Monday, February 19, 2007
ARE YOU AN ALI OR A JEANNE?
Perhaps one of the most interesting things that has happened to me since real people started
reading my novel was that I've heard very strong reactions to my two protagonists. Though both characters are flawed in their own way, most readers felt they could forgive--or perhaps even identify with--the plight and weaknesses of one character, but rarely both. By phone, in email, in person, and even in reviews, I've found that if one character was loved, the other was almost certain to be reviled.
It made me think that in many ways, both heroine and villain are very much in the eye of the beholder. What I particularly love about all this is the very direct way readers are engaging with these characters. They filtered their childhoods, their relationships with friends, lovers, spouses, and children through the prism of the novel, seeing light here, and shadow there. And how they felt about Ali and Jeanne depended on what their experiences had taught them, and how their inborn nature had formed them.
So just for fun, I decided to devise an Ali and Jeanne quiz:
1. What is your general pattern in paying bills?
a) Pay them promptly as soon as they arrive.
b) Put them in a pile with every intention of getting to them by the end of the month.
c) Treat yourself to an expensive bottle of wine, buy a lavish gift for a friend; then see what's
left over to apply to the bills.
2. Which best describes your attitude toward music?
a) Listen to it occasionally, especially in the car.
b) Love it, but I'm not as avid a listener as I once was.
c) Couldn't live a day without it.
3) How do you deal with problems in your relationships?
a) I would do almost anything to avoid conflict.
b) I choose my battles.
c) I believe in confronting issues immediately and directly.
4) Is sexual infidelity ever justified?
b) In certain cases, such as when partners are incompatible, and staying together out of necessity.
c) If the passion is strong enough, it's almost a duty to say yes to it.
5) If suffering from insomnia, how would you court sleep?
a) With a good novel that took me out of myself, and a prescribed sleeping pill.
b) A glass of wine, a good book, and a lavish bubble bath.
c) I would stay awake and consume the night.
The answers will be found in the comment section.
Meanwhile, the first person to guess whether I was an a, b, or c wins a signed copy of The Liar's Diary. Thanks for playing!