So it seems like the longest time since I had bookish discussion around here and I have no clue why that is. I love to chat about all things literary and whenever I’ve had a discussion in the past, it has generated some great comments that really got me thinking. So basically what I’m saying (in a long-winded kind of way!) is that discussions are back on the menu at Between My Lines and hopefully this will be the first in a long series of them.
One of my biggest complaints when reading a book is that X isn’t realistic or that Y would never happen in real life. But invariably when I mention that to my husband or a friend, they will say but yes isn’t it fiction? What about poetic licence? Can’t you just go with the flow? Can’t you stop being so critical? And the answer is no, I can’t!
I need my fiction to be grounded in reality or else I’m so busy picking holes in the plot that I lose interest in actually following the plot. In a fantasy book, I need the world-building to make sense, in a dystopia I need to understand why society developed that way, in a contemporary YA I need the characters to talk like people of that age should. You get the picture. I need to believe in the possibility of what I’m reading before I can allow myself to get swept away.
When things don’t add up or characters are one-dimensional or are unrealistically perfect; I can’t make myself believe. Of course I don’t need books to imitate real life exactly, that would be boring and I love creative spins but as long as it’s grounded in events that logically make sense.
For example I’m reading a book at the moment (Awake) and the theme is that the main character can’t remember anything from before the age of 4 and this is causing huge problems for her. And it’s annoying me no end. Most people can’t remember before the age of 4! I can’t and I never think twice about it. So I don’t buy that it’s this huge deal. Now if the age was moved to 8, that would feel a lot more realistic and would ring alarm bells and make me feel a lot more empathy for the character. Instead I’m just snarling inside every time it is mentioned.
I think that book blogging has made a much more critical reader than I used to be. Before I used to accept things in books at face value but now I challenge them all the time as I read them. And I like that, I like that I’m evolving as a reader as I enjoy that books make me think outside the box and use the logical side of my brain. But that means I’m also far more likely to jump on inconsistencies and think through sequences in books to see if they make sense.
And when they don’t, it grates on me! And it doesn’t just apply to realistic fiction, it applies to all fiction for me. I need things to be logical or someway believable. I find it hard to suspend disbelief and follow blindly along. Surely I’m not alone in this?
Talk to Trish : Do you care if a book is realistic or not? Does it take from your enjoyment of the book?