top ten tuesday:
ten characters you just didn’t click with
Hello and welcome to this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. This week we will be alienating one another by discussing which beloved literary characters we secretly didn’t like. Join me, won’t you?
Aristotle from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Ugh, I know. Everyone I know loved this book, and I wanted to love this book, too. But I just couldn’t connect with Aristotle. Ari’s philosophizing seemed like it was trying to be much deeper and more meaningful than it actually was. I just got bored with his story and his train of thought, and I felt like the book was taking a really long time to go absolutely nowhere.
Beautiful cover though!
Kathy H. from Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
It’s hard to discuss this book without going too much into the spoilers, but Kathy H. is sort of the standard personality-less every-girl who often crops up in contemporary fiction. No real personality traits except for “kind” and “quiet”, whose life is made more interesting by the more colorful people surrounding her. This book tackled such an interesting subject matter, but Kathy H. was just so basic that it was hard to root for her.
Kate from Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
I could (and did) go on and on about all the things I didn’t like about this book, but Kate is one of the biggest reasons. Her daughter, Amelia had a decent personality with some interesting tensions and issues. Kate, on the other hand…not so much. She’s just a little too perfect at everything. She’s a high-powered New York attorney but will also drop everything to be at her daughter’s side, and has never missed either an important deposition or a piano recital. Perfect characters just aren’t fun to read. Imperfections are what make characters (and real life people) interesting.
This is not the version of the book I had but LOOK HOW PRETTY THE COVER IS. I enjoyed this book for the most post, but my biggest hang-up — and the reason I ultimately decided not to read the sequel — was Evie, the main character. She starts off the book as a shallow, superficial young woman and ends the book as a shallow, superficial young woman. The back-story of her dead brother and heartbroken parents add some depth to her character and explain some of her acting out, but not enough to compensate for her unlikability.
Katey Kontent from Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Similar to Kate in Reconstructing Amelia, Katey Kontent (that’s her real name) is just a little too perfect to be worth caring about. The unfortunately-named Katey goes about her charmed life, climbing into the upper-echelons of 1930s New York society. She loves to party and drink, but is also a total bookworm and academic who will wax eloquent on Hemingway and Dickens and who enjoys writing out grammatical rules in her spare time. She is always prepared with a snappy retort and a fabulous outfit. She suffers from the ‘too perfect’ phenomena of female main characters. In an attempt to make her likable, Towles makes her flawless. Who can click with flawless?
James and Marilyn Lee in Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This book is definitely one of my biggest disappointments of 2015. James and Marilyn are ridiculously, unrealistically selfish and horrible. There are no other dimensions to either parent — they’re defined only in their single-minded obsession with their favorite daughter, Lydia. They ignore their other children and each other in entirely unrealistic ways. Ng really, really wants us to understand their psychology so she gives us example after example of the parents pushing their own desires on their daughter. She keeps telling us the same thing over and over, and it never advances the story. I ended up just feeling angry and bored.
This book was a big disappointment in general, but having three rotating narrators — none of which are any fun, at all — made this book almost unreadable. None of them provided any insight or humor to the events surrounding them. This book had such potential to be a great YA thriller, but all three narrative voices just fell flat.
Again, not quite ten (I have yet to make it to ten on any TTT), but I didn’t want to include just any characters to fill up the slots. I have to say, this has been one of my favorite TTTs to read through other people’s answers for. It’s interesting to see how the same character can create so many different opinions in different readers. Did we have any characters in common? Link me to your TTT!