Dear Book Boyfriends,
The other week I wrote a letter to Nancy Drew, the female character that influenced my life the most. I thought it fitting to also write a letter to the male character who influenced my life.
I couldn’t name any of you.
All my male book influencers just turned out to be book boyfriends. A shallow relationship that made my heart pump a little faster but left my soul untouched.
This included all of you–from Flynn Rider to Lewis from Meet the Robinsons to John in I Am Number Four to Jonas in The Giver to Kvothe. Don’t get me started on Ender’s Game. The kid is, like, 6? 8? I’m not convinced you’re that young, Ender.
Martin the Warrior from the Redwall series–You were my first book boyfriend, despite being a mouse. Love knows no forms. You are a hero and a warrior and a legend and showed me sometimes, despite all the heroics, life can still be a tragedy. And he have a sword. Any guy with a sword earned book boyfriend points from me. Also, I pretty much had book crushes on all your otter friends. I wasn’t even faithful within your series.
Eragon from the Inheritance Cycle. You were brave and had a dragon. Enough said. Plus, your series was one of my first tastes into the epic fantasy field. Hook, line, sinker.
Peter from the Narnia series. Because—bravery and King. Maybe I was more in love with your power than anything else. Oops.
Both Chase and Finn from The Unicorns of Balinor series. Shout out to you both. (And, for context, Chase is a unicorn, y’all.)
Obviously, if I liked the story and I liked you as the main dude, we were destined to be in a literary romance together.
Despite my varied taste, I’m not sure why I only saw all of you as book boyfriends rather than influencers when I can name a whole host of female characters that influenced my life. I know you had more to offer me than what I saw in you.
But now that I think about it, maybe this is another reason why we need to have diverse representation and gender equality in our fiction. I didn’t realize until now, but I have a feeling I will always judge some of you based on your book boyfriend potential. You are more than this, and I’m sorry. Your author definitely deserves an apology from me. But maybe that’s why I need other types of characters too, to help me see past that judgement and get to the heart of who you as a character are.
But maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. Maybe because I saw you and your world, I collected you as a book boyfriend. I don’t know.
Either way, I’m sorry for not being the best reader, boys. I’ll keep trying to do better.
Does anybody else have this problem? Does anybody else have trouble seeing past the romance potential to see to the true character? Please tell me I’m not the only one.