05 October 2009

Do you cry when a character in a book dies?

Ok so this weekend I read Noel Hynd's novel "Conspiracy in Kiev" as you'll note from my last post. And while there was no sex (yay I won the bet!) there was a lot of flirting and bantering back and forth between characters. There were jealous boyfriend's, and jealous Ukrainian mobsters...and death. I mean you have to have death in a political/spy thriller right? I expected certain characters to die, or be kidnapped, but of course Mr. Hynd pulls a fast one on me. A totally unsuspected death in the novel.

And the most surprising thing out of the whole day was not that one character died. No, no, the most surprising thing to me was the fact that when I came home from bringing James (a 4 month old we have in our home now) from the doctor, my sister was up in our room all emotional about a character who died in a series she was reading! And since I hadn't yet read the death of the character in Hynd's novel, I was a jerk. I mean my sister is reading a YA series, Cirque du Freak or something like that and is almost done the series. A major character dies. All day she was complaining, "How could the author do this?" And of course I have to be a professional jerk and say, "Well you know, authors are really thinking of the story arc and character development and how could this one character develop if this other character was holding his hand the whole time?"

Is it silly to cry over fake people? See, I view it this way: we will never know the lives of FBI guys or Secret Service or CIA people, so in a way, when I get upset over the death of a character in a novel, I'm thinking: there is a chance that one of these patriots has died like this or in a similar way; and: isn't the world so unfair?

This is only one of the many reasons why my mother only reads memoirs and biographies. When she gets upset over characters in books, she wants it to be real people she has learned about and formed an attachment too, not fake people.

I give this book a Gold Star, not only for the emotional response it invoked, but because of a particular character's faith in God and the theme of long-suffering through out the novel. Bravo!

1 comment:

rustypants said...

i've never cried over the death of a character, but i was surprised when i cried over the pain and grief that the main character in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (by Jonathan Safran Foer) was experiencing. the whole book shook me pretty hard, to the point that i had to actually put the book down for a couple days.

it was an unusual book (and the crying was a first over a work of fiction). i recommend it, but with caution.