I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.
I feel like, as readers, we talk a lot about our favorite books and our favorite characters, and general things about books that we love... but one question that I personally have never been asked is which characters I've hated. Note - this is different from characters who I love to hate, like Bellatrix LeStrange in the Harry Potter series, but characters who I outright, absolutely despised. So I think that this Top 5 Wednesday topic is going to be a lot of fun and I'm so excited to share this list with you all! Sure, it's negative, but it's been fun putting it together and venting my feelings about these characters, who, in my opinion, are truly detestable.
1. Bella Swan from Twilight
Bella Swan was the very first character who popped into my mind when I sat down to write this list. There was a time in my life when I, like many other teenage girls, LOVED the Twilight series. Then, I eventually thought about what it's really about - a girl who falls in love with the guy who creeps on her through her bedroom window while she's sleeping, is torn between him and another guy with severe anger management issues, both of whom are potentially dangerous supernatural creatures, and then she finally decides to risk her soul to be with creepy guy #1. What I dislike the most about Bella is that she is completely dependent on being in a relationship. When she and Edward break up in New Moon, she loses it. She spends like 6 months (I think?) moping around and is borderline suicidal, because she doesn't know how to live without a boy who, by the way, she'd been dating for less than a year. It's a horrible example for high school and middle school girls to read about, especially since Bella's presented as a positive character. Aside from that, she's moody, whiny, and indecisive. I can't stand her, end of story.
2. Mr. Grote from Orphan Train
Mr. Grote is an absolutely despicable character - and in this case, he's supposed to be. He's the foster father who molests Niamh/Dorothy/Vivian, the girl who he's supposed to have taken into his home as his daughter. I don't think that much more of an explanation for why I dislike him is necessary, haha. However, as terrible as he is, I think that he's a good representation of Christina Baker Kline's abilities as an author, because she was able to create such a horrible character.
3. F. Scott Fitzgerald from Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
I want to emphasize that I don't hate F. Scott Fitzgerald himself, but rather this representation of him. It might very well be true to reality (I have no idea), but this book was written from Zelda's perspective, so this image of him might be distorted. At first, Scott is perfect (well, not perfect, but pretty awesome at the very least). But as the book progresses, he turns out to be a petty, controlling, adulterous alcoholic. He's truly detestable and the ending that he and Zelda have is heartbreaking. This portrayal of him is very well-written and I think that Therese Anne Fowler did a great job of showing what may have been Zelda Fitzgerald's view of things - because as awful as Scott became, like Zelda, I never gave up hope that the old Scott might still be hiding somewhere in his soul.
4. Annie from Misery
If you've ever read Misery by Stephen King, you know why I hate Annie. That woman is insane! And so scary! But, again, in this case, she demonstrates the author's skill in writing because the reader is supposed to hate her and fear her. This woman is what nightmares are made of (seriously - this book gave me nightmares).
5. James Bond in Casino Royale
Okay, hear me out on this one. I do not hate James Bond as he is in the movies that I've seen, and I have specified this particular book in the series because this is the only James Bond book that I've read and I don't think it's fair to say I hate all the literary versions of James Bond when this is the only James Bond novel that I've read (although, since they're all by Ian Fleming, he's probably the same throughout the book series). But while I liked this book far more than I liked the movie, this portrayal of James Bond infuriated me. First off, he was way too cocky - and yes, I get that he's James Bond, so he's kind of earned that, but still, it bothered me. But mostly I hate him because he's so sexist. I realize that it's partially because of the time when this book was written, but there was one part in the book when he found out that Vesper was going to be his partner on the mission and he said something along the lines of "I'm so mad that not only do I have a partner, but it's a woman. Women are stupid and they always screw things up." Obviously, this was written much more eloquently than that, but that's the gist. And it made me SO mad!!! He went on to basically say that all women are good for is sex. Seriously?! Ugh. What a pig.
And as a bonus...
6. Angel Clare of Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Okay, so Angel's on here as a bonus because I haven't finished Tess yet, and I don't feel like it's fair to count him as a "real" part of this list when I haven't finished the story. At this point, it's entirely possible I'm simply reacting to what I've just read like an hour ago - he could still turn himself around and maybe I'll like him again! But at this point where I am, he's spent the vast majority of the book proclaiming his love to Tess, and then she recently told him her deepest, darkest secret (which, incidentally, was a mistake that he'd made too and had only just confessed to Tess) and now he's completely changed his feelings towards her. I now think that he's a hypocritical jerk and I hope he meets a truly awful end OR that he sees the error of his ways and does some major sucking up to make up for his super mean behavior. Poor Tess :(
So, those are the top 5 characters who I hate the most. Which characters have rubbed you the wrong way? Did you have similar reactions to any that are on my list?
If you're interested in reading other Top 5 Wednesday lists or joining in on this yourself, click here.