In 28 years of reading, I have found only five characters that I deeply relate to. Not every aspect of them suits me, but as a white woman with plenty of cultural representation, I find it a little surprising I’ve only related to five so closely. I think it’s because I search for personal and societal representation more than cultural (though doubtless I would be more interested in cultural representation if I was not represented).
There is such a feeling of joy and comradery when I find a character that I love, who I see my own behaviors in, and who I emulate (for better or worse). I’m sure we all have a handful of characters we love to our core, whose mantras we repeat, and who we wish were real. There are a lot of characters I admire, but I don’t see myself in all of them.
From least similar, to most similar, these are my character doppelgangers!
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
While Hester and I are not alike in looks or even personality, we are alike in interest. Hester lives in Plymouth, MA and she works as a “historical interpreter” at Plymouth Plantations. Mes chers, if someone offered me a job like that and the pay cut wasn’t too substantial, I would be all over that job. I majored in History, love the story of humanity and its growth, and would really like to do something with my degree.
More than just her job, though… Hester cares about history. She cares about the past – both humanity’s and her own. With the small, cringe-worthy exception of that moment when she nonchalantly shove antiques in her backpack (ugh!), she and I have a similar reverence for history and that’s not something you see in most main characters. An interest in history is reserved for the mentors and old librarians in literature, which is a bummer.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Scarlet is perhaps not the best person to list as a doppelganger. Perhaps not the best person to look up to, considering how cold-hearted she can be. There is one thing to Scarlet that I can’t help but to admire, and that is her strength.
I’ve written about Gone with the Wind a couple times, although never about Scarlet herself. I’ve written about the love story, and about the journey (and both those posts are rather old). Scarlet, though? Scarlet inspires me. In many ways I would like to be a little more like her – rough-skinned and business savvy, but more than anything else I admire her unbreakable spirit. People have (I often believe mistakenly) told me I am a strong person, but I am not and will never be as strong as Scarlet. I can only try to find the strength to pick myself up over and over again.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
I chose the Chamber of Secrets version of Hermione because she has always best suited me. She’s intelligent, diligent, and she cares about her people. But she is not well loved, not really well-liked. At this point in her life, her only close friends are Harry and Ron.
But, despite her lack of popularity, despite the danger lurking in the halls, Hermione is proud of her intelligence. She was the one who taught us girls to be proud of how smart we are. Of course I adore her – who doesn’t? But I also see myself in her in the way she adheres to her random facts and library trips, even though it doesn’t make her the most popular girl in the room.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
Yes, I have two Harry Potter girls on here.
I love Luna because she is unapologetically herself, and I try to be that way too. Luna is sweet and kind and sentimental. She believes in things with a naive innocence, like the basic goodness in people or crumple-horned snortlacks. I’m like her in that I try to see the good in everyone, even if the good is small. Like her, I am also odd – I don’t dress fashionably and love riddles and value wisdom.
My favorite part of Luna takes place in a scene she isn’t even in. It is when the trio visit her house to talk to her father and they see her room. I think that the friends mural on her ceiling is amazing. It speaks to her bursting creativity, her loneliness, and her hope and love.
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
The character I most relate to in my history of reading is Tess Dombegh. I just discovered Tess and as you’ll note from the review earlier this week – I absolutely loved the book. Never in my entire life have I run into a character with life experiences so similar to my own. And she was going on an adventure of self-discovery and healing. Marvelous. Simply marvelous.
Tess struggles constantly with the line between self-care and selfishness. With her position in her family and her relationship to them. With the faith she was raised in. All of these things apply to me. Tess is resourceful and fearless, something I would like to be more of. All in all, I loved her and I am glad to have found my true literary doppelganger in so wonderful a character.
This week’s Book Blogger Hop prompt is:
Have you ever found yourself acting like a favorite character in a novel? If so, which one?
My short answer is that I find myself in many characters. Aching like Tess does. Repeating Scarlet’s line: “I won’t think of it today – I’ll think of it tomorrow, when I can bear it.” Scrutinizing things like Luna and researching them like Hermione. I can think of few better role models than those we find in books, for in them we are rewarded entire stories, successes and failures, love and loss.