She was gracious to respond, and we sent a few e-mails back and forth about the book and how readers, particularly women, read. She mentioned that several readers were finding the main character "unlikeable," to which she responded, "Me? I loves me a bad girl." (I love her for this answer.)
She presented an interesting issue:
"I'm intrigued by the standards that some readers apply to protagonists. The big question for many readers--invariably female--is, "Would I do what this character does?" Then the whole "likeability" question seems to hinge upon that answer."
So, I'm curious. Do you favor characters who act as you would act? And, if they don't, does that make them unlikeable to you?
I don't like characters who act like me because I'm boring! I prefer to see a different side of living and it does not make the characters unlikeable at all.
No, I don't expect characters to act like I would act- I want them to act like themselves, to be believable and psychologically real. Unlikable characters to me are characters who are mean, or thoughtless, or lack self-awareness.
Interesing post! One of the reasons I read books is to experience thru the story things I wouldn't normally experience. That being said, there have been times when I disliked a character for things she did, but its not a standard for me. Some protagonists do crazy things I wish I could do!
I haven't read anything by Bird other than The Yokota Officers Club, (and it's been several years since I read that!). She came to our bookstore (in Fort Worth) for a book signing and was very nice (and funny). Off to read your review for her new book.
Simply doing something that I would never do doesn't make a character unlikeable to me, but if they do something completely opposed to my morals or values- something cruel or hateful- that would make them unlikeable.
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