Less Than Perfect

My seven-year-old and I love Monster High. And one of it’s big themes is flaunting your “freaky flaws”. Of course, they’re all monsters, so it’s having things like green skin, snake hair, scales, fur, or fangs. In real life, I like my characters to be less-than-perfect too.

Right now, I’m a bit tired of dystopian fiction and wasn’t quite ready to pick up a new series. However, when I read a review of Rachelle Dekker’s The Choosing, I picked it because one of the main characters stutters. Now that I’m into the book there appears to be a psychological reason for this, and I’m dying to find out what it is. Please oh please don’t let this be a McGuffin. Because we all know I hate those creatures!

I am not a big reader of contemporary fiction/romance, but I decided to try Melissa Tagg’s From the Start based on the sample chapters. The heroine meets the hero while she’s in her pajamas and has traded her contacts for glasses. If I were a single woman, that would be my worst nightmare. That the heroine is nearsighted and not portrayed as a nerd like most characters who wear glasses won me over. I finished the book and want to read the entire series, because I’m now in love with the family and locale.

Two more books endeared me because of their main characters’ not-so-freaky “flaws”. I am going through the NPR 100 Best Young Adult Books list and selected Anna and the French Kiss. Oo-la-la. The heroine rocks a gap-toothed grin, and the hero has been equally untouched by an orthodontist. He’s also really short completely wrecking the YA boy hero archetype. The sequel, Lola and the Boy Next Door features another nearsighted heroine and a way-too-tall genius hero. NOTE: For those who read The Scriblerians for recommendations let me warn you that Anna and Lola are not Christian titles and contain a certain amount of objectionable content.

The irony of this post is that I too escaped orthodontic intervention (because I didn’t need it) and managed to make it to my mid-twenties before I needed glasses. Being a teen in the 1980s and then an engineering student, I graduated from college feeling a bit like a unicorn. Seriously what middle-class kid hasn’t suffered through braces, and engineers are known for being bespectacled nerds? Granted I fit into the second category although I almost always wear contact lenses in public, and I prefer being called a GEKE.

So what book did I just pick up from the library – Uglies?

Do less than perfect characters draw you in or do you prefer heroes and heroines to be idealized?

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2 thoughts on “Less Than Perfect

  1. I’m fortunate to come from a family with good teeth – only one of my 4 siblings required orthodontics and that was due to her teeth being too close together to allow her lower canines to come up. Hubby had braces but no glasses, I had glasses but no braces. So far daughter has dodged both bullets though the optometrist suggested reading glasses last year due to visual stress, not vision issues.

    Less than perfect characters are always best to me as too-perfect tend to be mary-sues. (Though it depends on the area – bratty characters, selfish characters and so on walk a fine line of likeability).

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    • Yes. I tire of too-perfect characters. I often find heroines to be too “selfless”. They always seem to be too quick to save the children, feed the homeless, speak up for injustice, etc. Most people are way more selfish.

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