Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: I’m Just Not That Into You

Top Ten Tuesday Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week we do a specially themed Top 10 list, and this week’s theme is:
Top Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With.

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Unfortunately this weeks topic turned out to be far easier than I expected once I got going and I again found myself with way too many choices and having to cut back my list, so it’s imperfect, and there are other’s I’d like to have on here, but here goes…(umm fair warning–this weeks edition is extra gify)

Vampire VS Werewolf over Boring Girl

Vampire VS Werewolf over Boring Girl

1. Bella, Edward & Jacob from the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers –

{Tangential Story Time with Bex}

My mother first brought Twilight to my attention, waving a clipping from the local paper about some doe-eyed local girl around my age who had just had her first book picked up and soon to be published by a big publisher. It was about vampires. I didn’t really do vampires, but that wasn’t the point. The point, in my mother’s eyes, was clear: if this Stephenie girl who lived next door as my mother had rewritten it, had done it there was no excuse for my failure to have accomplished the same by this point in my life. I scanned the article where she talked about how the whole novel came to her pretty much fully formed in a dream, rolled my eyes and threw it in the trash. That wasn’t how writing worked for the 99.999% of the non-vampire population.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I was spending a weekend up at our cabin with a friend that I had the book thrust on me. She was a high-school English teacher, and her students were obsessed with the series that was now on the third book. She had started to read it intrigued by anything that would get these hard to reach teens actually excited about reading and had been hooked.
I picked up the first book and started reading, and I was sucked into the story. It was intriguing. It was probably the first YA, I’d read in a very long time. But, at the same time I was thinking, my mother was right. I can write better than this. Although Stephenie Meyer knows how to tell a good story, she’s not the best writer in the world; her prose, her dialogue, her characters, her arcs all have a stench of amateur hour to them that had me rolling my eyes and at times laughing out loud far more often than I care to admit during the series. Still I finished it. I was invested enough in the premise of the story to see how it ended, even though by the fourth book I really felt like the ridiculous had taken over to such an extent I almost didn’t bother. I will admit that I think she got better with The Host, and I’d love to see her come out with something new. 

As for the characters… Bella was a paper doll cut-out. Insert your own personality here. Which is exactly what millions of girls around the world did and why the book became so popular. But there was nothing for me to connect to. Edward was brooding, emo, wishy-washy, stalkery, controlling, jealous and creepy. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It doesn’t matter that he looks 17, he’s still an OLD MAN going after an underage girl! Don’t give me that eternal youth nonsense. He’s lived, he’s experienced! Even if you put that aside, the most attractive thing about Edward is his ability to control his desires. Jacob, I would have liked if he’d been content to stay in the friend zone. The fact that she HAD to make this a love triangle annoys me. It isn’t EVERY teen’s fantasy to be worshiped and adored by every boy that sees her; to have to choose between the two perfect boys who love her soo soo much. and I disrespect teen lit that perpetuates this fantasy. Really the only characters I did like were Alice and Rose. At least Rosalie was conflicted about the whole vampire thing.

Now in the spirit of full disclosure here I have to say this. Inexplicably, whenever any of these movies are on TV, which is sadly often; I will watch them. I will watch all of them if it is a marathon. It has nothing to do with anything other than being able to tune out, it’s junk food and watching pretty people and not having to think for a few hours because I know exactly what is going to happen and I’m over being annoyed about it or even caring much anymore. Plus if my nephew is around, he loves to see the werewolves.

Artwork by Madlibbs on DeviantArt

Artwork by Madlibbs on DeviantArt

2. Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – This is one of those books that I was (unlike most people I know) never assigned to read in a class. I read it on my own, so maybe I missed out on some important aspects in group discussion of Caulfield’s character, or maybe I was just too young when I read it to really understand the nuance of what was going on. Everything he did seemed to be just so existential, meandering and pointless, and that’s fine in real life I suppose, but I fail to see how it makes for such a fascinating character. I have this one on my re-read list since it’s been over fifteen years so perhaps I’ll see something different in it now that I’m older, because I’d really like to understand how so many people can worship this character.

3. Cho Chang & Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – I’m just going to say it. Harry Potter had the most daft taste in women. I never could understand how he could be surrounded by all of these strong female characters like Hermione Granger, Molly Weasley, Minerva McGonagall even Luna Lovegood and Fleur Delacoeur and end up with these silly fangirls. Cho doesn’t seem to have much personality at all, but I can almost forgive that as youthful infatuation, but ending up with Ginny in the end? It’s almost like Rowling shuffled a deck of cards and those two came out paired so she wrote them together, not for any real reasons that make sense. And Ginny making out with every boy in school while the main characters are off trying to stay alive doesn’t win her any points in my book. I never see a point where she makes the transition to growing up and redeeming herself. We are just supposed to accept that she does because Harry falls for her.

