I grew up as one of the most crush-y-est of girls imaginable. I developed crushes on classmates, on teachers, on movie stars, on the guy who worked in the periodicals department of the library. Once, when asked to describe the three best feelings in the world, I put the following on the list: “That moment when the person you have a crush on responds to you positively, and you feel giddy from head to toe.”
Now in my decrepit middle-age, I’m a happily married woman. The frequency of my crushes and their intensity has slowed dramatically over the years. (Most recent trigger before the one I’m writing about today? Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. Just in that movie. And, really, just for the tux-clad shower scene.)
Why am I sharing all this with you today? Because my most recent crush is a book character: Homicide Detective Mick Kennedy, in Tana French’s BROKEN HARBOR.
I have read and adored French’s other books. They’re not great as mysteries — some plot elements are just too far-fetched to be believable. But they’re beautiful, lyrical depictions of people under stress who do heroic things and disastrous things and try their best to live their often-very-difficult lives. The novels are quintessentially Irish — melancholy and literary and vibrant.
Again, why am I sharing this? Why do you care?
Because Mick Kennedy is the sort of character I’d give my eyeteeth to write. He’s extraordinarily human — he’s loaded with a past and an awareness of the present, with (suppressed) hopes and dreams and fears. He is good at his job, but he makes mistakes. He is completely well-rounded. He is as real as the actual, living people profiled in your local newspaper. (Incidentally, he’s got some really deep flaws. Sometimes, I crush on bad boys. On guys who need to be saved — from themselves or from others.)
In a few hundred pages, I came to *know* Mick Kennedy. Long after I read the words “The End”, I thought about him, wondered about what happened when he woke up on the next day. I believed in him.
I rarely find such complete characters in fiction, especially in genre reads. So? How about you? What was the last character that you totally, completely, 100% understood? (No, you don’t have to have a crush on him/her. But I’d feel a lot better if you did ::wry grin::)