Aug 20, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 25

Day 25: The Character You Most Relate To

Over the past 25 days of this challenge, I've mentioned character a lot. I love character development. I can't say it enough. So when I read a book that gives me complete relation to a character, that makes me feel as if I am the character, then I obviously don't want the book to end. I almost feel like I should read it slower to make the feeling last longer. 

Today is another day of indecision; once again I'm picking two, and for very similar reasons. Candy Quackenbush from Clive Barker's Abarat, and Isabella Strand from Molly Beth Griffin's Silhouette of a Sparrow, are my two most relatable characters.

I'm not choosing Candy Quackenbush because she is from small-town (Chickentown, to be exact) Minnesota, but because of her desire and passion for the eccentric, the adventure, and the risk. Other than that, I'm probably not much like her, but since the books are all about the eccentric, the adventure, and the risk, I find her extremely relatable. Her desire for something more, and to leave the small town with it's mundane, cyclic lifestyle behind for something exciting. And when she does, she jumps at it (literally). I grew up in a small town that had that cyclic feeling, and I needed something bigger---something adventurous. My adventure just wasn't quite like Candy's journey to another world.

Silhouette of a Sparrow is, oddly enough, another MN setting (just can't escape my roots, I suppose!), but it's set in the 1920s--The Flapper Era. Oh how I wish I were born in that era! The clothes, the parties, the feminist movements, the major changes in society and industry...I would have fit right in. But my point is that Isabella Strand also possesses that desire and passion that I find so endearing. She's a flapper girl through and through, and she isn't afraid to be true to herself regardless of what people may think. She's selfless in so many ways, but when she wants something out of life, she's a go-getter. I related so much to Isabella and to some of the themes of this novel, that I was the boring girl reading a book on the couch during our Fourth of July vacation! This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone. 


“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” 

Are you all familiar with the concept of a doppelgänger? It's the person in the world that is similar to you at every level: physical, mental, spiritual, etc. Some think that there's a doppelgänger for everyone. That there is one other person in this world that is exactly like you, is basically your soul twin. I'm not sure if I believe it, however cool the concept may be, but I will say there are some frighteningly alike people in this world. I have yet to meet my doppelgänger.

But I've read about someone who's eerily close.

Daniel Sempere is the protagonist of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's loosely tied series that began with The Shadow of the Wind, one of my favorite novels of all-time. Set in 40s Barcelona, Zafon's book chronicles Sempere's coming-of-age story as the son of a bookseller. Predisposed to the narrative--given our shared background in books--Daniel quickly became a soulmate of mine. He's curious, intelligent, stubborn, kind, and slightly introverted. Personality wise: we're twins. His moral ground is solid, though subject to tectonic activity, and he's not afraid to take risks, to make mistakes, to feel silly. Daniel is not only the character I relate most to, he's also who I learned to be human from.

I know that sounds dramatic, and probably unbelievable. Yet, from the first time I finished the prologue of The Shadow of the Wind, I felt something change in me.  At 14, with a ARC of the book, in a giant, appallingly upholstered chair--green with bait and tackle designs--, I remember thinking that a massive shift was going on while I read. Even now, reflecting, I can feel every part of that moment when I too was introduced to the Cemetary of Forgotten Books, and just how powerful a connection can be. 

He may not exist somewhere outside of the bound pages of Zafon's book, but Daniel Sempere is the closest I've ever felt to finding my doppelgänger.


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