Books I Loathed discussion

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Characters Worth Loathing

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message 1: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Okay, I loved Jessica's post on the Long Way Down Thread ("... which character did you hate the most?"), and I feel it begs a new thread: who are the worst characters you've come across? Though the Logic of Loathing thread suggests that a lot of us can come to passionately hate a book for its characters, there are plenty of decent books with dreadful characters.

For example, though I did not really HATE "The Grapes of Wrath," every time Rose of Sharon appeared with her "complacent smile" I wanted to sock her in the eyeballs.


message 2: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Vanessa | 42 comments The main character from "Daughter of Fortune (don't even remember her name). She didn't seem strong and enterpirsing (I think Isabel Allende was hoping that is how she came across) - just impulsive and foolish. I didn't give a dime about her.

Gogol and Moushumi from "The Namesake" - what a spoilt pair of whiny bastards.

Nicky Six from "London Fields" - YEAURCH!

I remember as a child I passionately hated Nellie Olson in "On the Banks of Plum Creek" by Laura Ingalls Wilder - because she was so spoilt and mean to Laura - I really wanted to blacken both her eys with my first at the age of 8 years.

That's enough to be getting on with...


message 3: by Christen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Christen | 61 comments Wow this is a tough one...books I liked with characters I didn't...hmmm...

Well definitely everyone in A Long Way Down. I actually did end up kind of liking the book, just no one in it. But especially Jess.

Oh and I really hated that guy with the green eggs and ham! The man said no! Leave it alone!

Also Catherine in Wuthering Heights...and Heathcliff. Although I guess I was supposed to hate them or at the very least not have much sympathy for them.


message 4: by Jenny (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Jenny (thejencanread) | 5 comments I hate Rabbit from Rabbit, Run. I read it 4 years ago, and I vaguely remember that Rabbit was his nickname, but I don't remember much else. What I do remember is that I didn't care about Rabbit at all. I didn't like him, certainly, and I didn't hate him. I just kept reading the book, hoping for something to push me one way or the other, but it never did.

I tried to explain this to some of my English major friends, but they usually just wave me off with a "that's what Updike was going for" as an excuse. As if being published gives you an excuse to write ambivalently. I loathe a character that doesn't make me feel something for it; I feel like it's lazy writing, sometimes.

I feel about Rabbit the same way I feel about the stupid children in Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant. They had a shared horrible childhood, so they grow up to be horrible people, and we readers are supposed to understand?

I'm okay with disliking characters like Bill Sykes, you know, because that makes sense. They're evil or cruel so you dislike them because if you met them in real life, you'd probably have the same reaction. I'm not okay with characters I don't care about at all. They're just a waste of my time. It's like the writer couldn't decide which way to take the character.

Also I hated Uriah (was that his first name?) Heep from David Copperfield. I never understood him, and he was just creepy. But I'm pretty sure that's what Dickens was going for...


message 5: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Jessica (jes3ica) | 4 comments How about David from The Memory Keeper's Daughter? Ugh. Makes me feel like I need a long shower. Somehow boring and anger-inducing at the same time. The other characters weren't much better.


message 6: by Patrick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Patrick Sherri, may you never grow more tolerant!


message 7: by Kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:49AM) (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
The protagonist from Blue Angel. He got what he deserved, and I never for a minute sympathized. Also, I didn't believe in his character at ALL. Sure, sensitive writing professors exist, but he was such a DITZ. At least the prof in Disgrace was blatantly a sort of bad person who had something to repent for. This guy was a pathetic spaz who ruined his marriage and seemingly learned nothing from being played. I felt like I was supposed to find him charming and flawed, but he was just a loser. And if he WAS supposed to just be a loser, what's the point of the story?


message 8: by Michael (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Michael Ignatius J. Reilly. I wanted to slap him silly on several occasions. On some level I suppose that I respected his iconoclastic tendencies, but let's face it, the man was a JERK.


message 9: by Alex (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Alex (alexinmadison) | 64 comments Laurel, the main character in Double Bind. She had survived a horrible attack and (I think) we were supposed to be sympathetic to her plight but, seriously, I thought she was a self-centered twit.


message 10: by Andy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

Andy | 2 comments "I completely forgot about The Bridges of Madison County. Has a worse piece of dreck ever graced a bookshelf?"

