Wow! It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a discussion post! But this topic was weighing heavily on my mind for the last little while and I wondered what you all thought.
When I was doing some research on a book I was interested in, I noticed that there were very mixed feelings. Some loved it and rated it 5 stars, while others hated it and rated it 1-2 stars. I noticed that it was heavy on one side or the other, but little in between. I asked myself why and looked at some of the reviews.
There were a few people who commented on the pace, the writing style, or the plot, but it seemed that the great divide came down to the main character. Apparently, the main character was a person you either loved or hated. The people who loved the book appreciated how crude, brave, fearless, and badass the main character was. But the people who rated it low stated that the main character was rude, made bad decisions, and was an all around not nice person. People were seeing this character in a very different light, and it was all in the eye of the beholder. So this leaves me to my discussion question:
Do your feelings of a character impact how you rate a book? If you can’t relate to the character, does that negatively impact your final rating??
Many people who can’t relate to the character get annoyed. They don’t like the personality, their choices, nor do they understand why they do what they do or act the way they do. For example (this isn’t the book that I was researching) Jazz from the book Artemis by Andy Weir. This book got quite a few negative reviews because they couldn’t relate to her. She was a criminal, who made some really stupid mistakes, used her sexuality to gain her position, and was participating in a final illegal act that could harm others. She was crude, crass, bold, and vulgar. People claimed that she had no redeeming qualities and they couldn’t move past her personality. Because her character was so bold, they were unable to move past the character to enjoy the book.
I totally get that. It’s hard when you really don’t enjoy the perspective of a character that’s carrying the plot through! If they swear and you’re not into that type of language, then this could be a massive problem. If the character makes some really stupid decisions that you just can’t understand, that could make you cringe and wonder what they were thinking!!!
I personally am on the other side where I don’t need to relate to the character to enjoy the book. In fact, I quite like reading about other people who aren’t like me or are big trouble makers. I don’t really need to understand the decisions they make. It’s not a book about me lol. As long as their decisions pertain to the plot of the story and make sense as a whole, then I’m satisfied. I also find myself reading about these people and admiring the things that are so different from me. I take inspiration from their differences and wish I was like them in some way or another. Taking Jazz from Artemis for example again – she was vulgar and crude (totally me in real life!!!) but she was so comfortable in her skin and seemed to ooze confidence. That’s not me AT ALL! I admired her for that and loved that perspective! Yes, she made some really shitty decisions that I never would have, but it made sense for her and her situation and I could appreciate that.
What about you? Have you ever ran across a character you couldn’t relate to in a book? Did your feelings about that character effect how you enjoyed the book? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time, happy reading!