Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Unlikable Characters That I Love to Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I love this topic because there is a difference between an unlikable character and characters I don't like. I see authors complaining all of the time about readers wanting all of their characters to be likeable. No we don't! But we do want our characters to be interesting, to have depth, to be relatable in some way. They don't have be likeable - we just have to like them as characters... the way people like Darth Vader or The Grinch. No one likes a present stealer, but we like stories about present stealers if they are well developed. (Salty statement: stop complaining about your readers and start developing your characters.)

Here are some books with unlikeable characters that I love to love.

You by Caroline Kepnes The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward East of Eden by John Steinbeck

You by Caroline Kepnes

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

East of Eden by John Steinbeck


The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough The Vegetarian by Han Kang

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

The Vegetarian by Han Kang


The Widow by Fiona Barton Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Jennifer

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14 comments:

  1. I am going to be honest, I do need to like the character, but I think it's because I tend to read more character driven book. I like to be able to cheer for them. They don't need to be perfect, but I need to understand why they are the way they are if they are a bit off putting.

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    1. Yes, exactly this - I need to understand why they are the way they are.

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  2. I haven't read any of these, but I've seen some of them on other lists so they must be great choices!

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  3. I just finished reading Rebecca for the first time about a week ago. It was excellent.

    My post: https://lydiaschoch.com/top-ten-tuesday-unlikable-characters-you-cant-help-but-love/

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  4. Such a great point. "No one likes a present stealer" that made me smile :) But it's true- even a despicable character can be interesting if developed right.

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  5. No one likes a present stealer is a perfect point, as is your 'salty' comment. :) I had trouble w/ this prompt so went a bit of a different way, but as I'm seeing the books others thought of, I think "oh yeah, that's a good one!" - I just couldn't come up with them.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys
    https://www.bookshelfjourneys.com/post/ttt-unlikable-characters

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  6. I love a good unlikable character, and it can be a very fine line between one that's got enough depth to be a "good" unlikable character and one that's just bad.

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  7. You are 100% correct here! I don't need to like characters, sometimes the unlikable ones make for the best reading experience. It's the boring + unlikable combo that sink a book for me. I'm reading one now with a slightly unlikable character which would be fine except she's rather boring in comparison to some of the secondary characters.

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  8. YES! I agree with your salty statement. All my favorite characters are awful humans. They're my favorites because I find them believable and interesting.

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  9. Yes! I want interesting characters and I have a soft spot for the anti-hero. Great list, I've read 2 Ania Ahlborn books and really enjoyed both. I'd add Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights as one of my favs also Snape from the HP series.

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