Reminds me of a real hate-worthy character: whatever the hell his name is in Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, by the same author as Bridges of Madison County.

This guy smokes cigarettes and enjoys jogging. I hate those people. He's a college professor who rides a cool motorcycle and publishes an article in The Atlantic Monthly instead of some dry, crusty adademic journal. What a jerk. He's a cool, stoic loner who steals another man's wife by having the courage to chase her to India while the husband stays back biting his fingernails. Of course, he knows everything about traveling in India. This guy's like a romantic, cigarette-smoking MacGyver hiding out in the economics department of some midwestern college, waiting for something exciting to happen and then it does and he's perfectly prepared for it. (I read it as I was quitting smoking and working out on an elliptical trainer--which made my mood worse and worse with every page I read).

It's really a terrible book. I think I could take both the main character and the author in a fist fight, not because I'm a good fighter but because I could draw upon my hatred of these &$%holes to take them down.


message 11: by Elinor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Elinor | 3 comments Newland Archer, from Wharton's "The Age of Innocence."

He's supposed to be the protagonist, and the reader is supposed to be sympathetic to his plight, and his emptiness at never being able to free himself from the restraints of society to the point that he can leave May, his wife, to be with the woman he loves, Ellen.

But before Newland actually marries May, she senses his reluctance and gives him every opportunity to break off the engagement. But he lies to her and assures her that he loves only her.

So later, when Newland and May are married and May realizes that Newland is on the verge of leaving her for Ellen, I'm sympathetic to her feelings when she interferes and prevents Newland and Ellen from being together. And I'm not at all sympathetic to Newland's heartbreak at realizing that he's been thwarted from cheating on his wife. Boo hoo.

At the very end of the book, when Newland and his son are discussing Ellen, and it is revealed that May knew of Newland's love for Ellen after all, and that she respected him more because when she had asked him to, he'd given up the thing that he most wanted.

Newland's response to his son is just so snotty and selfish... "She never asked," that every time I reread this book my dislike for him just cements. The nerve of your wife... interfering when you you were about to leave her for her cousin! When she'd given you every out before the wedding, and you'd married her anyway!

Ugh.

And yes, I know that later, it touches him that his wife had known his disappointment and pitied him for it, but still... I just can't like Newland Archer. He's a selfish, annoying character. But I adore May. And I'd read a book about her take on her husband's nonsense any day.


message 12: by David (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 58 comments Well, I'm sure that I'm supposed to hate Iago. But I don't. He brings most of the fun to the play. Othello, on the other hand - what a bloody moron!

But there are whole classes of people to loathe. For instance, any character in any book by the vile Bret Easton Ellis. Any of Anita Brookner's wan, put-upon "heroines". Seymour Glass. And his drooling, worshipful sibling Buddy Glass. (But don't you say anything bad about Franny, or Zooey, or Holden, ya hear me?).

Hardly any fun singling out the characters the author wrote specifically as targets of our hatred, is it? (Insert favorite Dickens caricature here. Or mr Collins from P & P).

Oh, and Cordelia, I regret to say. What a wimp. Of course she ended up dead.

And, frankly, it has to be said: Aragorn, son of Arathorn, always did strike me as being a sexless, constipated, humorless killjoy.


message 13: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) Dude. Pretty much everyone in King Lear ended up dead.

