When I read a book, one of the most important factors for me is the characters. If I didn’t like a book, it is usually because I didn’t like the main characters, couldn’t relate to them, or that the characters were just not well-developed. Now, I understand that books need an antagonist and I can appreciate a well-written villain, but every now and then I come across a character that I just CANNOT STAND. Here is a list of some characters that I hated so much, my entire opinion of the book was tainted by them.
Please be warned – there are some significant spoilers if you have not read the books!
Jessie MacKay in The Bishop’s Man – If there is one thing I just cannot stand in books it is horrible parents. Perhaps my most hated example of this was, Jessie, MacKay, Danny MacKay’s mother, in Linden MacIntyre’s The Bishop’s Man. There were very few characters I actually liked in this book (for some reason they were ALL alcoholics – a little odd, no?), and the Bishop was one of the most despicable characters ever written, but for me Jessie was the worst. She knew her son was sexually abused as a child and COVERED IT UP so Willie could continue to look after Aunt Peggy! This is one of the most morally reprehensible things I have ever read. There were other options for Peggy’s care. This goes against everything a mother is supposed to be and represent – i.e. unconditional love, comfort, support, someone always in your corner, etc.
Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey – I am sure I am not the first to have chosen Christian as a most hated character, nor will I be the last. This is a character that sets women’s rights back 50 years…. Okay, I may be exaggerating, but he is still an emotionally abusive, controlling stalker who needs to keep his dom attitude to the bedroom. Now I am not opposed to whatever people’s sexual preferences are, but when BDSM strays over to every-day life – say buying your girlfriend’s company to know what she is doing at all times or getting mad at her for going to visit her mother and then FOLLOWING her there – it is a major problem.
Sara Fitzgerald (the mother) in My Sister’s Keeper – As I mentioned, poor parenting is an issue that gets under my skin in books. I understand that having a critically ill child must be one of the worst experiences in the world; however, in My Sister’s Keeper the mother completely alienates Anna and her brother Jesse while trying so hard to save Kate. She only viewed Anna as an organ donor for Kate and practically ignored Jesse. Instead of trying to understand where Anna was coming from when she launched the lawsuit, Sara just gets angry. As hard as it may be, the complete disregard of some of your children is not an acceptable reaction when dealing with a child who has a terminal illness.
Lyra Belacqua in The Amber Spyglass – In the first two books of His Dark Materials, Lyra was a strong, witty, spunky, and independent little girl with a nose for trouble and a mouth to match. By the last novel she was constantly deferring to Will for everything, running to him at the slightest problem and following him around like a puppy. I get it, she loved him, but what sort of example does it set for young girls when Lyra completely loses her own personality and ability to do ANYTHING because of a boy? Not one I want any future daughters of mine looking up to!
Dolores Umbridge in The Harry Potter Series – I am a cat person. I have two cats and cannot help but say “AWWWWW” anytime I see kittens. For a character to make kittens creep me out speaks for itself in terms of why I hate Dolores. Oh… and she was cruel, abusive, interfering, and condescending; she made Harry write “I must not tell lies” repeatedly with a Blood Quill, a.k.a. his own blood; she abolished quidditch; and she ruined the color pink for every little girl who has read the books.
William Hamleigh in Pillars of the Earth – This is the one case where although I most certainly despised this character, I still thought the book was amazing. Now for those who don’t know, William is a rapist, an attempted murderer, arrogant, selfish and all around sleaze ball with an unnatural relationship with his mother. He is just plain mean to pretty much everyone he meets and is violently abusive to all the women he comes across, except his mother. Every time I had to read about William Hamleigh I just wanted to scream and prayed for someone to just kill the *#&%$**^@^#*!
What literary characters do you despise?