4. Four & Four from Allegiant by Veronica Roth and I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore – I’m sorry. It’s just… there were two Four’s on my list and I couldn’t resist the deliciousness of pairing them together at number 4. And let’s just stop and ponder that for a moment. Should there legitimately even be two YA sci-fi characters in rather well knows books named Four? Okay, let’s start with Tobias our Allegiant Four. You’ll notice that I didn’t say Divergent or Insurgent. I actually liked him quite a lot in the first book. He started to wear on me in the second and by the third book, no. And the author’s choice to switch things up and suddenly make this a dual narrative, putting us inside Tobias’ head made me want to scream. If she’d done it from the beginning, it might have worked, but then she’d have to have plotted out the whole series and known how it was going to end, which she obviously hadn’t done. As it was it was jarring and odd and it didn’t make me sympathize with Tobias, it made me angry with him and dislike him even more. Number Four from the Lorien Legacies series just, I don’t know. I tried to care about him and his plight… it seemed interesting enough, but there was something off-putting about his personality that made me not want to care about what happened to him. And so I stopped.

Please please please, don't ask what gifs I had to wade through to find this tame one.

Please please please, don’t ask what gifs I had to wade through to find this tame one.

5. Anastasia Steele & Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – Ok, let’s get one thing straight. As an homage to the above-mentioned Twilight it’s brilliant, because she makes Meyer’s writing look like freakin’ Shakespeare. I honestly can’t give a 100% assessment on this one because it was so bad I couldn’t get past the first 4 or 5 chapters. But it was enough to tell me that I’d seen this all before (character wise), only done so much better. I was rolling my eyes literally every page on this one. Ana was the bright eyed, innocent naive bumpkin in the big city world of gorgeous billionaire playboy who notices and wants only her and it was all so laughable. The words that came out of their mouths hurt my ears. I’ll stop now because this could turn into a tirade and I know there are plenty of people out there who actually like this book. It just was not for me. I need my characters to be grounded in reality and teach me a morsel of truth.

daisygif6. Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Every time I read this book I find myself subconsciously trying to like Daisy. She’s the most logical choice for a relatable female character in the book. But each time, I simply come up short. I come up with beautiful and enchanting yes but overall shallow, manipulative, naive, moody, insincere, snobbish and false.

I kinda wanted it to be over too.

I kinda wanted it to be over too.

7. Mia Hall from If I Stay by Gayle Foreman – This one was hard for me because I wanted to like this book so badly. No. I wanted to LOVE this book. I loved the idea of this book. I loved many of the characters in the book. I loved the parents. I loved the grandparents. I loved the parent’s friends. I loved Mia’s friends. I loved her little brother. I loved the whole set-up. But I just didn’t love Mia. I don’t know if the author was trying to write as if she was in a state of shock the whole time, but there was a definite disconnect there with any sort of emotions and she should have been feeling some major emotions. And it seemed like she was much more concerned with reliving her relationship with her boyfriend over the past year than with much of anything else that was going on around her. In the end I felt she didn’t really go through much growth to come to the conclusion she did. Trauma yes. Growth no. I felt her reasons for making the decision she did were a little shallow, and so it didn’t sit well with me, it just didn’t feel like it was true. And that translated to feeling like Mia was a bit shallow and false as well.

bemercifulsaydeathrj8. Romeo & Juliet from Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare – I read yet another YA novel the other day riffing off the R&J theme, and while I really liked this one it reminded me of how much I really don’t like the characters in this classic play. I used to. It was my first taste of Shakespeare. I read it the summer before I entered high-school for fun because I’m that much of a geek and I was enchanted by the romance of Juliet. As I’ve gotten older though and read it, analyzed it, compared, written and performed it many more times my perspective has changed. Romeo comes across to me now as a hot-head show-off playboy who falls in insta-love with the one girl he can’t have. Juliet, the naive spoiled princess returns the insta-love because it’s the bad boy she can’t have and they both foolishly get insta-married, jump in the sack and a few days later when things don’t work out are both so immature as to decide they can’t live without their brand new crushes. This is not an epic love story; it’s a lusty crush gone horribly wrong because neither one of them is mature enough to recognize it for what it is. It is a tragedy. Yes I’m de-romanticizing and oversimplifying a very complex, thematic and nuanced story. I understand that. It’s also true. It’s just once you get past all the themes of loving someone who is off limits and crossing cultural boundaries, once you take away the very pretty words, and the lovely set pieces, what you are left with is two naive, impulsive spoiled teenagers who do some very ridiculous and stupid things and we all applaud them for that. It’s not exactly the message we should be passing on, but more importantly…if you look at them like that…do you even like them? And just because I can, to illustrate my point I give you Romeo & Juliet: The Gif Story: (*if you want my snarky commentary click through for the slideshow version)

