Oh, the power that authors have. They bring characters to life. If I don't like the characters, I usually don't like the books (Artemis Fowl-- are there any likable characters?). Betsy Ray, Anne Shirley, Alanna, Beany Malone-- they are all my friends. If I were much, much younger, I would want Alex Rider and Encyclopedia Brown to be my boyfriends. Certainly, there are many books that are driven by other factors. I liked Unwind because of the action and philosophy. I didn't like Raquel (yesterday), but it was interesting to read what others thought of her. The language is Fahrenheit 451 is beautiful, and Montag intrigues me. But when I read a book more that once, it is usually so that I can visit a friend.
Read Tarshis' Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree last night, and took an immediate, visceral dislike to her. She's quirky and priggish and if I met her in person I would probably want to slap her. It ruined the book for me. I didn't feel that she could really facilitate any meaningful change in her middle school. This book has gotten great reviews, the lovely woman who brings my book fix from the public library loved it, and I could not continue reading because of Emma-Jean. I even feel bad in that horrible way you feel when you can't like a coworker or neighbor even though that person might be very nice.
And you know, I've been missing Beany and wanting to read one of the books again, and I really do miss her in the way you miss a friend whom you don't see often. She must be my BLF-- my best literary friend. Guess what I'll be reading tonight?