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     Is it just me, or what?  Counting six of the last ten, it seems every book I read these days (and I average about two a week) is wrapped around a wussy character . . . the kind of protagonist who makes me want to throw lamps and TV clickers!  

     Instead I punch the cover and yell into the binding:

Will you P U L L E S E speak up, stand up, be assertive, cock your hat, make a fist, stick out your tongue, puff out your chest, pull your shoulders back, put something of substance out on the table for all of us tortured readers to see and hear and imagine and think about! 

     You’re the lead character, for crying out loud!  Stop leaving us frustrated and anxious and angry at you.  Why can’t you speak your mind and tell it like it is?  Stop with the dumb, mamby-pamby, mealy-mouthed excuses.  Stop crawling away from confrontations.  How can you expect us readers to support your wimpy approach to other less-capable characters who run roughshod over you?  We’re not all social workers out here. 

     It’s not true—dear author-creators of leading-role, candy-ass characters—that everybody loves an underdog.  Well, maybe in sports, but you know what?  When you act like an underdog in real life or as a main character in some author’s story, people won’t side with you; they won’t like you; they will stop reading! 

     And this happens because?  Because there’s enough anger, anxiety, negativity and frustration in real life.   We read books to learn, be informed and entertained, to escape . . . not to see more of the same that we deal with every day. 

     I just finished an absolutely wonderful story about a racecar driver who took it on the chin so many times from his evil, mean-spirited in-laws that when he lowered his head, there was probably nothing left between his bottom teeth and his chest!  The only reason I took it to the end was that this magnificant story was told by a classy, assertive part-Laborador retriever (but of course who could only bark!).  The hero car driver was such a wuss, he made me want to throw myself off a bridge! 

     Okay, you say, but you did read it, and so what else is new?  Well, I also just gave up on a book that revolves entirely around the weakest personality to ever grace the human race.  This cross-country trekker who only God knows how this fragile, feeble character managed to survive by bicycle from Rhode Island to Colorado before I threw it down.  This guy would have made Ghandi and Saint Theresa look like terrorists! 

     Character flaws are important attributes; they make the person credible.  But give me a heroine or hero with clout, chutzpah, hubris, nerve, balls, whatever you want to call it! 

     I want to read about winners who stand up for themselves, and who get back up when they’re knocked down . . . because nothing compares to meeting and getting to know someone who inspires!      halalpiar  

One comment so far

One Comment to ““CHARACTER ASSASSINATION” . . . . . . . . . . . OR: THE “WUSS” AS LITERARY HERO”

  1. Judy Vorfeldon 09 Jul 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Wonderful. Hilarious. And right on the money. We need to read about people who get back up when they’re knocked down. Like Jack Aubrey. And Harry Bosch. And Gabriel Allon.

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