Allison's Book Bag

Random Tuesdays: What About Anti-Heroes?

Posted on: January 8, 2013

Do you prefer to read about heroes or anti-heroes in literature? I didn’t really think much about my opinion on that question, until I started trying to write some of my fiction about bad kids. That led me on a search for examples of fiction with anti-heroes. To my surprise, I own some favorites. That realization led me to start reading what others are saying on this topic.

For example, a few years ago, The Guardian ran an article entitled, “Whatever happened to juvenile anti-heroes?” Most of the article amounted to a promotion of the Flossie Teacake series. However, the article also raised the alarm that there are an alarming shortage of bad girls in contemporary books for young people. Gone the article bemoaned are the pranksters and tomboys. In their place are girls who are concerned with being slim, proper, and stylish.

Other similar articles have popped up too. For example, one blogger, wrote an article entitled, “In Praise of Anti-Heroes“. According to her, young adult literature is filled only of characters who are sympathetic and likable. Reasons exist for this trend such as no likes to root for bad guys and no parent wants their impressionable young child reading about delinquents.

I don’t know yet what I think. My most recent read, The Curse Workers trilogy, is all about a teen con and mobster. The first time I tried to read it, I stopped when I read the statement from the main character: “Here’s the essential truth about me: I killed a girl when I was fourteen.” It took me an entire year to give the trilogy a chance again. Even though this time that I decided I liked Cassel, I have to admit throughout all three books for Cassel to change. Yet the reality about anti-heroes is that they don’t, so next I plan to check out some of those favorites on my shelves such as Pippi Longstocking to see what I think of them now that I’m an adult.

In Praise of Anti-Heroes, Michelle Muckley says that people are flawed in real life and so our fictional characters should be too. This is one reason she likes anti-heroes. Certainly, there are days when I tire of reading about good kids. I never felt all that perfect.

What do you think of anti-heroes? Are you ready for them to make a comeback? And what are your recommendations for the best?

2 Responses to "Random Tuesdays: What About Anti-Heroes?"

Greeting, Allison!

The idea of the “anti-hero” is an interesting one. I do think both anti-heroes and heroes have flaws, but I suppose the appeal of the anti-hero is that he or she is a “regular” person who we can identify with more readily.

Thank you for doing a Really Random Tuesday post, and for adding your unique post to the Mister Linky! 🙂

The appeal of anti-heroes has come more apparent to me in my own attempts to write fiction. I got tired of writing about characters who always ended up making the right choices, because so many of the people I know regret far too many of their choices. Myself included!

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