Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Weekly Meme

From Booking Through Thursday:

Quirky January 31, 2008
Filed under: Wordpress — --Deb @ 1:33 am

This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

I think eccentric characters are at their best when their eccentricity feels organic. I blogged about young Oscar Schell in
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close a few weeks back. He's a great example of a totally believeable, totally eccentric character, as is Richard Russo's prankster English professor in Straight Man. You feel both like you've met someone like that before and like the character in question is a total one-of-a-kind original.

Eccentric characters annoy me when they're clearly just there for window dressing. In the book I'm reading right now, the main character's sister is clearly meant to be "the eccentric one," yet she's just like anyone you'd find in a small town, with her love of game shows, tarty clothing and men. She's full of folksy sayings and intimate knowlege of lawn mower prices (I'll explain in a few days). But she feels two-dimensional and cookie-cutter. I think it's because you never really get inside her head, or delve into her past to find out what made her the way she always (although I suspect that if we did, it'd be a combination of a fun-lovin' nature and a daddy who didn't pay her enough attention).

An "eccentric character" that's also noteworthy is Anna Madrigal, from the Tales of the City series. I hope I'm not spoiling the series for anyone by revealing that she was not born with that name, nor with that gender. It would've been easy for Maupin to make her into some sort of female caricature, like the drag queens you can see at clubs. But aside from her gardening hobbies (she grows weed and names her plants after famous women), she's pretty ordinary. She's not really eccentric, just a little quirky, like most people.

So those are some eccentric characters that stand out in my mind. What are your favorites?

1 comment:

pussreboots said...

It's been ages since I read Tales... I'd forgotten her name but not her habit of naming her plants.

I've listed four favorite quirky characters on my blog.