Saturday, January 5, 2013
When Fictional Characters Cause Less Than Fictional Feelings...
We've all been there. You're right in the middle of a good book, thoroughly enjoying what's going down, when suddenly [insert crazy happenstance here]! Before you know it, you're feeling all kinds of feelings that you didn't know you could even feel! You're crying, or laughing, or yelling, or throwing things, or maybe doing all of these things at once. Then, maybe later on, you sit down and seriously ponder what other people do with their lives and if perhaps you should get into that stuff. Then you think, Nahh! and go back to the emotional train wreck-edness. It just happens.
Of course, this kind of thing doesn't happen with every book, and it certainly doesn't happen the same way in every person. I know that when it comes to me, I've been having a tendency to experience this less and less (unfortunately), but that I'm now having this experience while reading Les Misérables. Honestly, I'm not even to page 200 yet, and I already feel like if I have to endure any more misery, I'm gonna burst! I'm looking at you, Fantine. I don't think there's even a number large enough to illustrate how many times I've gasped/yelled/moaned/"poor thing"-ed! Seriously, reading Victor Hugo ruins lives, kids. And don't you forget it.
I can also remember a time when I was reading some book or other, and I was maybe holding a certain electronic device in my hand and checking Pinterest when--suddenly--a character unexpectedly died! I was so shocked that a jolt went through my entire body, and I heard a mysterious thump! against the wall. I then realized that said electronic device had gotten thrown in the midst of my spasm (it was uninjured, don't worry). Reading ruins fragile objects, too, kids.
As crazy as some of this stuff must sound (especially to non-readers) I think that these experiences and emotional investments are part of what makes reading so amazing. I don't think that I would ever look to books for entertainment if I didn't get so wrapped up in them that they made me laugh or feel all kinds of elation; I don't think I'd look to books if they didn't make me sad or even angry, either. Part of the magic of reading is being able to get so lost in a world that isn't your own that you start to forget that it isn't your own in the first place! It's a truly a beautiful, beautiful thing!
So, what do you think? Do you have some emotional experiences to share about fiction feeling exactly the opposite of that? Please share: I'd be happy to hear about them! (: