Question: Who is the most annoying character ever?
Holden Caulfield is whiny for sure, but he never haunted me like Lee Fiora from Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep. Lee is simultaneously the most annoying and the most terrifying character I have ever encountered. She reminds me of all the worst parts of myself, plus things that I never imagined all those quiet girls might be thinking behind my back. Lee is aggressively passive, so compliant and impressionable she makes me want to scream. Her real personality, the one she submerges in her thoughts, is judgmental and outright cruel. It's clear that Lee hates herself, but she projects that hate on everyone around her and her prep school world is a nightmare. The only "good" thing is when she finally gets together with her longtime crush, but that turns out to be the most corrupt, tainted thing of all, as she allows him to take advantage of her body and leave her nothing in return.
By the first time I finished the book, I was sick of Lee and her constant complaints and judgments, but like a trainwreck, I returned. The writing is painfully and honestly real, and what makes her annoying brings her back to mind again and again, as a reminder of who I never want to be.