Wednesday, May 27, 2009

High School Revisited, and General Transcendence

So once upon a time in high school and college, I had this best friend. He was a guy. He was sweet and talented and clever and smart (almost as smart as he thought he was). We were best friends for a couple of years, and then I got married and sort of got myself a new best friend, know what I mean?

Well, thanks to that inter-ma-net thingie, we've lately reconnected and it's still fun. He's still funny and probably still thinks he's a little smarter than he is, but that's totally okay with me. He's happily married, and finding joy in his life, and taking his profession by storm and all that jazz.

So there's this part of me that still wants him to be proud of me, and I'm somewhat tempted to send him (or his wife) a copy of BBM. But there's this possibility that he may connect just a little too much with the boy-best-friend character. Can I actually send him a book and say these words: This is not about you?

I've already said it to my steptwin. I've already said it to my parents. I've already said it to my brother, and there aren't even any brothers in the book. For heaven's sake, are we all looking for ourselves, or what? Do I look for myself in the books I read? Even the ones written by people I've never met? Maybe. Sometimes. Maybe that's why I get disappointed in the dumb things characters do and say. Maybe that's why I cheer for underdoggies, or celebrate the girls who come to terms with their imperfections (specifically body-image ones).

Does everyone do that? Is that why we read? Are we looking for ourselves in these characters? Is it the same as having indirect adventures? Or is it more introspective (don't you love that word?), about finding what needs fixing and changing?

Hm. What does that say about me if I pull for the villain on occasion? Or if I absolutely cannot care what happens to the sweet, innocent heroine?

Remember when you were a kid, watching a show on TV, or a movie, or whatever, and saying "I get to be ____." - Like calling a character? Did you want to be the nice one, or the interesting one? When I was in High School and first heard Les Miserables (the musical) I wanted to be Eponine, the terrorized, ravaged, heartbroken child of the streets. Who wants to be the sweet little ingenue? (Not to mention that the writers clearly agreed with me, because Eponine's songs are so much cooler than Cosette's - but I digress.)

So finding yourself in a story and connecting with a character are not necessarily the same thing, right? Because I hope I'm not the only one who finds myself in one character, but wishes to be a different one...


  1. While understand the temptation, I gotta say....bad idea to send the book. It's just my opinion and all my reasons are deeply psychological, possibly autobiographical, and totally boring. But now you have it.

    And I'm ALWAYS the cool chick in books, as long as the cool chick is also NICE.

  2. I'm finding the more and more I read I only really enjoy the book if I can connect with a certain character. Whoever it may be. To me that's part of the joy of reading and how I'm able to travel to far off places. Totally normal I think.


If you want to say it, I want to hear it. Bring it on.