Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Make Meagan's Family Look Like Saints

So this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic from The Broke and the Bookish is what characters I (Meagan) would like to have in my family. I think this is an awesome topic, but since I already answered a similar question about my fictional best friends and feel like there would be quite a big overlap on this topic, so I'm going to turn it on its head and instead write about characters that make my actual family members look like saints. (I love my family for the record, but we've definitely had our moments. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about :) It's an odd, jumbled list mostly composed of what first came to mind, but then again, so are most of my lists :)

So, if you want to read about the original topic, click on that link up there. If you want an excuse to hug your family members, read on...

1. James Taggart - This one came immediately to mind because I'm rereading Atlas Shrugged right now (so look for that review in the next few weeks) and every time he opens his mouth I want to punch it closed again. I'm not usually so violent a person, but he makes me so mad and if I, like Dagny Taggart, had him as a brother, I would never be able to handle him with so much poise.
2. Bella Swan - Hate me all you want, but I. Cannot. Stand. Her. Being inside her head for a few hours was bad enough. Sharing a room with her through her entire angsty adolescence would have driven me mad. I don't think it's a coincidence that she's an only child.
3. Hattie - This evilest of all ugly stepsisters almost jumps off the page in all her bald, warty, bad-breathed glory. Reading about her in Ella Enchanted was one of the first times I remember crying a few tears of frustration and how truly unfair the treatment of a fictional character was. I shudder at the thought of such a sibling to this day.
4. Any female protagonist in Iris Johansen's books - So, yes, this is a broad list. And I should state that I actually really like first several books in the Eve Duncan series, but lately even she is beginning to get on my nerves. I've found most of Johansen's recent books to be astonishingly formulaic where the female acts stubborn, refuses to listen to common sense, makes things worse, then doesn't even apologize about all the work it takes everyone else to get her out of trouble. Never mind being an annoying sibling, I only hope I never have to be a mother to such a troublemaker. (Knock on wood.)
5. Aunt Louisa/Professor Morton - Eva Ibbotson's villains are on the whole decidedly mild, giving the reader a guilt-free opportunity to enthusiastically dislike them without expending energy on anger, but in A Company of Swans this duo of guardians poor Harriet Morton are truly evil. Vacillating between neglect and willful abuse, these two manage to crush Harriet's spirit and almost take her life and make me shudder over horrible aunts and fathers in general.
6. Sarah Reed - And speaking of horrible aunts, what a piece of work. Anyone who willfully hurts an already heavily abused niece as her last act on earth deserves a special place of honor you know where. How Jane Eyre manages to maintain her proud equilibrium is beyond me.
7. Darcy Rhone - I just saw the trailer for the movie version of Something Borrowed and it reminded me that Darcy is a perfect example of that privileged girl we love to hate. There are hundreds of books that have a Darcy. The girl who has everything, but finds it still isn't enough so she has to stick her claws into your stuff too and it's somehow your fault. Whether as a sister, a supposed best friend, or even a cousin you see on a blessedly infrequent basis, she's one piece of work I'm thankful isn't hanging on my wall.
8. Elizabeth Gilbert - Okay, confession: I had Eat, Pray, Love on my TBR pile, but I saw the movie on a flight back from England and immediately removed it. I couldn't stand her character in the movie, and after asking around, a found out the consensus of my reading friends whose opinions I trust was that she's just as obnoxious, only for hundreds of pages. I'm sure there are great themes of empowerment, and nobody is more interested in food or peace of mind than I am, but I found her sense of entitlement unacceptable and untenable in a family member.
9. Rebeckah Emerson - I've always love Ann Rinaldi's historical fiction, and I think she does an especially good job of portraying family relationships in Time Enough For Drums. Politics heats up the blood in our family and we are all fairly similar in our views, so I can't even imagine how hard it would be to be a family on the opposite sides of a war. But I think Rebeckah takes her differences of opinion a bit too far. She goes beyond believing she is right to personally attacking her sister Jemima, and deliberately tries to shame and guilt her. What a gem, right? Some Tories had viable reasons for their support of the British Crown, but she sure doesn't do anything for their image.
10. Dolores Umbridge - It seems like no list is complete without a reference to Harry Potter, and I think she represents the worst of the worst. Never mind you know who's desire to kill Harry, Dolores just wanted to hurt him. And she did it in the most sadistic way possible. Carving his skin with a pen? Really? I can't imagine what a horrific childhood she had that made her so awful; I'm just glad I didn't have to share it!