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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:
Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, which had a number of eccentric characters, but I really enjoyed the book because I believed in the characters, and they made logical sense. However, when I tried reading her next book, The Mermaid Chair, I could not believe the contrast. First off, it just wasn't as good of a book, second of all, there were those quirky, eccentric characters, but this time they just didn't make any sense. It was like the author sat down and said to herself, "okay, I'll give these characters this quirk and that quirk" and the point was to make them quirky, not to give them any relevance to the plot. They felt like flat caricatures. I don't have the book in front of me, so I'm going on memory here, but one of the characters was Kat, and the book kept mentioning that she wore socks with high heels? The main character's mom, Nell, kept slicing off her own fingers out of guilt. There was one character who gave tours of old slave graveyards, but there was never anything that she added to the plot.

Anyhow, that's my $.02.


Anonymous said...

I have to say that I haven't read either book, but I have two friends who have read both and had exactly the same experience as you. What a shame.

Seachanges said...

Yes, I know the experience of reading one author, thinking you've hit on something really interesting and then you find the next one (or the previous one) just does not hit it with you.

She Rants said...

I hated The Mermaid Chair too! In fact, its what I BTT-ed about!! And weirder enough, we have the same name and last name initial. strange....

Lesley said...

I liked both SMK's books.
You've hit the nail on the head when you say characters have to be believable.

Debi said...

I think you just saved me from a big disappointment! For whatever reason, I had been really reluctant to read The Secret Life of Bees, but then when I did, I totally fell in love. All because of those wonderful, quirky, yet oh-so-believable characters. I figured I'd get to The Mermaid Chair one of these days, but now I think I'll fill in that slot with something else.

Kim L said...

table talk-I agree! I think she is a talented author, but the second book just doesn't show her talent as well.

Seachanges-Oh yes, and this isn't the only author I've loved but then been disappointed by later on.

She rants-That is strange!

Lesley-Glad you liked both her books, the second one just wasn't for me I guess.

debi-glad I could help! You won't regret not reading the book.