I've been trying to come up with ideas for this post all day, and it's basically been an epic fail. I've had lots of conversations with myself that have gone like this:
Ok! Let's be Clare, from The Time Traveller's Wife! She is a hardworking artist who creates amazing sculptures, and her husband is a hot librarian time traveller! Yes!
Actually, being married to a time traveller is agonising and troublesome, which is kind of the point of the book. Not so fun.
Fine, fine. I'll be Kristin Cashore's Fire. She is the most beautiful woman in the world, and she has amazing psychic powers.
But her powers mean that no one trusts her, and she is so beautiful that monsters want to kill her and men want to capture her. In fact, stuff keeps trying to kill her throughout the whole damn book. Let me think about that one again. No.
I know! I'll be Elizabeth Bennett! I mean, who doesn't want to be Elizabeth Bennett? She is smart and witty and she ends up with Mr Darcy. And Regency women wore such beautiful dresses. Case closed. Right?
Um. Leila. Regency women = marriage fodder. Basically. You're there to be matched up and become a housewife. YAY. Not to mention, Elizabeth Bennett's family are actually kind of a royal pain in the ass. Mr Darcy's family too.
Francesca from Saving Francesca! She is both sensitive and sarcastic, and her friends are hilarious and wonderful. And Will Trombol. Oh, Will.
And Francesca's mother suffers from chronic depression. Her whole family goes through hell.
Hermione Granger! She has magic, and she's extremely smart! She kicks ass!
And she ends up married to Ron Weasley. I apologise to all the Ron fans, but for some reason I'm just not that wild about Ron. I mean, he's a nice guy, and he would make a great friend, but I kind of feel that Hermione really should have gone for someone who was more her intellectual equal. You know?
Laura Chant, from The Changeover! She's smart, stubborn and falls in love with a strange and fascinating boy. And she will do anything it takes to save her younger brother's life.
Aaaand her parents are messily divorced. Also, Laura has to deal with Carmody Braque, one of the most repulsive villains I've ever come across. And while Laura's love interest is fascinating, he's also kind of creepy. Oddly enough, that kind of adds to his charm, but still.
Wynter from the Moorehawke trilogy by Celine Kiernan. (If you like fantasy, you have to go read her books right now. Ok?) Wynter is only fifteen years old, yet she's already earning her way in a male profession and adept at dealing with the perils of life in the royal court. Her father is kind hearted and wonderful, and her love interest is gorgeous and charismatic and complicated.
Wynter might have a wonderful father, but he's dying. And a courtier has very little privacy, so Wynter has to spend all her time treading exceptionally carefully to avoid trouble. I don't think I'd enjoy that so much.
So, yeah. That's what's been going on inside my head today. Not particularly conclusive.
Basically, I'd love to be any of these characters, as long as you promise me I get to go back to being my boring old self after a while. I think this says a lot about the way I read. I don't read as wish fulfillment. If I pick up a book and the main character seems too perfect or their life too easy, I don't connect with them and I put the book down. All of the characters I love most in the world are characters who struggle. I read so I can be them for a little while, and live out their battles and be carried away on the tides of their lives. Then the make believe ends and I finish the book dazed. And by that point it's usually time to go cook dinner and deal with the real world again.
I think a good character is like a good friend. They let you in on their secrets, their hard times and their good times. And they're constantly telling you interesting things, whether or not they even mean to. And in their own way, they help you appreciate why your own life is a worthy one.
And now you should go find out who my fellow highwayers would like to be!