Monday, October 30, 2006
Y'all will have to bear with me this morning. After a weekend of house painting, I'm completely brain dead. So if this post is rambling or doesn't make much sense, just pat me on the head and say, "Bless your heart." (That's what we do here in the south.)
Last week, I began reading a book I'd really been looking forward to. Said book was by an award-winning, well-known author I'd never had the chance to read, so I was really excited to see what the hoopla was about.
I gave up after chapter four.
It wasn't the writing or the plot, it was the characters. I simply couldn't bond with the heroine. She was, in writer speak, TSTL (Too Stupid To Live). Not only that, her thoughts were chaotic and hard to follow, without any clear cut process leading from one place to another. While I wasn't quite to the point of wishing her killed off, I figured if she was going to make such dumb choices, so totally against logic with no apparent reasons to back her decisions up, then the police were fully justified in arresting her for the murders. And it wouldn't bother me a bit.
And don't even get me started on the other characters in the book... not one of them was relatable or even remotely likeable. If this is the world she lives in, no wonder this heroine is so screwed up. (Though I don't feel sorry enough for her to wade through 15 more chapters, especially since I've already guessed who the killer is. A quick glance at the back before I throw the book against the wall proves me right.)
Now, my heroines have made mistakes. They may have made wrong decisions based on their feelings at the time instead of what would have been the logical choice. But I sincerely hope that their mistakes endear them to the reader rather than push the reader away. And even if the reader doesn't agree with the decision, he or she may at least understand WHY the character chooses that particular action.
As I've heard said before, you can mostly do whatever you want in a book, as long as it is well motivated.
Needless to say, it would take a lot of prompting to get me to read another of this author's work. The plot would have to be really spectacular to draw me in again. Which is unfortunate, because I know lots of readers out there love her work.
What is it that helps you bond to the heroine in a book? Does she have to be like you? Have similar tastes in food, clothes, men? Or just have similar values and beliefs you can relate to? What, in your opinion, makes heroines TSTL?
I'll check back in later when my brain has kicked into drive.
P.S. No, I'm not talking about the fabulous book by Beverly Barton listed in our What I'm Reading section. You can see a review of that book and Close Enough to Kill on the Playground in November. But I purposely didn't mention the author's name because that's just rude.