9. Emma & Sutton from The Lying Game by Sara Shepard – Separated at birth twins. Sutton is the dead narrator and Emma is the protagonist supposed to be solving her murder who takes over her life to do so, but really both characters annoy as they seem to care much more about shopping, parties, boys, and designer clothes than getting to the bottom of anything. You can read my review on this one here. I tried to watch the TV series of this (which I understand was just cancelled) to see if it was any better because I do like PLL as a TV show, but was simply confused as Sutton who is very much dead in the books is very much alive in the TV show, so I gave up. She was annoying enough when she was dead.)

Thanks for the reminder Peter..maybe THAT's why I don't like you.

Thanks for the reminder Peter..maybe THAT’s why I don’t like you.

10. Peter Pan from Peter & Wendy by J.M. Barrie – Don’t get me wrong I love Peter Pan. I love the world of Peter Pan, I love the witty Britishism. I love the imaginativeness of it all. I just don’t love the character of Pan himself all that much. I was always so much more infatuated with Wendy and found Peter to be domineering, cold, sulking, uncaring and very much felt he was just as much the villain of the story at times as Hook. I’m having such great fun writing my YA sci-fi re-imagining of this world with my Petra as a strong kick-ass heroine and being able to finally write my Pan as I would want the character to be.

Ok, that completes this weeks top ten-ish list (see how good I am at cheating?) Let us know what you think. Did you have any of the same characters on your list? Leave us links to your Top Ten lists below!

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19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: I’m Just Not That Into You

  1. I am so glad that someone else put a Sara Shepard book on their list. I almost put The Lying Game on mine too, but PLL was just too much for me. I also really like your analysis of the HP characters. I’ve never had an opinion one way or the other on Cho or Ginny, outside of wondering if anyone didn’t marry someone they dated at Hogwarts (seriously, what if you don’t meet anyone at Hogwarts? Are you destitute for singledom??)

    • Lol I’ve had that same thought about Hogwarts. It seem to also serve as the official dating and matchmaking service for the magical world. And everyone absolutely stays with the person they were with in high school forever. Growth? Change? Why would a silly thing like that happen? Lol.

  2. As it happens, you have quite s few books that I haven’t read either! The Catcher in the rye is on my TBR but I know a lot of readers who find Holden annoying. I couldn’t agree more about Twilight, and Romeo and Juliet. I guess I have an issue with stupid teenagers in love haha!

    • Lol. I know. It’s easy to forget them, when we are so conditioned not to. And then we have pretty pretty Leo and Claire and Baz to try and make forget how simpering idiotic they were.

  3. You got lucky not having to read and ruminate over and analyze Holden Caulfield. Horrendous waste of my high school reading time, seriously. Anyway, lol you pretty much mentioned quite a few people I’ve banished from my mind. Romeo and Juliet were certainly characters I couldn’t deal with as well. I actually liked Divergent Four, though yes, I did want to kick him in Allegiant a few times. Never read Gatsby, but if the movie was any indication of Daisy’s vapid character, I’d so agree.

    • I actually think the movie painted Daisy in a more sympathetic light than the book. :/ And yah I didn’t read Catcher until well after high school. That would have been a torturous project then. Lol

  4. I love your list! Most peoples contained characters I wasn’t familiar with, but I agree with you on all of these ones that I’m familiar with..except Ginny I actually love her haha. I can’t stand Romeo and Juliet either I’m surprised I forgot about them..although Eleanor and Park is basically a modern-day version so maybe I kind of did?

    • I haven’t read Eleanor and Park yet so I can’t say but I saw them on a few lists. And I know a lot of people love GInny. I don’t hate her. I just think of all the characters in the book she well she is kinda the one you could lift out and stick in a YA Contemp love triangle book and I feel she’d be more in her element. She just had some growing up to do for me and I wish we would have got to see that.

    • I think with Shakespeare if you the take the play as a whole not just those two characters and their idiocy, you’ve still got something good. He’s a damn good writer and you always will, but you also have to remember he’s writing for the masses. He’s not trying to be fucking Shakespeare. He’s trying to be James Cameron! He wants to make a big splashy production that will get lots of people to the box office and maybe get him a seat at the Academy Awards ( or an audience with the queen ). On that level, what’s a little insta-love or aliens if it brings the audience to their feet? But he didn’t mean to leave us with all these pretty words with perfect timing and resonant themes that would last so long we’d still be discussing them today. That was a total fluke and I doubt he ever knew his own genius.

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