Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Recently I was reading a book and I had quite some trouble with the main character. I just didn’t like the character and it made me think how if you don’t like the main character it can get more difficult to enjoy the book. And what the book needed to have to compensate for me not liking the main character. Now the book I am talking about I had a lot more issues with than just not liking the main character and the total of that made me give it a 2 star read, but it did spark this post.
Can I enjoy a book if I don’t like the main character?
Short answer yes I can enjoy a book if I don’t like the main character, but at the same time not liking the main character already does make it a lot less likely that I will enjoy the book.
Overall I think the main character is pretty important to if I enjoy the book. After all we do follow the point of view of the main character and spent a lot of time with them, so if you don’t like their company it can be hard to enjoy the book. Ofcourse there is more to a book then only the main character, a book can be still enjoyable if I don’t like the main character but then it needs to have other aspects that I really like.
There are also different gradations of not liking the main character. If the main character doesn’t do much for you, but you also don’t really dislike them then if the rest of the book is good it can more easily compensate for that. If you really strongly dislike the main character it can get more difficult for the rest of the book to compensate for that.
If I really don’t like the main character in which cases can I still enjoy the book?
- I (really) like other aspects of the book. In most cases if I don’t like the main character, the other aspects have to compensate for that. I usually explain my opinion about a book based on the following topics (depending on the book which ones are relevant): story, mystery, characters, romance, world building and setting. So if I don’t like the main characters, but the story is great, I like the world building or setting and I feel the romance, I can still enjoy the book as a whole. If all aspects are bad it most likely won’t be a book I enjoy, but if I don’t like the characters and the other aspects aren’t really outstanding either it will most likely end up being a 3 star read at most. So basically the other aspects need to be good enough to compensate for not liking the main character.
- Multiple point of views. If a book is written by multiple point of views and I don’t like one of the main characters I can still enjoy the book overall if I like the other characters who’s point of view we get. I remember a few romances where I didn’t like one of the characters though and in a romance book it does get difficult to enjoy the romance if you don’t like one of the characters, but if well written the other character I do like and the writing can compensate for me not liking one of the characters.
- Side characters. Same as with the point above a fun cast of side characters can make it feel less bad that I don’t like the main character as I do enjoy most of the other characters.
- Main character is still interesting/ fun to read about. Just because I don’t like the main character it still doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy reading about the character. Say for example the main character is unlikeable, but very realistic, interesting or original chances are I still enjoy reading about this character. Or if for some reason or another I still care or feel invested about what happens to this characters.
- Reason for their behavior. if I don’t like a main character, but can understand why they act that way or feel like it makes sense why they act that way, it can go a long way to compensate for me not liking them.