No accounting for taste
|Amanda Waters||Apr 13, 2015|
Sometimes, it seems like there's a book (or author, or series) that everyone seems to rave about and I just can't bring myself to join the club. But I've learned there's no need to apologize for that -- not everyone has the same taste, and not every book is for everyone. There are a lot of things that might turn me off of a book: the writing style, the plot, and yes, even the characters. I hesitate to admit that these days, particularly because apparently there's a lot of discussion out there on "unlikable" and "likable" characters in fiction. Stacked and Book Riot have both written or hosted thoughtful posts on the subject. And I get where they're coming from, especially when people use the "unlikeable" label on a character in a way that continues to put unfair pressure on young people (girls in particular) to be "perfect."
Sometimes in real life, I just don't want to spend time with a person, and sometimes I don't want to spend time with a fictional person either. And I get what this author is saying when she points out that reading books with characters we don't like can help us to be better human beings. It can help us stretch and grow and maybe even be a little more compassionate. And I often read books with characters I don't like (on a side note: does anyone agree that there's a difference between "characters I don't like" and the current use of "unlikable character"?). But in that case, there's something else compelling about the book that keeps me going. Sometimes, even that so-called "unlikable" character is compelling enough that I want to read about them.
But sometimes, I just don't want to spend time with that character/characters anymore. There is nothing about the story or secondary characters to keep me interested, and I just respectfully walk away. And you know what? I'm not sorry about that. Yes, I feel bad for not liking your book, but there are probably a bunch of people out there who love it. And that's awesome. It's just that sometimes I feel the need to tell people: it's okay to not like a book. It's okay to not like a character in a book. And it's okay to decide to spend your time somewhere else.