Without Merit Without Merit question

My Problems with Sagan *contains spoilers*
Alanna Alanna Jul 24, 2018 08:31PM
So, ever since I finished reading Without Merit (in one sitting, ending at 3 am) there's been something bugging me.

So, Sagan... Is he really a jerk or what? Because the thing that's I just can't let go of is that, the first two times he and Merit kissed, both started with Sagan thinking he was kissing *Honor*! We're made to understand (via our unreliable narrator Merit) that he is Honor's boyfriend. Later we find out that Honor ISN'T his girlfriend like Merit thought, she's Sagan's BEST FRIEND'S[ girlfriend. It doesn't matter that it turned out NOT to be Honor but... he didn't know that at first. And, supposedly, he doesn't even like Honor like that anyway or so he says later in the book?

So then... why did he kiss her? I mean, it turned out to be Merit after all BOTH TIMES but that doesn't matter or mean anything since, when he initiated both kisses, he thought this girl was Honor. Yet he has the audacity to call Merit an 'asshole'?!?! When he was the one supposedly kissing his best friend's girl?!?!
And he later claims he DOESN'T like Honor like that? So... then... why did he kiss her? And, both times, he is clearly surprised and practically horrified to realize he's kissing Merit instead! Yet we are to believe he actually WANTED to be kissing Merit? But... he thought he was kissing Honor... both times.
And MERIT is the asshole... right?

It makes no sense.
Help me out here.

Granted, what she did that second time wasn't cool but it's not like she dressed up like Honor with the intention of tricking him. Her reasons for doing it had nothing to do with him initially; she just took advantage of an opportune moment. I'm in no way excusing what she did, it was still messed up but I think calling her an asshole when Sagan was also clearly in the wrong here was projecting and I don't think he appropriately owned up to that for my liking.

Am I wrong? Did I miss something? It's entirely possible as the first time I read this, it was approximately 2 in the morning and I'd been reading for almost 6 hours straight.

I've struggled with this same thing. I LOVE this book and have reread it so many times and this thing is one of the few things I dislike about it. There is no explanation given by Sagan and no one really ever totally calls him out on it.

He is an asshole.
I didn't like the book to be honest. All characters are so unlikeable.

But Sagan acts like he's a good guy but he's just as bad as the others. Maybe with the first kiss he thought he saw Honor differently and felt like kissing her. But the second time he has no excuses.

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