Sometimes the main character in a story starts out a bit unlikeable.....unreleatable.....
When I first searched for an agent and publisher for A Bitch Named Karma...I had a real hard time. I didn't realize my character was unrelatable and unlikable until I was told so by an editor who judged a contest I entered the story in. And at first I couldn't see it. (What? They are COMPLETELY crazy!) But then I did start to see what they meant. And it angered me a bit. Yes, Lexi is self-centered and materialistic and just a bitch....in the beginning.... Did all these agents and publishers really think I wrote an entire story with a main character like that who did not learn and grow throughout??? I thought they should have had a little faith that the character would not stay the same. That she would turn into a character the reader would love and admire and really feel connected to. Don't all main characters in any movie or book develop throughout the story? Become different people, or at least better versions of what they were in the beginning.
I have two prime examples of stories where the protagonist starts out really mean and nasty and unlikeable.
Let's first take Lightning McQueen from Cars.
This has long been one of my kid's favorite moves, and in my top 3 Disney films. I really just love it. But Lightning starts out very unlikeable- he's mean to his crew, he has no respect for his fans, he pushes his driver to go all night, promising to stay awake with him...then falls asleep on him. He's plopped in a new town where he insults the residents and does a crappy job fixing their road- his penance for destroying it. But as the movie goes on, he slowly learns what life is all about and what really matters. In the end, you can't help but root for him to win the big race...and even when he doesn't, he's still the winner. I get teary every single time I watch it.
And something a bit more adult, the character of Darcy in Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed.
I adored the main charter in the book, Rachel. Like most women, I identified with her on so many levels. And even though she did a bad thing, I wanted her to do it because she deserved to and her supposed BFF, Darcy, was such a colossal bitch. But in that story, Darcy was not the main character.....fast forward to book two- Something Blue.
I did not expect Darcy to be the protagonist and I did not like her AT ALL. She was the bitch who made my "friend" so miserable in the first book. Several times I wanted to put the book down and not continue. But I did because I had faith in the writer and the character. And in the end I did like Darcy and enjoyed her story. I liked watching her mature and become a different person.
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where the main character was not likeable in the beginning?? What did you do?? Did you put it down, or did you push on...having faith that the character would grow and develop??