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Virgin River Fans Share A Shocking Unpopular Opinion

We are currently three seasons deep in "Virgin River" (with a fourth season possibly on the way), which means viewers have already watched a decent amount of drama occur on the Netflix series. Whether it's multiple surprise pregnancies, or an accidental murder, or a tricky love triangle, or even a shocking car crash, the residents living in the small Northern California town of Virgin River have seen more than their fair share of jaw-dropping action go down. And yet, the most dramatic event to have occurred within the "Virgin River" universe might not have happened onscreen, but rather with fans of the show who have seemingly bonded over an unpopular opinion about the show.

At first blush, it's hard to believe "Virgin River" could stir up an unpopular opinion. Created by Sue Tenney and adapted from the 22-book "Virgin River" series written by Robyn Carr, the Netflix series focuses on Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge), a Los Angeles-based nurse who suddenly uproots her life and move to a new town following the death of her unborn child and later, the sudden death of her husband. Mel quickly becomes entangled in the daily melodramas that unfold in the hamlet of Virgin River as she heals her broken heart. There's a new love interest for Mel in restaurant owner Jack (Martin Henderson), new friends to be made through her work at the local doctor's office, and plenty of space to heal. The stakes of "Virgin River" never feel so dire that it would break the spell of what is generally a pleasant show, albeit somewhat unrealistic. In fact, problems are solved as quickly as they arise, and while some of those problems are genuinely surprising, characters always find a solution. What results is a Lifetime-esque show that feels easy to watch with minimal complaints. 

So, what is it about "Virgin River" that has fans sharing unpopular opinions on a "Virgin River" Reddit forum?

Virgin River fans agree that the books are irrelevant to their enjoyment of the show

It turns out that when it comes to the "Virgin River" book series the show is based on, fans of the Netflix should don't care about them one bit. Fans bonded over not caring one iota about Carr's books series when Reddit user thesugarsoul first posted the unpopular opinion in July. TheSugarSoul began by stating point-blank that, despite plenty of "Virgin River" Reddit users discussing the books in relation to the show, they do not care about the books. The Redditor went on to explain that, "I got into this show because it looked like an easygoing series that resembled a Hallmark movie," and continued later in the post with, "I don't care about how the series is different from the books. I've even been slightly spoiled by threads that discuss what happened in the books that eventually happens in the show."

Surprisingly, commenters on TheSugarSoul's post were in agreement. For many, it seems that reading or even being familiar with Carr's book series was not a factor in their enjoyment of the Netflix adaptation. In fact, multiple commenters found common ground over their belief the books were not well written. As such, investing time in reading the books to better appreciate or understand the show was not a priority. In fact, Reddit user ChocChipBananaMuffin replied to the original post with, "I tried to read the first one after season 1 because it was free on Prime, and I stopped after the first chapter because the writing was poor and there were a lot of tropes about the "inner city" crammed into the few paragraphs I read that turned me off." 

And they weren't the only one to chime in.

The Virgin River fans might be on to something when it comes to ignoring the books

Another Redditor, itsmegeez added, "My unpopular opinion is that you're not missing anything by not caring about them. They're bog standard semi ok written romance novels. They're nothing spectacular yet to some people you'd think we were dealing with Austen level writing. They're mediocre at best."

In an equally telling comment, user Flutegarden expressed agreement while also pragmatically pointing out that "shows and movies often vary drastically and people get disappointed. If you expect it to be like the books you'll always be disappointed."

Although this "Virgin River" fan opinion might be a shocking one, they might actually be onto something here. As we've seen from the first few seasons, the Netflix adaptation of Carr's books made some drastic changes in order to amp up the drama with many of its lead characters. Among the most notable changes made from the books is the circumstances around the death of Mel's husband and the show's toning down of all the sexual content in the books. Also, as the other comments on TheSugarSoul's post rightfully point out, the nature of adapting a book into a TV show means changes to the story will occur. As such, there is no real need to dig into the "Virgin River" books unless you want to do so. 

Plus, the show's writers having made those key changes from the books as they adapted "Virgin River" arguably opens the show up to go in new storytelling directions, and thus intrigue readers even further. What's not to like about that?