But boy, do I agree about Aragorn.


message 14: by Jammies (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Jammies Lestat. Most of Anne Rice's characters at that, but that selfish, spoiled, bloated egotistical vampire is the most irritating.


message 15: by Courtney (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:18PM) (new)

Courtney  (cocorenato) Every character in Wuthering Heights. I hated that book. It's one of two reasons I even joined this group. (The Bluest Eye being the other.)

I also never really cared for Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby. I have always adored Nick and just thought she was a bad seed. I didn't care for them together. She's a liar and a cheat and I always found Nick to be quite honorable.


message 16: by Norman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:23PM) (new)

Norman (normanincejakarta) | 48 comments I might think that for any guy reading Ethan Frome (and there probably aren't that many), one of the most hated characters ever created would have to be Zeena, Ethan's shrewish wife.
Ethan doesn't have to worry about going to hell...he has already experienced worse being with Zeena!


message 17: by Caroline (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:23PM) (new)

Caroline I hated every single character in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and in turn couldn't stand the book. Everyone is so selfish and, to mean, horrible that I just couldn't stand it. Normally I don't take an intense dislike to characters, or books, but I definitely made an exception for those characters.


message 18: by The Library Lady (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:23PM) (new)

The Library Lady (thelibrarylady) I'm another hater of Wuthering Heights, and especially of Cathy and Healthcliff. I know a lot of women swoon for a "bad boy", but he's not bad, he's downright evil, and she's a selfish little twit!

Speaking of Uriah Heep, am I the only one who has been reminded of him every time Alberto Gonzales has been on TV hunching his shoulders and wringing his hands?


message 19: by Jackie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:25PM) (new)

Jackie | 27 comments I wasn't fond of anyone in Atlas Shrugged either. I just kept wondering--what kind of provisions or mercy do you have on people who are not physically or mentally able to care for themselves. Of course, this opens up a whole lot of questions about who is truly in this category which leads to political debate . . . Oh Ayn! I know you hated communism, but heartlessness individualism isn't the answer, in my opinion.


message 20: by Christina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:25PM) (new)

Christina | 17 comments Louis in "Queen of the Damned." Actually, Louis in any of Anne Rice's books. I understand he is supposed to be the moral foil to Lestat, but dear gods does she go overboard with him. He can have a moral issue with what he has become but he doesn't need to be so damned whiney about it. Have some coping skills for gods sake. Add to that putting him in with the likes of Maharet and Mekerie and he really looks like a wimp.

But I digress....


message 21: by Jessica (thebluestocking) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. That is my favorite book ever, but I wanted to kill her.

Almost every character in Wuthering Heights was despicable, but I guess that doesn't count because I hated the book too.


message 22: by Carol (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Carol | 8 comments I'm late to the party (as usual) but Sherri..."(of course, I have this heaving passion thing for Viggo Mortenson and his razor sharp cheekbones)" how 'bout a shout-out for Sean Bean?

Heavy sigh.


message 23: by Mark (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Mark So, I have a love-hate thing for Raskolnikov. Whenever I see somebody who looks like I think he would have looked in C&P, and that happens quite a bit, I feel both revulsion and kinship. Could I be reflecting how I feel about myself? Not sure, but it might make for interesting introspection.


message 24: by Michelle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Michelle (literarilyspeaking1) HeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliffHeathcliff

I understand why the book's a classic, but I just couldn't stand a single person in it!


message 25: by Jason (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Jason (gireesh42) Pinky, from Brighton Rock. It's rare for me to come across a villain (or any character) who makes me physically cringe at their sadism.


message 26: by Servius Heiner (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Servius  Heiner  | 8 comments I would have to say Jim Taggart "Atlas Shrugged” Well actually any of his “friends” would do. They all seemed like used car salesmen to me. Dirt bag comes to mind. Waste of flesh perhaps.


message 27: by Chrystal714 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Chrystal714 | 47 comments I can't think of a character I hated, that I wasn't supposed to hate, other then the entire cast of weathering hieghts. Yet as many have said I hated that book, so I guess that doesn't count. I have to say it is impressive that I can't think of a single character in that book that I didn't detest.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

For me it would have to be Chiyo, the main character in Memiors of a Geisha. I don't think I have ever felt such animosity for a book character before or since. I didn't feel even a little bit sorry for her--I just couldn't stand her at all.


message 29: by Foxthyme (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Foxthyme | 17 comments Michelle and Heathcliff!

