Unsympathetic Main Characters are everywhere.
And so they should be.
Why are they everywhere? Could it be something to do with art imitating life, d’you suppose?
And for some reason I’m drawn to them. Right from my Heathcliff-ian beginnings (and whilst we’re up on the Heights, Hindley Earnshaw wasn’t exactly Pollyanna, was he?) through Ebenezer Scrooge and bang up to date with Draco Malfoy and my favourite recent cow, Darcy from Emily Giffin’s ‘Something Blue’.
But there are loads of others.
I’ve been reading a lot of teenage stuff lately – purely because I’ve been writing a bit of it too and it’s good to be ‘down with the kids’ *ironic snort – just in case anyone thinks I really DO talk/think like this*. And whether it’s simply attitude on the part of the teenaged MC or whether it’s the intention of the author to straightaway spark the attention of the reader with the brusqueness and uncaring attitude of the MC to make them keep reading, for me it works.
OMG, it’s almost akin to the John&Edward debacle, I’ve just realised. It’s so bad you have to keep watching or in this case, reading. Because you kind of hope it will get better or at the very least start displaying some redeeming qualities that will finally make sense of it all and turn you into a happy-er bunny.
The teenaged MC’s I’ve been reading are generally horrible about their parents, some of them bully their peers and almost none of them have anything kind to say about life and those who inhabit it at all. They’re just out for what they can get. None of this Famous Five nonsense where everyone loves everyone else and they all meet up in the Hols and bring sandwiches wrapped in tea towels, lashings of ginger beer - oh, and a friendly neighbourhood dog.
I have a feeling Enid would’ve liked today’s unsympathetic MC’s. And I think she’d have had balls enough to announce this assent.
And at the end of the day (God, did I really say that and mean it?) isn’t that what a good book’s all about anyway? Not trying to ram the writer’s moral judgement down a reader’s throat but politely hinting at the premise that everybody, however nasty they may appear at the outset, could turn out to have at least one redeeming quality which will eventually endear and transform a car crash story into something with more than a little uplifting hope.
And we all love a bit of hope, right?
My NaNo novel has an unsympathetic MC. And she has more meat on her than five Pollyanna’s squished together in a blender and turned to warp speed.