A Letter to America (The Character, Not the Whole Country)

Before I start this post, I need to ask: did anyone get my reference? Please tell me someone got my reference. No?

Go educate yourself on The Proclaimers, then. Go now. Go quickly. Then come back and read this. Chop chop!


As you can tell from my Goodreads account, I just finished Kiera Cass's The Selection, and the main character, America, was more than a little bit confusing for me. I mean, she'd do something that made me want to smash my forehead against the book on one page, and then I'd turn to the other and want to hug her for being so awesome.

And because I needed to talk about it to work out what was going on in my head, I thought I'd write her a letter. You guys can read it, if you really want, but America doesn't know that I let you sneak into her room and read her mail, so be quiet, okay? Don't touch anything.

Dear America,
                       I'm sorry, but you're going to have to stop doing stuff that confuses me - I really need to decide whether I like you or not.

You know, so I can write a review that makes actual sense? Apparently, good book bloggers don't just ramble on about how they don't really understand their own opinions, insisting that you just need to trust them and read the book anyway.

I've got to be brutally honest, so please don't hate me for it, but I honestly didn't like you in the first few chapters. It felt like Aspen (a love interest, if someone else happens to be reading over your shoulder) was your only motivation for pretty much . . . anything. We've all experienced a boy taking over our thoughts from time to time, and I completely understand hating having to be married off - or at least risk being married off - so your family has enough money to eat. But you were going on so much about missing him, you didn't seem to think about leaving your sister May and the rest of your family behind for the Selection.

It made me think that you only truly cared about your boyfriend, that you were a shallow character, and if there's one thing I absolutely don't like it's a shallow character.

Wait! Don't leave yet!

I'm also really glad I kept going and gave you a second chance. I wish I could say this was because I am a benevolent reviewer who can give fifteen chances at the drop of the hat, or because I am so wise that I just knew it would get better - like some sort of fiction-based Mystic Meg - but, if I am going to speak the truth . . .

The cover was just so pretty, okay?

As I kept reading, you became more and more of an individual, a character who didn't follow the same, boring dystopian-love-triangle tropes. I started to love your stubbornness, your determination to stay the same person you'd always been. Of course, I don't want to say too much, just in case those people peeping at your letters haven't read The Selection, but you didn't run into a boy's arms every time the going got tough.

Thank you very much for that. It was such a relief!

So, America, I guess I owe you an apology, because I'm really not that confused by your actions after all. I just didn't quite get the measure of you from the beginning. It turns out that you're fierce, caring and - best of all - full of contradictions. Which makes you real.

It was a pleasure reading you,

In the comments: What do you like about your favourite main characters? What did you think of America, if you read The Selection? And you didn't break anything in her room, did you?
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  1. You made a good point that I hadn't thought about--that real characters have lots of real contradictions. And it's a good thing! I know most people IRL flip-flop a lot so I don't know why we expect book characters to behave differently...maybe because we have an objective third-party view? IDK.

    1. Well, as readers, I guess we can't help but be a little hypocritical - I know I am - because at the end of the day we're looking for entertainment, and inconsistency can get in the way of that sometimes. You're right though: it's still a good thing!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I really hope you enjoyed.


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