Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Remind Me of Myself

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

My answers this week will be a mixed bag of books, TV shows, and films. This topic was a little challenging for me, but I enjoyed brainstorming for it. Let’s see if I can come up with the full ten answers!

1. Karana from Scott Odell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins

While we grew up in completely different environments, we were both pretty independent kids. When I was in the fourth grade, I randomly decided to try walking home from school on a different route one day so I could see some new houses. After I got lost,* I asked a friendly-looking stranger to walk me back to my elementary school, went home the proper way, and then didn’t tell my parents this story for 20+ years.

*This happened before cellphones were something the average family owned, so it’s not like I could call home or my parents could see where I was through GPS tracking.

2.Amélie from the French film Amélie.

The protagonist of this movie was a shy, young woman who decided to perform random acts of kindness for the people around her for the sheer joy of it. I see a lot of myself in her.

3. Willow Rosenberg from the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow was the nerdy, bookish best friend of the Buffy, the main character in this series. I identified so strongly with Willow’s love of learning and occasionally awkward moments. The fact that we both came out of the closet after high school only made me adore her more.

4. Luna Lovegood from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

Luna was such a creative free-thinker. I wish she’d gotten more of a chance to shine in this series! I sure thought she was delightful, and many of the fanciful things she said reminded me of stuff I’ve thought and sometimes said out loud myself.

5. Alice from Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love

Alice’s love of the library is what originally drew me to her. I dreamed about working at a library for a long time, and I see so many similarities between us when it comes to how we like to temporarily lose ourselves in a world of books (in a good way).

6. The Hsu, Jong, St Claire, and Woo families from Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club

Being an immigrant is such an interesting experience. You transition from “belonging” to one culture to feeling equally part of two (or more) of them and switching between the mindsets you develop for each one. It can be tricky to explain how this can change your perspective on life to people who haven’t been through it, but I found so many similarities between these characters and my own life.

7.  Joanna from Jaye Robin Brown’s Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

This is a book I’m currently reading about the queer daughter of a pastor. Not only do Joanna and I have those two things in common, we both seem to have quirky personalties as well. She seems like she’d be a great person to hang out with.

8. Jane Eyre from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

Jane and I are honest, dignified people who love learning practical and impractical things. She also struck me as someone who was quite skilled at avoiding gossip, and I truly respect that about her. I try to act just like her when a conversation begins to turn in that direction.

9. Lily from Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Lily had such a sweet, gentle personality. She reminded me a lot of how I behave when I’m trying to make a good impression on people. Her strong creative streak also reminded me of myself.

10. Shasta from C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy

Fair warning: this book contains some language and descriptions that modern audiences would rightfully describe as xenophobic. I believe you can love a story while also acknowledging its flaws, and I’d like to think that C.S. Lewis would have written it very differently if he’d lived in our era.

With that caveat out of the way, I’ve always enjoyed the way Shasta reacted to the thought that talking horses might really exist. He was skeptical at first, of course, but he accepted it a bit faster than other people might have. I think I would have done the same thing at his age! His wary sense of adventure also reminded me of myself.

We enjoy them…but we also would be perfectly content to sit at home and eat dinner instead. Ha!

105 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Remind Me of Myself

  1. It’s been so long since I read Island of the Blue Dolphins. I really related to Karana, too, though. I love that out of all the characters in HP, you relate to Luna the most! She was a fabulous character, and I loved her uniqueness. 😀

  2. Though I haven’t officially “met” any of these characters, just by your descriptions, I also feel like I can relate to a few of them.

    • It’s nice to meet another Willow fan. Yeah, Luna got much more attention today than I thought she would! that’s very cool.

  3. I was going to put Jane Eyre on my list but Jane makes such a hard decision that I’m not sure I could emulate. And I LOVED The Island of the Blue Dolphins! I have to re-read it soon.

    As for The Horse and His Boy, it’s one of my favourites. Could you tell me how Lewis is being xenophobic in this tale? I’m curious …

    • I hope you enjoy rereading Island of the Blue Dolphins. I should do that, too.

