Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Liked In Books I Didn't

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl! Not every book is amazing, obviously, but sometimes the most frustrating books that don't really connect is that the characters in them feel like they deserve better. So here are ten characters that stole my heart, even if the rest of the book didn't.

Ma Joad (The Grapes of Wrath): I hated this book so so much after reading it in AP English in high school, but Ma Joad reminds me of Ma Ingalls...ladies who had to deal with a whole lot of bullshit and kept their families together as well as they could through it all. I found literally no one else in this book at all worth my time or attention.

Lucifer (Paradise Lost): I'm convinced that it's meant to be a joke that the devil is by far the most compelling character in this epic poem. But also proof that the villain is usually a better role than the hero.

Jakob (The Hangman's Daughter): The actual hangman's daughter, Magdalena, didn't particularly interest me, but the hangman himself, Jakob, was knowledgeable and thoughtful and enjoyable to read about in this otherwise completely unremarkable book.

Freida Mintz (Charity Girl): This book, about women who were held against their will because they contracted venereal disease, was very uneven, but I rooted for headstrong, independent Freida, who refused to just accept the circumstances that were handed to her.

Hannah Chase (The Sisters Chase): I found Mary, the older sister and the center of the narrative, boring and cliche, but Hannah, first as a sweet kid and then going through the regular rebellion of a teenage girl, was the only thing that got me through this legitimately bad book.

Florence (The Highest Tide): This book did absolutely nothing for me, but Florence, the old lady who takes an awkward, lonely preteen boy under her wing while stubbornly resisting her increasingly obvious need to leave her home, tugged at my heart strings.

Anna O'Donnell (The Wonder): I hated this book, but I loved the sweet, high-spirited girl at the center of a maybe-hoax miracle in rural Ireland in the early 20th century.

The Old Turk (Boys and Girls Together): Almost everyone in this book about five young people whose lives end up converging in New York is awful and the experience of reading it was unpleasant, but the relationship between young Rudy (who becomes such a martyr that he's boring) and his grandfather, the Old Turk, is the lone bright spot. He's so kind and warm-hearted that he seems to be from another universe entirely.

Bernadette Fox (Where'd You Go Bernadette): Bernadette was super smart and completely unwilling to go along with the bullshit in pretty much every aspect of her life. Too bad her garbage husband didn't bother to notice the way his centering of his own needs was slowly destroying her and the book made a joke out of her deterioration.

Venus Black (My Name Is Venus Black): I found Venus herself compelling, but the book as a whole fell very flat for me. Venus deserved a better book.


  1. Haven't read any of these yet, but I do agree that some of the most frustrating books are so frustrating because of the characters that just deserve better than what they got!

    1. Why do people write great characters and put them in crap books? And seeing as how I've put them on a list of books I didn't much like, I'm glad to hear you haven't read any of them!

  2. Great list! I can't believe I haven't heard of any of these! I did TTT on my blog too :)

    1. Since I thought they were not great, I'd recommend avoiding them!