Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Most Annoying Character Ever

Question: Who is the most annoying character ever?

My Answer:

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.


Marie said...

whew. sounds pretty awful, but it also sounds like a pretty well-written book! not surprised, sittenfeld's other stuff is awesome.

Biblibio said...

Characters I've truly despised often appeared in books that I really, really didn't like (often because of the angry relationship I formed with the characters). Wish Her Safe at Home had one of the most annoying (and painful) characters I've encountered in a while, while one of the long-running champions of annoying characters is, of course, dear Holden...

Good writing can make even an annoying character a source of thought and inspiration, even if it's only by avoiding their character traits. Sounds like Prep might have had that.