As some of you may know I’ve been doing reviews at Wave’s and a couple of times I’ve mentioned that a story written in the first person POV is not something I’m a fan of or particularly choose to read.
Apparently this was cause for a few comments on blogs elsewhere – as I’m discovering is often the case 🙂 – with some people saying readers such as myself shouldn’t be dismissing this POV out of hand (ummm, which, unless I was on someone else’s blog, didn’t think I’d done) and not understanding how I and others like me could NOT like this POV (well, people, different strokes and all that).
So… insta post! (Created more because I thought it would make an interesting post to see what others think than a real need to explain myself to others. I get seriously evil about not giving a toss about this kind of thing, but still… great topic. *g*)
For me, not liking the ‘I’ thing has everything to do with what kind of reader I am.
I read to relax, to be entertained and above all else to escape. When I’m reading, I imagine myself in the situations and lives of the characters.
If the story is written in first person, and no matter how much I might dis/like or have an affinity with other characters, for all intents and purposes I’ve been told who/which protag I am.
That is, the I, who is reading the story, has been immediately engaged with the I, who is telling the story, and I’m experiencing everything that they do, sometimes to the detriment of all else.
So, the bottom line is that as someone who reads to escape, to imagine themselves in different lives, roles and worlds, I prefer not to be told who I am. I want to choose for myself.
What do you think?? What’s your preference??
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Major screw-up, lets try this again. I’m with you entirely Kris. I’ll be honest, I have read the “excerpt” of a book and chosen not to buy it because it was first person POV. I have also read a few books with that perspective that worked for me, its not ALWAYS a turn-off, but more often than not I just don’t enjoy it.I hope that doesn’t mean I’m unworthy of being a reader. LOL I am curious. I want to know what ALL the characters are thinking. I want to know what happened in another place where the main protag was not. I want to know the whole story not just the story as one person sees it. We all know the truth lies somewhere between two people’s POV. So I guess I just find it limiting and sometimes the “I” is prevalent it makes me crazy. Other times an author can make it work and I’m not saying I’ll never read a book with first person POV, but it has to be a book that someone I trust has said is great, not just “okay”.But as you said, different strokes. I don’t think authors shouldn’t write that way, nor should they stay away from topics I don’t enjoy.
You’re curious Tam, whereas I’m just a nosy cow. LOL. That’s it exactly though; the wanting to know what all characters are thinking and doing. Not just having the story focused on a single POV, especially if other characters are not as well developed and no insight is given to their motivations etc. Sometimes I get a bit stifled by it because I just want to know more.Interestingly, I think the majority of books I’ve read so far for Wave’s blog have been first person and I’ve rated these quite high. This proves of course I’m all awesome fairness and balanced rather than clinging to my bias. *g*
I, too, am not a fan of the first ppov. I’m not as clear as you as to why that is, it’s just not my thing. If I know that a book will be 1ppov I usually don’t get it. Now, that being said there have been books that have been recommended to me that I’ve ended up LOVING that are in 1st person. It’s really a crap shoot IMHO.
Doesn’t worry me too much. I read a lot of Anita Blake and Merry by Laurell K. Hamilton so don’t mind it. However, first person present tense – not so keen on. 🙂
LOL, Tracy. It is a bit like that, isn’t it. There have been times I’ve read something and thought ‘WOW’ and there have been other times when someone’s recommended 1st POV to me and I’ve looked at them and said ‘whatareyoustupidorsomething’.I think bottom line is 1st POV is not my preference and for me it’s similar to my saying that I’m not particular a fan of historical romance.
Sarah, I’m so with you on 1st POV present tense. I’m struggling to read one at the moment and just can’t get beyond a few pages at a time. I don’t know what it is about this particular style, but it srsly freaks me out.
Hi KrisI tried to post a comment here yesterday, but got as far as the first word before my brain had a meltdown! So I’m trying again now, even though brain still not quite recovered!I hadn’t really read any 1st person POV until I read the “Outlander” books. At first it was quite hard to get into, but once I did, it didn’t bother me at all. Perhaps I wished once or twice that I knew what the other characters were thinking, but then I realised that was the point. I wasn’t supposed to know what the other characters thought as I was only seeing things from one character and had to guess along with her as to what was happening.Since then, I’ve enjoyed quite a lot of 1st person POV books. I understand that you are frustrated that you are forced into one protag, but that would be the same for a 3rd person narrative that only gives you the POV of one character – common in romance, especially old school stuff.I also think that 1st person POV is one way that the author witholds information from us. After all some of the tension would be removed from some stories were we to know the thoughts and feelings of a number of characters. Would you (just to be provocative) still have a strong dislike of ‘you know who’ if we had been privvy to his thoughts and motivations at the end of book 3? So in answer to your question, I don’t run screaming from a 1st person POV. I even like to see it on occasion as it provides a bit of variety to my reading pallette.Hope that’s coherent enough for you.:)
Very coherent. More so than I this morning when I looked back at some of the comments I posted. *note to self – drink at least 1 cup of coffee before commenting in future*I can understand what you mean re: build up of tension in stories though. Having said that, I can think of a few suspense novels I’ve read where you gain insight into the villan’s thoughts (not necessarily knowing who s/he is) and that can add hugely to the build up of conflict.Jen, sweetie, do you think I’d honestly admit to someting like that about ‘you know who’??