An Unpopular Cozy Reads discussion (#1): Horrible Characters aren't Always a Deal Breaker

February 25, 2019


Hello, friends!

So today I was really itching (in a 100% metaphorical way) to write a discussion post. What has brought forth this urge, you may ask...

Well, recently I finished my first book after a long, four month period of reading nothing but class assigned novels (big UGH). And that book happened to be The Secret History by: Donna Tartt. I've been hearing about this book non-stop on bookstagram... NON. STOP. So it must be good... right? 
To make a long story short, I finished it and ended up giving it a 4 star review. But, I have to admit, the characters were HORRID. 

We're not just talking occasionally annoying young adults who you really have nothing in common with. We're talking hypocritical, superiority-complex-having garbage young adults who say garbage things to people just because they're, you guessed it, G A R B A G E. 

There were some parts in the novel where I was struck with the overwhelming urge to slap not one, not two, but literally ALL of the characters. 

Yet, I'm still here today to share with you my unpopular opinion:

Horrible Characters don't Always Ruin the Book

Okay, I know what you're thinking. 

"Faith, you literally just spent 5 hours ranting about how the characters are garbage humans."

Yes, yes I did.

I've been doing a lot of thinking on this since The Secret History isn't the first time I've felt this way. I actually tend to feel this way a lot with classic novels. The main classic novels that come to mind are The Great Gatsby and The Scarlet Letter. (Yes I actually enjoyed both because I'm a NeRDy WeIRDO OKAY). 

I didn't find either of those novels to have likable characters.

But I've come to a conclusion as to why I still enjoyed these books: The characters may not be likable, but they're fascinating  

It's kind of like watching a car crash happen and, while you're horrified by what's happening, you can't look away. 

As someone who's interested in psychology, it's fascinating to read about human beings who are, as I've mentioned a thousand times before, garbage. These characters may not be good people, but they are complex people. And, in my most humble opinion, complex horrible people only add depth to a story. You may not like them, but it's clear the author made them this way to serve a purpose. 

Now, don't get me wrong. There's a H U G E difference between complex horrible characters and dry, poorly written, unlikable characters. An example of this would be the mc from The Heir by: Kiera Cass. Not only was she a brat, but she was a shallow brat who was just the worst for NO REASON. 
*I was just sitting there reading that book like, "WHO MADE YOU LIKE THIS?! STOPPING BEING SUCH A LITTLE WAD TO EVERYTHING THAT MOVES." lol sorry I haven't read that book in a hot second but it still makes me mad. 


I don't want to make this post too long (since I know long posts can be a bit overwhelming to read through) but I'm excited to hear y'all's thoughts on the subject.


Do characters that are horrible human beings automatically turn you away from a book? Why or why not?

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a magical day!

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