Does Relatability Affect Your Enjoyment of a Book?

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My friend Megan and I were talking a few weeks ago about music and The Weeknd came up. I love his music, his voice, his CD’s so I’ve been listening to a lot of him over the past 2 months especially since his new CD came out. Megan mentioned that she didn’t really like his music because she couldn’t relate to it at all and it got me thinking. If you’ve never heard any of his songs, let me just tell you he sings a lot about drugs, sex, and fame. I’ve never done drugs and my only claim to ‘fame’ is one time I came out in the newspaper as a kid because I fell asleep on a balloon while my parents Christmas shopped the day before Christmas at the mall. ‘Sidewalks’ didn’t save my life, who am I kidding, my mom would never even let me play outside unless it was in our fenced in backyard and my dad was keeping an eye on me. And even then I was never much of an outdoor kind of kid (I preferred reading). I don’t have anybody ‘Six Feet Under trynna get that fucking paper’…in all honestly, I don’t even know what the fuck that means!  So no, I can’t relate to his music at all, but I still love it and I sing my heart out to it almost all day.

When it comes to books and relatability, it’s a little bit different. For the most part, a lot of things don’t really bother me in books. I can handle drugs, drinking, partying, cheating (to a certain extent) even though I don’t do any of that in real life.  But when it comes to addictions, I just can’t handle it. I don’t have any addictions (unless Pinterest counts) and I don’t know anybody that does, so it’s not like it’s a touchy subject for me, but I just can’t stand books with characters that are addicted to drugs, drink, sex or a self-destructive behavior. (One of the series I didn’t like Addicted To You)

As much as I love being able to relate to a character, there are times when that puts me off too. When Obsidian first came out, I (and most book bloggers) were amazed that there was actually a book character that not only loved to read but also blogged about books. That was a big reason I liked the book, but somewhere along books 2 and 3, that same thing ended up getting on my nerves. I was like ‘ok, you love books, you blog about books, we get it!’  I feel like since then, the ‘book lover’ MC has become more and more common and I always find myself rolling my eyes at it.  I love being able to find book characters that are similar to me in traits or attitude, except for those times when what we have in common are bad traits…

I guess for me, I don’t really mind if I can relate to a character or situation in a book. In some situations, being able to relate to a book sure can be an added bonus, but most of the time, as long as I enjoy the book I don’t really care. I guess part of the reason that I love kick ass girls in books so much is because I wish I could be like that in real life. Even though I was more of a Lissa Dragomir, I desperately wish I could be like Rose Hathaway instead.  That may be part of the reason I kind of hate Lissa actually… Most of the time, some of my favorite books and characters are the ones that are the complete opposite of me and that I can’t relate to at all!

What about you? Do you prefer books/characters that you can relate to? Or does not being able to relate to them affect your ability to connect/enjoy the book?  Do you like characters that are similar to you or the opposite of you? Let me know in the comments!

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...