I do say, try Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. He has great fun with all kinds of literary figures. And, I feel, especially with the Wuthering Height gang. There's a shooter and a special Heathcliff anti-hate counseling group, if I'm remembering correctly. Tickled me laughing anyway.


message 30: by Foxthyme (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Foxthyme | 17 comments All right, I've always hated Madame Bovary. She just...ugh.


message 31: by Michelle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Michelle (literarilyspeaking1) Ooh... I have to agree with you on Gwenhwyfar in "Mists." She was pretty pathetic, but I sort of felt sorry for her.

I actually felt sorry for her, unlike the way I felt for the original Gweniviere (however it's spelled) in the tales. She was just a massive, cheating b**ch


message 32: by Celia (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new)

Celia (clalvarez) Who wouldn't hate mousy little Chiyo? You sure it's not the whole novel you hated? Did not get the whole Geisha fever thing. It's well written enough, but it's a little scary to see such simpering, servile, oppressed women raised to such romantic levels. The whole thing made me shudder. Hated lots of these characters others are mentioning, but I wonder if in some cases it's more like characters we love to hate. Lestat of the Vampire Chronicles is deplorable, but in a fun way. Louis is a wimp; I agree!


message 33: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Foxthyme, I LOVE Jasper Fforde's books.

And I'm with everyone who hated Heathcliff and both Catherines.

Hated Jay Gatsby; hated Holden Caulfield. In fact, I hated these characters so much they ruined my opinion of the books themselves.

I hated Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind but I love the book.


message 34: by Nikki (new)

Nikki Boisture The house elves in the Harry Potter books. There is no good reason to have house elves when you can clean your house with a wave of your wand! Not to mention that they are so annoying. Although I will admit to tearing up a little when Dobby dies in book 7.

Chris McCandless in Into the Wild. OK, he was a real person so not necessarily a "character," but he was still a selfish egomaniacal a**hole!


Servius  Heiner  | 8 comments One word: Hugh!
God I hate that guy. (straght evil guy from a "Crown of stars" Kate elliot


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with you, Nikki! I hated the house elves, too. And, they managed to make them even more annoying in the movies than they were in the books.


message 37: by Lauren (last edited Feb 25, 2009 02:34AM) (new)

Lauren (LMulls) Am I the only one who slightly loathes Bella Swan from the Twilight Series? I mean seriously, especially during New Moon, Edward is a great guy, by vampire standards but she must be overtly obsessed with him to be dead without him in the 1 mile vicinity. I wish Victoria had offed her, I really do. Actually I wish anyone would have offed her. Oh well. There's still Breaking Dawn.
I must say though, other than Bella, I did love those books.


message 38: by Mouse (new)

Mouse | 18 comments We're this far in the thread and no one has mentioned Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire? Arrgh!


message 39: by Cairnraiser (new)

Cairnraiser | 4 comments For me just about the entire "cast" of The Beach but particularly the protagonist... I could not for the life of me sympathize with these characters.

Another example is Popular Music from Vittula. Stepping back I can see that the book in and of itself is well written, but I just find the protagonist to be an insufferable bully.


message 40: by Holly (new)

Holly | 40 comments Lauren, you are not the only one. I loathe Bella but I didn't really hate her until the second book, when she did a 180 and became a whiny, codependant weakling rather than the self-reliant quirky gal from the first book. But unlike you, I loathe Edward as well. No one can be that perfect. Actually, I hate the author for writing an obviously self-indulgent series that I still feel compelled to read!

I second/third/fourth/whatever Heathcliff and Cathy.

