March 08, 2013

The ones I idolized

When I was growing up, there were certain books that had characters I wanted and tried to be. They said things that I could imagine myself saying or wished that I could say. They had qualities that I thought made them great people. They faced issues that I thought were universal, dealing with them in ways that made sense to me.

Take Little Women. Every Christmas, from probably eleven to fourteen, I would read the book, and then sometimes its sequels. It taught me that I was supposed to constantly be good, even when it was very hard. The characters endure all sorts of trials and either blame their own shortcomings or chalk it up to their lot in life. No pains they endure are unjust or uncalled for or worth actively protesting (beyond lightly reprimanding someone for not trying to be good.) They just swallow their struggles and try to keep their heads up, without ever causing trouble for others. And I loved them for it.

But in the real world, people like that are called "sheep" and do not get spectacularly far.

Then there was Franny and Zooey. I still read this often and while I can say that I like the writing style (which I do,) there is also definitely a deeper connection. I will always connect to the existential crisis of Franny. Her discomfort with ego, yet her inability to rid herself of ego, which results in lying on a couch unable to do anything for all the conflict. I just wish I could take her brother's advice and perform for the Fat Lady. But alas, I am Zooey, not Seymour. Nobody is Seymour. And if you haven't read the book then you won't understand any of this....... and also you need to go get a copy of it like yesterday.

But the point is that I end up on a couch lamenting about ego instead of doing anything spectacular or risky or that might possibly be inconvenient for anyone else.

I would like someone to recommend a book to me about someone who takes enormous risks and doesn't care about offending other people or asking for favors. I want a strong protagonist who is ego and doesn't give a damn. A strong protagonist who does not fail and does not make me hate him/her. Although if you can't, that's ok too. I'll just blame myself and wonder who I think I am to request such a thing from others. (Insert winky emoticon here.)

9 comments:

  1. I have not read this book myself (my brother read it), but there is an autobiography called "American Sniper" written by a former Navy Seal that is very politically incorrect that you may or may not be interested in. However, the writing is probably not that great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Intrigue. Reviews agree that the writing is lame. But going the route of military people is probably a good idea, thank you!

      Delete
  2. This makes me want to read Franny & Zooey. Sounds right up my alley.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, do it! It's a thousand times better than Catcher in the Rye (same author.) I've read it at least twenty times and it never gets old.

      Delete
  3. Oh! How about Daughter of Smoke & Bone? Or Graceling, to a lesser extent?

    ReplyDelete
  4. One of my all-time favourites is "Tam Lin" by Pamela Dean (1991). The protagonist, Janet Carter, is exactly what it sounds like you're looking for - low bullshit tolerance, interesting and determined.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I haven't read either of those books but I do love to read! The next time I'm at the book store I'll have to check out that Fanny and Zooey. Rachel made a great suggestion Graceling is a great book, along with Fire by Kristin Cashore :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't think of a book that fits this, but I suppose that's partly because I do idolize the Little Women types (even though I found that particular book boring and never finished it). March, a Little Women spin-off of sorts, is my favorite novel ever. Anyway, this reminds me of a Korean drama I blogged about in which the protagonists says screw being good and becomes a gold digger... I suppose I should check out Franny and Zooey.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great request! I'm going to put these answers onto my goodreads account.

    ReplyDelete