      So Lewis’ descriptions of the Calormenes had a lot of cringe-y moments. From what i recall, their society, religion, (and the vast majority of the dark-skinned characters in it) were described as aggressive and violent. The light-skinned characters in that book were generally the good guys. When you combine that with the fact that a lot of the descriptions of the Calormenes are pretty close to some Middle Eastern cultures, it starts looking kind of suspicious from a 2019 perspective even thought I don’t think Lewis intended to be offensive in any way when he was writing it.

      I really like Lewis’ work in general, but I think he missed the mark with those aspects of his storytelling here even though I definitely do enjoy The Horse and His Boy overall.

  4. I like how you put Shasta up there.

    Island of the Blue Dolphins was such a great book! I feel so badly for that little boy. Your tale about getting lost reminded me of something that happened to my daughter a few days ago. She got a new bike and wanted to ride it to the gym in the middle of the night in order to help with her mental health. We agreed to it (she’s almost 17 and we live in a safe area), and she ended up riding to a gym that was pretty far away, and got lost! Six hours later, she finally made it back home.

    • Yes, it was awesome to get to know everyone better. I hope you’ll do this post sometime. I’d sure like to read your answers.

  5. When I was in elementary school, I identified very directly with Michael J. Fox’s character from Teen Wolf (it came out when I was nine): He was an unpopular kid that longed to feel special, and got a superpower (lycanthropy) that made his wish come true; I wanted a special superpower, too.

    Later, in high school, I read Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, and very much related to Claudia: She was someone who was prohibited from ever changing, or growing, or maturing, and that was something I related to, because all my friends stayed in public school and found girlfriends, while I was sent to an all-boys prep academy where time stood still for me. In Claudia, I found a kindred spirit. (Between Teen Wolf and Interview, no wonder I became a horror novelist!)

    Most recently, I identified (to the point of openly weeping at the novel’s closing paragraph) with Det. Frank Mackey, the protagonist in Tana French’s Irish whodunit Faithful Place, because I very much know what it is like to have been young, and in love, and high on the courage it takes to leave home in search of a path of your own, only to reach middle age and wonder — even doubt — if I’ll ever make it back home someday. I love that novel.

    Cool post, Lydia — fun discussion it prompted.

  6. I adore that you put Karana on there! I always loved her character, and it’s nice to see she hasn’t been forgotten. There’s actually a movie out called Alone on the Island of Blue Dolphins about the real woman who inspired the story, and I’m hoping to watch it soon.
    And Jane Eyre is on my list too – one of my favourite characters of all time.

  7. I LOVED A Horse and his Boy as a kid, even though I hardly remember anything of it now. I really should re- read it (and all the Narnia books actually).

    Also Island of the Blue Dolphins always looked good when I’d see it at school or on shelves but I never did read it…

  8. I read The Joy Luck Club for the first time when I was in 9th grade and even though it’s not the book I’ll read a million times, it still left a deep impression on me and the difficulties of living between the lines. The dedication still makes me feel emotional every time I read it. Tan is so lyrical and poetic despite being a novelist.

  9. I love your list,all of these are so well thought out and you can really see how you connect to the characters 😊

  10. Such a great idea to expand beyond books and use tv/film characters too! I wish I’d thought of that, haha.

  11. Luna is such a brilliant character, I love her quirky she is, and how she never tries to change to fit in. I know I loved Snowflower and the Secret Fan but I can’t really remember the characters at all. I need to reread.

  12. Oh I love Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she was definitely the character I most relayed to in that show as well. I also love Luna but when it comes to characters I relate to from the Harry Potter series I have to go for Hermione first!
    Great picks for this week. 🙂 ❤️

  13. I love how varied your selections are! Amelie is one of my all-time favourite characters, and that’s one of my all-time favourite films. I want to be her best friend. I feel similarly about Willow, and I love that you included Luna on this list! Great picks!

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