As my own personal contribution, I really really hate St Germain in the books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Another Mary Sue like Edward. I am so sick of reading about men who are 100% perfect aside from the tiny, forgiveable quirk of being undead. It makes me want to smack then upside the head with a balpeen hammer.


message 41: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) Bella just plucked my last nerve in the third book, too -- it was a long time coming, but I agree. But I still have to keep reading the series, dammit.


message 42: by Bree (last edited Feb 14, 2008 10:39AM) (new)

Bree Laura--doesn't everyone wind up dead in all of shakespear's tragedy's? :D

Gomez in Time Traveler's Wife...really thought he was slimey. I liked his wife, but I was really disappointed that she knew of his "love" for Clare and only told Henry about it and never confronted Gomez himself. It made who I felt was a strong character into a weak one. But we all have our weaknesses and maybe her's was her husband.

I have to put in a slight second/third on Bella...but I also have to remember this is a TEEN novel...so i betcha the melodrama and angst is exactly up their alley.






message 43: by Heather (new)

Heather (bubblefaerie) | 6 comments I kind of hated Bella in New Moon, too. And I wasn't so fond of any of them in Eclipse, especially Jacob.

The book series with the most hated characters for me is the Anita Blake series. In fact, with so many characters, I really don't like more than one or two. But I hate Anita, Richard and Nathaniel the most.


message 44: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (LMulls) You have a point,Holly even Edward Cullen isn't that perfect. You know, did SM even give a physical description of him other than being freezing cold with eyes that change like a mood ring? x3 By George I don't think she did~


message 45: by Saybaar (new)

Saybaar | 8 comments Actually, Edward is about the only Gary Stu (male Mary Sue, for those who don't know) I've ever actually liked (against my better judgment). I've only read Twilight, so I don't know about Bella. However, I am a teenager, and I personally hate the self-indulgent melodrama and angst that teenage characters all too often indulge in. Each to her own, I guess...

In other news, I absolutely detest Rand al'Thor from the Wheel of Time books, Holden Caulfield (and not just because I was forced to read TCitR for language arts), and Eragon. Eragon most of all. I hope he dies. But then the death scene would take up five chapters because Eragon would have to angst about dying, so scratch that.


message 46: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 27 comments I've posted about this elsewhere, but I don't think I've ever loathed a character more than the girlfriend in Jodi Piccoult's "The Pact." So self-absorbed and really the epitome of selfishness! You were victimized, but others have survived. Get some therapy!!

A close second, and in the same vein, is probably the main character of "The Lovely Bones." I forgot her name. But again, it felt suffocatingly self-absorbed.

If you have sympathy for either character, let me know so I can forgive them both and get them out of my system!


message 47: by Poppy (new)

Poppy | 21 comments Yay, other Wuthering Heights haters! Yes, every single character is awful. Here are others:

Bilbo Baggins
Scarlet O'Hara
Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited
Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre
Howard Roark in The Fountainhead (I'm going into a shame spiral for even admitting to have read it)

and my new hate: Philip Carey in Of Human Bondage


message 48: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) King, didn't you like him better there at the end though?


message 49: by Sean (new)

Sean Little (seanpatricklittle) I know I'm a dude, and that might be the problem, but every female lead of every chick-lit novel I've ever read has been utterly unworthy of the attention she gains from the opposite sex.

Bridget Jones is a so frickin' psycho that she's hard to stomach. I want to slap the crap out of her and scream, "Stand up for yourself! Be a frickin' adult!"

But, no...she is but paper...

I'll settle for screaming insults at Renee Zellweger, instead.

"You're not British! Your accent isn't that good! You owe me money for sitting through 'Jerry Macguire'!"


message 50: by Calilibrarian (new)

Calilibrarian (Rochelles) | 1 comments I can't stand Anita Blake in the Laurell Hamilton series. She's so dour and sour and a nymphomaniac at the same time. Whaa?


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