to laud it.
Thank you for your book and for your insights. I root for these characters because I see myself in them.
Yours, a thoroughly satisfied reader,