The “I”s don’t necessarily have it
For some reason I am not too comfortable with admitting the following: I don’t often like books that are told in the first person.
When I read “me” or “I” as the narrative in the story I tend to put the book back on the shelf. There have been few stories that have used this point of view that have sucked me in on the first page. The obvious one that comes to mind is The Hunger Games (but the pace of that story was so fast that I could barely register the first person story point due to my heart pumping like a jack hammer).
I have a reason though.
When I read a story that is in the first person I feel that I am potentially missing parts of the story that could be told from other perspectives. I like to know what is going on. If I am at a party I want to know what is happening in all the other rooms. It is the 3rd person observer in me who likes to watch people. When a character is speaking from the first person I get irritated with that character. How do you know that John, whom you (as the first person character) are having an argument with, has become thoughtful following the hateful words you flung at him? What if he just had gas and needed a moment to ensure he didn’t fart in front of you? I realize this is extreme in my reasoning but I guess the bottom line is I don’t trust that I am getting all sides of the story. First person stories are, let’s face it, only about one side.
To me an enriching story is one that is fueled with hues, colours, different viewpoints, experiences and observations. The point of view of the observer is a role that I find most comfort in (as do most introverts) and the most interesting. I don’t just want one view point in the stories I read, I want them all. As the reader, I am omnipotent. So yes, that probably means that deep down I have trust issues coupled with probably needing to become more active in life and less of an observer. Maybe throw some control issues (God complex) into the mix. However, this post isn’t about me and the therapy we all know I need but rather, just another book snob confession. And this was a tough one for me; so tough that I didn’t even put it down on my Confessions of a Book Snob page.
Again, I realize I am potentially missing out on some amazing stories and I am never completely close minded to the first person points of view, I just have a harder time getting in to them.
Anyone else? I would welcome some arguments supporting them.
And yes, I realize I am right now, writing in the first person. But my life is not a book of fiction.
Or is it?
Posted on August 21, 2012, in General Musings & Thoughts and tagged book snob confession, books, first person, introverts, personal preference, point of view, stories, third person. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.