February 10th, 2010

d field day

Middling on portraying teens in books...

Clearly I read a ton of young adult books. I tend to be pretty opinionated, as well, but it's rare that I read a book where I really don't like the MC. Of course, it's happened a couple of times -- twice, in fact, until this week. I just read my third MC that I CAN'T STAND. And again, it's for the same reason as the other two -- an incredibly self-centered and shallow teen.

What bugs me about this kind of portrayal is the fact (I consider it a fact) that I've never met anyone who's this self-centered. I don't understand how someone like this can star in their own story! I almost feel like the author decided he/she needed to show growth, and for some reason, the best way to do that is to write an incredibly selfish character who would then become more 'normal' by the end of the book.

If you're thinking of doing this, btw, I'd suggest you not bother. With all three of these books, the MC managed to become less self-centered/shallow in the final few pages of the story -- way too little and far too late. Yes, this is only my opinion, but it bothers me to read books like this, because teens (well, all of us, really) struggle with tunnel vision. They already think everything that happens affects them somehow -- and reading about a main character who is like that to the nth degree doesn't help at all.

It also doesn't help me, because now I'm wishing these characters were real so I could slap some sense into them (or maybe just rant at them for a while). Argh!!

Why do you think authors would create this kind of character? (Seriously, I need some answers.)