One of the blessings of being book obsessed AND an author for a living is, I am always able to find people I can relate to. Granted many of those people don't actually exist in real life, which is sort of depressing if you think about it too much (so I choose not to.) But....it is also sort of uplifting to know that different authors and screenwriters out there have managed to create characters that just make sense to me, which means... someone like me exists out there is someone else's imagination.
Which means I'm not that obsolete.
Here are some of the characters I've managed to relate to over the years. I hope my list will not only explain my own personal brand of weirdness to each of you, but will also prompt you to consider which fictional characters you relate to the most. If for no other reason, other than that it's fun, think about it.... who do you relate to?
1.) Lucy VanPelt.
Lucy is crabby. I am, too. Just ask my husband and children. Actually, you could probably ask most of my extended family, too, and they would likely agree. I've been told that when I was a little girl, I was as "grumpy as a bear," thus creating my father's nickname for me: Bear. But in my defense, I don't mean to be crabby all the time, just like Lucy doesn't mean to. She is suffering with often being regarded as a leader, but very few people actually listening to her. She is suffering with unrequited love. She offers psychiatric advise that nobody takes. Often times nobody even pays attention to her, unless she's screaming, and losing her crap. (I can relate to this on a deep, menacing level, as I have struggled with this issue my entire life.)
Elphaba (from the book, Wicked by Gregory McGuire) was a dark, sinister character. She did bad things, the wrong things, and self sabotaged herself on the regular. She wanted a good life, wanted nice things...but couldn't bring herself to choose the right regularly enough to actually succeed. Musical Elphaba was every bit as cynical and downtrodden, but had a much more positive outlook, and the ability to do the right thing, whereas the book character didn't. I can relate to Elphaba because I, too, tend to self sabotage. When things are just too good, I'll blow it. I always do. And if asked, I will always self deprecate. I do not believe that people believe in me, and when I'm told otherwise, my first thought is usually: what's in it for them? "I'm not that girl." <3
3.) Susan Hefley.
My kids tell me--all the freaking time--that I bear an uncanny personality resemblance to the mom on The Wimpy Kid movies. Apparently (according to said children who won't be receiving their allowances for a month for saying this) I am geeky and enthusiastic, but clueless. I want to connect with my kids, but my efforts are often lame and childish. I can't dance. I was, at one time, obsessed with miniature Lightening McQueen cars because our youngest would WAIL without having one in each hand--much like Manny's tingy. I am every bit as exasperated by my children as Susan, and I usually "wear glasses" like she does, too.
Wow. Just wow.
4.) Gertie, from Poor Gertie by Larry Bograd.
Poor Gertie was one of my favorite books when I was a kid. I read it again and again and again, and even bought a copy online as an adult--it's out of print, so it was a big deal. Years later, one of my children took the book outside for some reason and left it. It rained and it got water logged and ruined. I was devastated. Utterly destroyed. Anyway, when I read about Gertie as a kid, I related to her so much, because she wasn't popular in school--I was at the bottom of the heap, as well. She came from a family living in poverty--I was from a very poor family, too. She only wore hand-me-downs--I didn't own a thing that hadn't been previously used. And she used art to escape her life--just like me. (I used to cartoon all the time.) When I read Poor Gertie, I felt a familiarity that I never felt with anyone or anything else, and her life with her mother and Grandpa became home for me.
5.) Luna Lovegood.
Much like Luna, I, too, never fit in. I was weird, said the wrong things at the wrong time, wore stupid, eccentric clothing, and often left my peers giving each other side eye, and saying "Oooo-kay?" when I walked away. Unfortunately for me, I was never as proud and pleased with my weirdness as Luna was in both the books and the movies, something I *wish* I could go back and fix. Like Luna, I was teased, often mercilessly. Boys gleeked at me all the time, which, in case you're unfamiliar, is essentially spitting. Boys literally spat on me during every class, throughout all of middle and high school. Kids detested me because I was the little sister of two popular athletes, but was so awkward and weird and socially inept that I legitimately enraged them. "How could she possibly be related to Joe? What the h*ll?" I wish I'd found my self acceptance the way Luna did. I wish I'd become part of the crowd who defeated Voldemort the way she had. But alas, I just stayed very, very awkward for my entire adolescent experience. Reading the tidbits about Luna saying things that irritated Harry and Ron, or watching how the other kids hid her shoes in one of the movies brought tears to my eyes. It's a lot less fun to live as Luna in the real world.
What fictional character do you most relate to? Take some time and try to figure it out. It's nice to know you're not alone, even if the folks you're the most like exist only in someone's imagination...