Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Unlikeable Main we really like her?

Tip of the Day: Being sandals season, when you go to paint your toenails put lotion on first (on skin not nails). If you get any paint on your skin it'll rub off easily.

I've written six books now (and partials of two more) and I love them all. I've never written a book and felt iffy about it or felt like oh man, this one is torture to write, let's just get through it. I'm always very happy and in love with whatever project I'm working on. So if I get a different reaction to one of my books than another, I'm always shocked. What do you mean you don't like this book?! For example, with one of my books I've been told by some that my main character (MC) is unlikeable. I, of course, adore her. I guess I can see why people find her unlikeable. She does do some not so nice things. Even so, I still like her. So here's my question, can't we still love a book even if we don't love the MC?

For my book club last month we read Emily Griffin's Something Borrowed. I hated her MC. Really, I thought she was annoying, a bad friend, and thought to much of herself. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the book and wanting to read on in the series. So this unlikeable MC thing can work, right?

And aren't we all sometimes intrigued when we are told something is bad or we'll hate it etc. For example, Mandy Hubbard (author of Prada & Prejudice, out this June) had an awesome post this week about what do bad reviews really mean. Check it out here. Publisher's Weekly really gave this book a few whacks huh? You want to read it now don't you? I kind of do. I bet LOADS more people will read it now that this bad review was published. Maybe the unlikeable isn't so unlikeable.

What do you guys think? Ever love a book with an unlikeable MC?

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut


DeenaML said...

Yes! I totally have read and enjoyed books with MCs I didn't like. I mean, I'd never be friends with tons of them, and others I find whiny and annoying, yet the plot was enough to get me through. I think MCs ARE like real ppl; each one of us will befriend different ones. I LOVE your book with the "unlikable" MC 'cause I find her clever and sneaky! I hope someone else likes her, too!

Summer said...

I really enjoyed Thaw by Monica Roe. The MC was really unlikable especially in the beginning. I was like, seriously? when I first started reading it. That was on purpose too. There have been a few characters who I don't really like because I think they are kinda strange but I keep reading. I think it's a good challenge.

Kate Fall said...

Exactly, Deena! I have MC's I couldn't stand that other people loved and vice versa. Being on the Cybil panel taught me how individual tastes can be.

There were a few books I read for the Cybil awards where I loved the voice but other panelists found the main character's voice grating. A couple of us loved the MC in GETTING THE GIRL by Susan Juby. When other readers disagreed, I could see why they didn't love the MC ... but they didn't change my mind about him.

Kate Fall said...

Oooh, THAW! Good call, Summer, that's a perfect example of a book I loved with an unlikeable main character.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I was worried Alice in FAR FROM YOU might not be liked by some people. But the thing is, teens often do whine and complain about things. I mean, that's how they are, right? Not all the time, and I tried to balance it out, but I wanted her to be real.

And real means not liking new people in a parent's life, even if it is a cute little baby. Are ALL teens like this? No, of course not. But Alice is, and I just hoped that people would give her a chance and see her for the girl she is - a girl who is just really hurting inside and misses her mom.

Christina Farley said...

Of course, everyone has their tastes in what is likeable and not. I have a hard time getting into a book or spending time with someone I don't like. So I'd have to say, no. If I don't like her/him, I won't keep reading.