A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

To Mary Sue or Not to Mary Sue

on May 12, 2015

I’m reading Song of a Wren by Emma Darcy, and trying to decide whether the main character counts as a Mary Sue or not. I think my problem is that it’s such a pejorative term and I’m not sure it’s one the character really deserves, in that sense. She’s not bland, she’s just drawn that way. Or more specifically… I don’t think she’s a bad or dislikable character, in herself. It’s the combination of her thinking herself very ordinary and everyone around her lauding her to the skies that turns me off.

Perhaps I especially dislike it because it’s just the sort of fantasy I would’ve gone for when I was an adolescent. Which really gives me a much better understanding of the whole “Twilight” phenomenon.

7 responses to “To Mary Sue or Not to Mary Sue

  1. Miss Bates says:

    Thank you. About Twilight.

  2. SuperWendy says:

    It’s the combination of her thinking herself very ordinary and everyone around her lauding her to the skies that turns me off.

    Yeah, that. Because it comes off like a “writer shortcut.” Instead of showing me why the heroine is so great, the author has the secondary characters go on and on and on and on…..to the point where you wonder, as the reader, if she’s possibly the messiah in disguise.

    Right there with you too on how appealing this trope/fantasy can be for an adolescent reader. In my teen, pre-awesome Super Librarian days I would have been ALL over a trope/fantasy/what-have-you like this.

  3. Erin Burns says:

    That is really irksome, the telling part. Regarding Twilight specifically, I read the first chapter or so and realized I really wished vampires and werewolves were real, so I could be one and rip Bella’s throat out until she was cold and dead.

  4. Liz Mc2 says:

    This is such a good point about adolescent tastes. I have definitely read books that a part of me secretly likes, but I am denying that part like mad because it’s associated with teenage misery. (Or just a teen self who now embarrasses me!)

    • willaful says:

      I think my Harlequin Presents reading has helped me.. reclaim my teen self, in a way. I’m not the same person with the same tastes, but it no longer embarasses me that I was. I can look back and think, hey those were perfectly reasonable things to like.

  5. Christine says:

    Now I have to read it. Darn, my stack just gets higher. It’s a great problem to have!

    • willaful says:

      I actually wound up quite liking it, with caveats. Kind of heavy-handed on the innocence worship. But I thought the characters and family dynamics were interesting.

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