It’s funny, the book characters I most enjoy reading are the ones who would probably be insufferable in real life. Think about it! Cathy and Heathcliff and their ridiculous histrionics, crotchety old Ove who just wants to be left alone, Keiko the convenience store woman who’s about as warm and affectionate as an angry echidna… There are rare exceptions, though, like Pete, the eccentric artist from Lanny (which I read and reviewed earlier this week). I’ve plucked these hidden gems out from the shelves to bring you this list of ten book characters I’d like to befriend.
From Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Judging by her diary, Bridget and I would get along like a house on fire. She likes a drink, she is prone to sweeping declarations and resolutions, and she’s a little bit of a mess but in an endearing way. Plus,
Colin Firth Mark Darcy might have some hot, eligible bachelor friends that would accompany us on nights out. The only downside to being friends with Bridget Jones would be not feeling right reading her diary anymore…
From Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Pretty much everyone in this band is a nightmare: drunk, high, self-destructive, egotistical, and petty… except for Warren, the drummer. He is so delightfully indifferent to all of the group’s politics, to the point of being a little dense, and that’s what would make him so much fun to befriend. He just wants to relax on his boat and rock out on tour, forget about all the rest of it. Of course, he’s a drummer, but I’m sure I could find it within myself to forgive him for that. Read my full review of Daisy Jones and The Six here.
From Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Being friends with Don Quixote, with his delusions and flights of fancy and all, wouldn’t be a picnic, but I want to befriend him if for no other reason that his actual friends are garbage. Here is a man in desperate need of some psychological support, one whose disordered thinking is tearing his life apart and putting him in actual mortal danger, and yet everyone around him just seems to… laugh it off? Go along for the ride, in the hopes they’ll make some money off it? Psssht. Don’t worry, Don, I’ll take care of you. Read my full review of Don Quixote here.
From Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
Lorelei and I wouldn’t have much in common – I’m a bookish brunette, she’s a glamorous blonde – but I’m sure we’d be damn fun at parties because we share one very important common interest: champagne. She comes to fancy herself an author, too, so maybe we could give each other notes on our writing and I could help her out with some of her… spelling issues. Mostly, I want to be Lorelei’s friend because she’s fun. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Read my full review of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes here.
Jo March and Friederich Bhaer
From Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This is probably my most-controversial and least-popular literary opinion, but I’ve got to speak my truth. Jo was better off marrying the Professor, and she would never have been happy with Laurie. There! I said it! Jo and Friederich would live an interesting life, debating politics and philosophy and drinking fine wine over home-cooked dinners. I reckon my husband and I would make perfect double-date partners for them. Read my full review of Little Women here.
From My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Everybody needs a friend who would help them hide a body. Korede has proven her stripes in that regard, time and time again. Sure, it might take a while for us to become close enough that she would treat me like she treats her sister, and there might be a few cultural barriers to overcome, but I’m willing to put in the effort. It’s worth it. Plus, she can rest assured that I won’t have eyes for her hot doctor crush (and, even if I did, no way am I attractive or enigmatic enough to lure him away). Read my full review of My Sister, The Serial Killer here.
From Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
I feel like I’d probably frighten Piranesi at first. He’s lived alone in his big house for a long time, and he wouldn’t be used to company. Plus, I’m a cynical snot and I’m not all that good with nature. I hope, over time, those facets of our personalities would balance each other out. I’d become the yin to his yang, and his glorious optimism, his ingenuity, and his determination to see only the best in others would be infectious. Read my full review of Piranesi here.
From Rabbits For Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum
Granted, my mental health is a bit more stable than Bunny’s, but damn if we don’t share the same dark sense of humour (and the same love of dogs). I like to think I’d be the lighthouse to her ocean, keeping things steady when the waves crash over her. We’d have deliciously wicked bitch sessions about all of her pretentious New York friends, and laugh together of all the people she fools with her prank about her name’s origin. My name’s not all that common, either, and I’m sure we could come up with another joke to match. Read my full review of Rabbits For Food here.
Watney needs a friend. He’s stranded on Mars, a couple hundred million kilometers away, and he’s all alone. I wouldn’t be much good for bouncing science-y ideas off, but I’d imagine he’d be happy to listen to my ceaseless yapping, just for some company. Not literally, of course – neither love nor money could get me to Mars, where I would surely perish – but I could hang out with him on Zoom or something. In a way, it would be my ideal friendship, one where I’m not obligated to leave the house or put on pants and I can communicate exclusively in funny memes and news of the day. Read my full review of The Martian here.
From The One-Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
A one-hundred-year old friend would be a dream come true. One, they’d never make me feel old. Two, I’m happy to help out with hare-brained schemes like ditching your own birthday party to escape out the window of your nursing home. Three, I’d have lots of nosy questions about the amazing life that he’s lived and the crazy shit he’s seen. Four, I’d even bring the vodka. Of course, I’d have to befriend the English translation of Allan (or we might struggle with communication), but that suits me fine. Read my full review of The One-Hundred-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared here.
March 19, 2021 at 9:33 AM
If you became chums with all of these you’d definitely have a varied social life and some fascinating conversations 🙂 Not too sure I could cope with Bridget Jones – she’d outdrink me for sure
March 19, 2021 at 9:41 PM
Hahaha I like to keep a diverse circle! 😉 Cheers 🥂
March 21, 2021 at 5:39 PM
What a fun post, and I love your reasons for each of these.
Jo and Friedrich, yes! I’ve just finished reading ‘Little Men’ about their attempt to set up a boys’ school. They continued to be a fun and well-intentioned couple.
Piranesi – definitely. What a darling!
Mark Watney – heck, yeah. I’m not big on the science either, but at least we could talk about the eighties music and sitcoms he’s stuck with 🙂
March 24, 2021 at 2:46 AM
I’m with you in the minority of us who know that Jo and Teddy would have actually driven each other mad. And I feel like no one ever talks about how perfect he and Amy are together as well!
March 26, 2021 at 12:24 PM
EXACTLY! I’ve copped a lot of flak for our opinion, but I maintain that it is the right one 😂