Monday, February 9, 2009
If Mitch Rapp and Jack Reacher got into a fistfight, who'd win?
For those of you who don't know, Mitch Rapp is the supreme counter-terrorism agent and ultimate tough guy in Vince Flynn's thrillers. And Jack Reacher is the former military police officer, now wanderer, hobo and also ultimate tough guy from Lee Child's books. Anyone who reads these would probably think neither would win, or whoever gets in the first punch (which would be neither since both of these guys are too guarded to allow it).
This brings up the question, how real do you like your characters? Both of these guys are almost superheroes. They can do things you and I can't. They are smarter than anyone I know, and tougher too. But I love them. When I finish one I can't wait for the next. I'd have a hard time saying who I liked better. The books are equally good in my mind. I would probably perfer to have lunch with Jack Reacher since I think Mitch Rapp can be kind of a jerk at times. But they are both better than real. That's why I can't stand the "normal guy" characters of Harlan Coben. Even though I can't put his books down, I always feel a little disappointed at the end.
On the flipside, when I am reading more literary or dramatic books, I prefer my characters to be more real. You know that feeling of sadness when you finish a great book and you are suddenly overwhelmed knowing that you won't ever see those characters again. I still think about Fos and Opal from Evidence of Things Unseen and it has been several years since I read it. Holden Caulfield and Phoebe from Catcher in the Rye still talk to me as well.
Who are some of the characters you have loved?