It’s Top Ten Tuesday time! It’s a TTT Rewind this week, where any past topic is on the table. I chose Top Ten Dislikeable Characters (which, let’s just agree, should probably be Unlikeable, although that doesn’t quite sound like a real word, either, does it?). I will edit it a little further: Top Ten Characters That Drove Me Up a Wall. Imagery, friends. It is powerful.
Anyway. Read my list, then click on over to the Broke and the Bookish and see what they and many other book bloggers chose for this week’s list! And of course, leave a comment with a few of your (least) favorite literary characters.
1. Quentin Coldwater,The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman: Oh, Quentin. I’m so sorry that discovering that magic is real, and discovering that the magical realm of your childhood fantasy is also real, is not enough to keep you from being such a whining malcontent. It’s hard out there for a magician.
2. Edna Pontellier, The Awakening by Kate Chopin: I read this book once in high school and at least twice in college. Every time, from every interpretive angle (thanks, Methods of Interpretation), everything about Edna is boring. She doesn’t even have the decency to go out with a bang. So to speak. Mike nailed this one: a feminist book about a passive, passive woman. Give me Hedda Gabbler any day.
3. Nora Helmer, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen: And speaking of Ibsen . . . I can’t help loving Hedda, but Nora drives me nuts until the end of the play. If I ever have another daughter and name her Nora, I would do so with the caveat another set of parents used: “for Nora in A Doll’s House, after she leaves him.”
4. Miss Bates, Emma by Jane Austen: Miss Austen succeeds a little too well in her portrait of this excruciating woman. I hope I wouldn’t have treated her as poorly as Emma does in that painful picnic scene (badly done, indeed), but my goodness, is Miss Bates annoying.
5. Undine Spragg, The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton: I think this Amazon reviewer says it best: “Could there be a worse mother, wife, or daughter than Undine? And yet, she is too pathetic to hate; she is so needy and dependent upon material things. She’s perhaps the most unliberated woman in literature!” You guys, I disliked this woman so much that I flipped to the end of the book, confirmed that she would never, ever be satisfied, and immediately returned it to the library. I love Edith Wharton, but I do not love Undine Scragg. (Although: I do kind of love that name.)
6. Jessica Wakefield, Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal: Okay, so I sort of loved Jessica, because she was way more fun than serious, responsible, holier-than-everyone Elizabeth. But she also drove me up the wall, because she was . . . well, irresponsible, selfish, and all the bad things Elizabeth was not.
7. The Boy, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: And my goodness, speaking of selfish, all the boy does is take, take, take. He never writes, he never calls . . .
8. Curious George, generally: Seriously, this monkey drives me bananas. (Pro Tip: See what I did there?) I support curiosity and playfulness, but a monkey who goes around feeding bugles to ostriches and getting high on ether in the hospital is just too much for me.
And, I think I’m done at eight this week. Because I am actually a pretty easy-going person. Just leave your whining, your passivity, and your bugles at home.
Your turn: what characters in books, movies, or TV shows drive you up the wall?