Character Complexity

Spending a lot of time reading can be a great experience, or a frustrating one. Like any other topics in the world you are likely to find someone who doesn’t agree with your point of view, that’s how it is with books. I find myself reading reviews and posts about novels and characters, that I enjoyed reading about, but to my surprise, they are always in a negative light.

Many of the comments I see are about the characters, and their personality. About how, when a character is stubborn or arrogant or selfish, it ruins the book cause they’re such jerks. I completely disagree with comments like this. If every character in every book were the perfect hero’s we wished they were, nothing would ever happen. There wouldn’t be conflicts and problems to over come. They would be fake and wouldn’t teach us anything.

They wouldn’t teach us to think of others. They wouldn’t teach us its okay to be different. They wouldn’t teach us where the line is, and not to cross it. I read these negative reviews and I disagree because the characters, that are flawed, are the best characters there are.

For example, and for many this will be a shocking statement, my favourite John Green novel, is An Abundance Of Katherine’s. No one ever understands why this particular novel is my favourite. I always get the replies like “but it’s not sad”, “i don’t understand why there is footnotes” “Colin is boring” blah blah blah.

It is my favourite novel because of the characters. Colin is self-absorbed, selfish and immature. He spends most of the novel being a less than good friend to Hassan and trying to get his own way. He is flawed and that’s realistic. There is no point in having characters without flaws, because then there is no chance for them to grow and for the story to progress.

So when I see hate towards characters and novel (when people dislike a book, because they don’t understand the characters) I get defensive. It’s important to have character complexity, or else a book is nothing but the story. and a story is nothing without good characters.


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