This idea came to her after reading two books that, from their descriptions, she should have loved. However, she hated them. In an attempt to provide ‘depth’, the authors had given the characters – all of them – such extreme flaws that she (as the reader) couldn’t empathize with any of them and so was left not really caring about how the story ended.
I think she may be on to something. As I think about some of my recent reads – even from authors I’ve really enjoyed at times like Picoult and Shreve – I think this is the case. Take Picoult’s Keeping Faith and Perfect Match (Match reviewed here). In both stories the mothers seem to be the ones we are supposed to cheer for (father in Faith is obnoxious and a doormat in Match), but the mothers’ actions are reckless and selfish. And so along the way it is easy to quit caring for them.
Same goes for Shreve’s Testimony that I reviewed here. None of the adults, none of the students, are portrayed in a way that you’re really ‘pulling’ for them. If you feel any sorrow at the end of the book, it is for the quiet town and the disruption to it.
In a follow-up discussion (add good friend / book lover #2), we talked about what then separates these flawed characters who we don’t feel for, from the flawed characters who we do love and care about. I’m not sure that we completely answered this question, but part of it (for me) has to do with why the sin? and why the error? and were these lapses part of a necessary journey to redemption?
Powered by Facebook Comments