Just like the name says, Romance is a Bonus Book. It doesn’t always need to be an epic love story with happy endings and butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes it’s just about two people that are perfect for each other, even if they don’t know it yet. However that might not be the case here. I really do not know as I haven’t reached that point yet :). Anyway, this blog post will cover my latest Netflix obsession which is the Korean drama Romance is a Bonus Book.
I’ve never really been one to follow Korean drama series. They have been on TV for several years where I live, however most were set in the past or contain way too many outlandish elements, none of which really called to me. However, in recent years Netflix started adding a lot of Asian series. Since I spend way too much time watching TV (cause I have nothing better to do…being sarcastic obviously) and go through the shows way too fast, from time to time I struggle to find something to entertain myself with. When I saw the trailer for Romance is a Bonus Book, I was hooked so I decided to give the Korean series a go.
Romance is a Bonus book is my latest obsession as I’ve mentioned in the intro. The show takes place in a modern, contemporary setting and the plot lines are super relatable. The best part though is that the series is centred around books. Beside what promised to be a cute love story, one of the themes of the series is books so that obviously caught my attention straight away. You should know just how much I love books! There haven’t been many series over the years that focused on books and none quite like this one, as far as I recall. The Korean drama Romance is a Bonus Book even takes place at a publishing company! Unfortunately this also exposed me to aspects of the publishing industry I wish I had not seen, but also bits and pieces of the publishing industry I was not so familiar with. It was interesting to find out something new.
Let’s talk a bit about the plot. I will do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum. The protagonist of the story is a divorced, ex copywriter who dedicated her life to her daughter and husband. After her husband has had enough and was tired of struggling to put food on the table after his business dealings failed, he leaves his wife and family for another woman. As such, Dan-i is forced to return to work in order to take care of herself and keep her daughter in school. However, nothing is ever easy and going back to work after a long gap is even less so. We live in a world where ageism is a thing and it seems that this aspect is even more emphasised in asian culture. When there is so much fresh blood why hire someone who has a family, who has responsibilities and is considered to not have the same ability to work long hours as someone who just finished school. Basically think The Second Act without J. Lo and in Korea, but unlike J. Lo, Dan-i is forced to accept menial jobs and in the end takes up a position below her level of education.
Mind you, drama is not even the right word to describe the trauma that Dan-i has to endure. It is truly heartbreaking what Dan-i has to endure to get her life back on track, however it is also endearing and empowering. The thing is that the events are presented in a relatable manner rather than making them seem too dramatic or soap-opera like. What I am trying to get at is that the events are not presented in a cringe way.
Despite being willing to do whatever it takes to survive and to ensure that her daughter is able to benefit from a good education, Dan-i ultimate help comes from her childhood best friend who works as a redactor en chief at a publishing house. Not only does Dan-i learn about an opening within his company, but even before that, she pretended to be the person she hired for him to help around the house while he was at work. Wow, that sounded weird, but here is where the first elements of comedy come in as he did not realise that it was Dan-i who acted as his housekeeper.
I won’t tell you more about the plot . I wouldn’t want to spoil the show for you. What I will leave you with is a few thoughts on some aspects that I found particularly interesting or relatable.
The series itself acts as a reminder that there are books that make us laugh, that brings us joy, but also books that will make us cry, feel sorrow however all of them regardless of gender take us on an adventure and can also open our eyes and minds to issues that we otherwise would have never been exposed too. There is a whole universe or rather an infinite number of universes waiting to be discovered in books. It also emphasis an idea we rarely hear: it is okay to not love a book even though someone else loves it. Just grab another one, both metaphorically and physically.
There will be books we will cherish above all others, books that keep us company throughout the chapters of our lives and books that gain a different meaning each time we read them. Dan-i is also reminded of this fact and as such she decided to revisit the book that she cherished the longest, the book that kept her company and kept her warm without hesitation and without expectations whenever she needed. This time however, the phrases she highlighted over the years gain a completely different meaning as she finally learns to read in-between the lines and uncovers all the things she missed. You will definitely make more sense of what I am saying here once you start watching the series.
What I also loved is the idea that not just our own lives are formed of various books – some sad, some happy, some empowering etc, all of which symbolise the stages of our life, the events we go through, but that people themselves are like a book. So fall in love with someone who is like a book, a book that brings you warmth, that brings you joy and one that you can rely on. Fall in love with a book that you look forward to rereading time and time again and one that will continue to surprise you and gain a different meaning each time you open it. Which brings us back to the series title – Romance is a Bonus Book. Romance is not something we absolutely need to experience in our lives (depends on who you are asking…), but it is a bonus that some will be fortunate to find. If you do find it, cherish it.
I am not a writer however I do hope that I managed to give a satisfactory explanation and make the ideas come across as intended. All of the above definitely sounded way better in my head than it did on paper, but please do not let it deter you from enjoying the tv series. Romance is a Bonus Book is truly a beautiful story filled with some great reflection worthy material.
The soundtrack is up to par as well with some songs I now have downloaded onto my phone. The artists are incredible and I look forward to exploring more of their work. Another thing I do wish to mention is that the songs fit the story incredibly well and add just a tiny bit more to the whole setting, but are not there to compensate for anything. Think of the songs like the sprinkles on top of a sundae.
The one thing I am sorry about which is by no means anyone’s fault other than my own, is potentially missing some of the cultural nuances that I am unfamiliar with. However, for the most part any such aspects are explained on the show quite well even if not necessarily through words so any viewer regardless of background is able to grasp them. Plus at its core, the show is all about love in its various forms and love is a universal language.
Beyond the beautiful story which I am sure that will stay with me for a while, Romance is a Bonus Book is also a great way to start immersing yourself in this type of TV series. This particularly story was incredibly retable, light for the most part or at least presented in a light way if we are going to be accurate here, but also meaningful. I am not yet sure whether this type of series is representative for K-drama, but it did make me want to continue to explore further and see whether I can find another gem such as this one.
This was an odd discussion, wasn’t it? I haven’t found myself so affected by a series or book in a long time. It came out of nowhere and it all started from watching a cute trailer that more or less popped up in front of my eyes while browsing Netflix. I am glad that I have spent 16 or so hours watching the series though as it brought up some interesting aspects and questions that I need to consider. Also, watching the series left me with a sense of calm, of joy, as odd as it may sound. Yes, I did end up watching all the episodes and do wish there were more, but it is alright. Knowing
I have no idea whether I managed to successfully convey my thoughts and feelings about the TV Series, but I hope that I have. I definitely recommend that you give the show a go, if you do not enjoy it, you can always find another one, one that brings you as much joy as Romance is a Bonus Book has done for me.
Let me know in the comments what you think of the series and whether you will give it a go, if you haven’t already.
*This article is not sponsored. This article contains affiliate links which means that Cafebiblioart might receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make any purchases by clicking the links included in this article. Thank you for your support. It is you that keep us going