Saturday, September 1, 2007

Confessing the Literary Crush

By Andi

Avid readers know that the literary crush is a widely known and experienced phenomenon. The literary crush in itself is an interesting--and non-readers might say pathetic--occurrence. However, for me, it's been a lifelong and repeating pattern. For most of the bookish women I know, the most prevalent crush is on Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice fame. For there's something so perfectly, distractingly, fascinatingly wonderful about Mr. Darcy that the bookworm girls of the world have a hard time leaving him to his respective pages. For he is a man so wonderfully written that he jumps right off the page and into our collective hearts and panties. He's suave, he's smart, he's just a bit of a jackass, and he loves Lizzie. Awww. It makes us swoon. Swoon I tell you.

My history of literary crushes began in my pre-teen years when I happened upon L.J. Smith's paranormal romance series, The Vampire Diaries. At the center of this delectable love triangle was a girl named Elena. When she begins her senior year of high school she notices a handsome, dangerous stranger in the midst of her orderly world. His name was Stefan, he was Italian, and he drove a fast car. But, as all good love stories progress, something had to go awry. Damon, Stefan's equally dark and brooding brother set his sights on Elena, and thus the turmoil began. Two hot vampires, one hot girl and a whole heap of trouble.

I suppose Stefan Salvatore appealed to my prepubescent heart for his self-loathing ways. He denies himself the pleasures of his vampire nature and as a result fed only on animals, that is, until Elena gave him a taste of what she had to offer. But that's another post entirely.

Stefan was dark and sexy and cursed. He was loving and protective and conscious of Elena's every need. And I suppose it didn't hurt that I had a particularly tight-bodied celebrity in mind every time I imagined him. Either way, Stefan holds a special place in my heart since he was the first written character with whom I became obsessed.

My new literary crush brings me almost full-circle to my adolescence. For it was in reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series that those hormonal reading days came screaming back to me. He's played the biggest role thus far in Eclipse. His name, Jacob Black, his ancestry, werewolf.

As he's described in the book, Jacob is a member of the Quileute tribe--6'7" tall with russett skin and shaggy black hair. That's one tall drink of water, kids. And beyond the yummy physical description, we get the angst. As a Quileute and a werewolf, he's forever the mortal enemy of any vampire, even the (relatively) innocent Cullen family. Which means he's the sworn enemy of Edward Cullen, Bella Swann's, our protagonist's, true love. And did I mention that Jacob is Bella's best friend? Yep, that, too.

Twisted? Oh yes. High school? Yep.

Does it matter? Hell no!

There's something so wonderfully tragic and sweet about Jacob that I just can't help but want to manhandle hug him. He's the best underdog (pardon the pun) that I've read in a very long time, and I can't help but wish he'd jump off the page and play space heater for me on a cold cold night.

Did I just type that out loud?

Anyway, if you've had any inclination to read Meyer's Twilight series, get your butt off the couch and run down to the nearest bookstore (or Wal-Mart) to pick it up. While Meyer's writing leaves a little something to be desired at times (some overused expressions, a boatload of teen angst, etc.) it doesn't matter. The story is involving and wonderful and if you're a hopeless romantic like myself, you will totally dig it. You'll be giggling like a 16-year-old girl before it's all said and done.

While there have been other literary crushes (I mentioned Mr. Darcy earlier and Mr. Knightly ranks high on the list), these two exotic, paranormal, mythological creatures stand out, heads and paws, above the rest. I suppose maybe it's the escapist nature of the reading, or perhaps my nostalgia for my younger days that provides such satisfaction in reading about the adolescent longings of love. And, as an adult, the shaky ground on which we build relationships and our lives in general, seems a little bit more stable when I'm engulfed in the tragedies, longings and failings of my most beloved fictional characters.


Carl V. said...

This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Whether it is Anne of Green Gables, Claire in The Time Traveler's Wife, or many characters in between, I take comfort in my literary crushes as well. Pathetic? Not in my book. ;)

Fence said...

Jacob is my favourite too. I haven't read Eclipse yet, I don't think it is out over here yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Literary Feline said...

I recently filled out a questionaire that included a question about a literary crush. As I sometimes to, I read the question out loud and my husband who I thought was engrossed in his computer game chime in, "Don't you dare say Mr. Darcy!" That's exactly who I was thinking of. I asked him how in the world he knew that and he gave that "duh, I'm your husband" look.

Anyhow, Darcy may be the first character I think of, but on the steamy chart, there's something about Kelly Armstrong's Clay . . .

I caved and ordered the three Stephanie Meyers books. They should arrive in today's mail.

aka_Nik said...

I have a HUGE crush on Edward. I heart him. I think it's something about how safe he makes Bella feel while still being unbelievably dangerous. What's not to love about that?