Childhood Literary Heroes: How Your Favourite Characters are Actually Just a Reflection of You.

Ever since I was a wee one I’ve loved reading. If you’re a book lover you’ll understand the ball of excitement you feel in your belly when you’re about to open up a new book, or scour the book shop for your next culprit.

When I think of books I think of excitement, warmth, comfort. I love being sucked up into a character’s world and experiencing all that they are and learning along with them. The saying a reader has lived a thousand lives is so true to the book-worm and it’s a comfort. Every time you read a book, you take something new away from it and I just think that’s so special.

We all experience a book differently. I think J.K. Rowling recently said it’s wonderful to hear how her readers describe Harry Potter characters slightly different to one another. That’s amazing is it not? What one person conjured up and took from the book can be completely different to that of someone else. Now that’s awesome.

My Faves

So I’ve wanted to talk about books for a long time in some way and because there’s so many I could talk about, today I’m just going to focus on the literary heroes of my childhood while trying to pinpoint exactly what it was about the book/characters that still sit with me today.

The list of books that make me feel all fuzzy and nostalgic inside:

  1. Enid Blyton, particularly the Famous Five and The Mysteries Collection
  2. Maximum Ride Series — James Patterson (though only the other day I realised that I didn’t have the whole series, le cry, so all this time there’s been more to Max’s story that I never knew even existed)

These books were the booooomb to me. My Nan bought me The Naughtiest Girl Collection by Enid Blyton for Christmas once and I was hooked. Though admittedly as mentioned above I preferred the real adventure stories.

The Famous Five to me as a kid was mind-blowing. I mean they got to go on camping trips on their bikes with their friends and their dog for a whole weekend and their parents didn’t have a fit. I mean obviously in our day and age that would be completely out of the question, but just the fact that they’d go off on their bikes for a weekend and rely on the kindness of a stranger to give them food or allow them to camp in their field was incredible. Like “hey mom, off out with the crew for the weekend, see you Sunday.” What on Earth, that was so crazy to me. And not to mention the adventures they had. All my dreams had come true, I was in heaven reading those books.

I’ve always had an adventurous side, playing out as a kid and building dens and running berserk round the streets with your imagination fuelling your limbs to all sorts of awesome places. I just loved it. So I think these books definitely spoke to the adventurous side of me.

As well as The Mysteries Collection which was awwwesome, I love mystery and these books really had me hooked. Enid Blyton had such a wonderful imagination, anything she wrote I enjoyed. But again the adventure and working together really spoke to me.

Okay Maximum Ride. I have a special place in my heart for Max. My other Nan is real big James Patterson fan and I’d never read anything like his genre of writing until I read Maximum Ride. A lot of his kids books were based around laboratories where kids would be tested on etc. So reading this book was entirely different to anything I’d ever read before, things were a lot more sinister than the adventure books I had been reading before hand.

Maximum Ride then, what a gal. I think I love this series (what I’ve read of them anyway) because of how strong a character she was. She was extremely protective of her family, loyal and resilient. I think I really admired that about her, the fact that all this terrible stuff happened, and though it did effect her in that it made her less trusting (as expected), she just seemed so strong to me and I think that’s what I really admired about her. The absolute tenacious desire to survive.

So how does this relate to them actually being you?

Describing Max’s character just then, made me realise that I possess those exact traits; I’m extremely family orientated, I’m very loyal and I’m resilient. Therefore it poses the question: what if what we love about our favourite characters are not just qualities we wish to possess, but rather qualities we already possess. Maybe the books we love are the books we love because we unconsciously recognise that we share those same characteristics with the character we love. We may see those characters as our heroes, but in reality we are a form of the characters which makes us the heroes, which basically makes us a fan of ourselves.

Which leads me onto the point of self-love. The things you love about your favourite character are all the things you possess, which is why you admire them so much, because there’s familiarity/recognition there, even if you don’t consciously realise it. So if you thought you weren’t as amazing as they are, you actually are, you’ve just never personally recognised it or seen yourself from another perspective.

When we realise how amazing we really are thanks to our literary heroes, we have the chance to capitalise on those qualities through the act of self love. First, recognise your admirable traits “okay I’m kinda cool.” Accept it, “woah I am awesome, I should do something with this.” Enhance it, “here friends have some of this!!”

While you’re doing this, also try to recognise what needs working on. Whether that be a short temper, a judgemental mind or simply speaking up for what you believe in. By recognising our weaknesses we also encourage self love by simply identifying areas of improvement and therefore working on it for the good of all. It’s all about loving who you are people!

So the next time you speak of your favourite character in awe, remember that that is actually an element of you (feel free to shout your fave’s jingle or do the Spidey sign).

Become a real life (super)hero today!

All my light and adventurous, resilient, loyal love,

Jem x