Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is fairly open ended: books that you wish had more or less X in them. I decided to take the opportunity to talk about some books that I enjoyed, but definitely would have enjoyed more if the protagonist had been a little less prominent/a little less themselves. If you would like to read other Top Ten Tuesday posts, or just to read more information about the meme, feel free to click through the link.
Now, without further ado:
10 Books That Could’ve Used a Whole Lot Less of the Protagonist
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I love reading Neil Gaiman’s books. I love the way he tells stories. And I found the whole concept of this book so intriguing, but I just… Bod. I just really did not enjoy Bod. I just didn’t find him compelling as a protagonist, or as a character in general. I was so much more intrigued by the minor characters floating around this story. I would love a collection of novellas about all of the graveyard’s residents. Just not Bod.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
For a book about time travel, there was a whole lot of whining and pining and a whole lot of NOT TIME TRAVELLING. I just got tired of listening to her complain about not knowing anything and just letting things happen to her. You can time travel. And you can talk to ghosts. Be a little less complacent about it.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I know it’s, like, blasphemy or something not to like Wuthering Heights. But I really hated this book. And that’s because Heathcliffe is awful and Cathy just makes him worse, and he makes Cathy worse, and then he just gets progressively more awful until he dies. I know a lot of people feel like their love is what redeems them, but I really don’t think it does. It just makes them worse people than they were before.
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
Yet another book with a cool concept (two former flames reignite after they both have giant romantic breakdowns, decide to get married and hold off on sleeping together until their wedding night to make it more exciting or something, and their best friends try their darndest to stop them from making the biggest mistake of their lives) that suffered in execution because of the insufferable nature of the characters. They were just so dramatic. Which isn’t a problem in and of itself. I mean, in order for a book’s conflict to be compelling, the stakes have to be high, so it needs to feel a little bit dramatic. However, if everything is dramatic, nothing is. And when your character acts as if every event is the end of the world, it just gets kind of fatiguing.
The Piano Maker by Kurt Palka
This was a book that as I was reading it, I was so incredibly bored. And then I finished, and thought about what actually happened in the book, and thought, “That doesn’t sound boring at all.” So many exciting and interesting things were going on in this book. So why was I so bored? The main character, the piano maker if you will, was a boring person. Like, if Professor McGonagall wasn’t a witch and didn’t have that bite or sass to her…that’s what this protagonist felt like.
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
I really didn’t enjoy reading this book, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of our title character. I understand that he’s supposed to be an unreliable, anti-hero type of character, but I just found him insufferable. If I hadn’t been required to write a paper on the book for a class, I definitely woul have DNF’d it.
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
OK. I know that one of my most unpopular opinions in the book community is how much I did not like The Mortal Instruments series. I mean, the concept was interesting. That’s why I managed to read the first two (three? I don’t even remember which one I finally gave up on) books. But I just could not handle Clary or Jace. (I know! Don’t hate me please). I’m not going to go into detail, lest I tear apart someone’s favourite character… so let’s just leave it at that.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
I love Jane Austen’s body of work. I try to reread one of her books at least once a year. But Mansfield Park is the one book that I can pretty much guarantee that I will not be revisiting. Fanny is just such an obnoxious character and I could not handle her. The only reason why I finished this book was because I was in a sad, sad phase of my life where I felt it was almost a moral failing to not finish a book.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I hate Nick and I wish that this was narrated from a third person point of view. So badly. Can we just get rid of Nick please? Thank you.
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
I DNF’d this book, and it was because I just couldn’t handle listening to the protagonist anymore. Once again, I find that so many protagonists manage to make interesting events boring. I don’t even bother to push through; I just stop reading now.