Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)
Human nature is full of complexities. No one is perfect. No one is above making mistakes, and no one is liked by everyone. We each have our insecurities and fears. We have our ticks and eccentricities. Our lives are filled with obstacles we each must overcome. Our journeys are very different; our experiences are our own. And yet, we are more alike than we think, and we are not nearly as different from one other as we might sometimes believe. I am reminded of this every time I open a book. Even as I step into the pages of a world completely different than my own and into the life of someone whose experiences I cannot fathom, it is rare that I do not find some common ground with the characters I read about.
People, their thought processes, emotions, and behavior have always fascinated me. I imagine that this is in part what helped determine my career path and influences my reading choices. I enjoy seeing the process unfold: what makes a character tick, exactly what they think and feel and to better understand why he or she makes certain choices.
Where I am in my life plays a part in the types of characters I may be drawn to. As a teenager, I was drawn most to the outcast or perhaps the one who sat on the edges looking in. For many years it was important for me to like the lead characters in a way I might like a friend. That is less important to me today. Certainly for a book to work for me, I have to feel some sort of connection with the lead character, but that connection is less defined nowadays in the sense of seeing things in terms of black and white. I am better able to see the gray areas today and understand them more fully. I would like to think that I also am more open minded and more willing to step outside of my comfort zone.
In recent years, I find I am most drawn to female lead characters that come across as real. They share the same complexities and humanness as every day people. They are flawed and vulnerable, and yet also intelligent and strong. I have a preference for strong leading ladies who can take care of themselves and do not need a man to come to their rescue at every turn (although once in a while is okay). Give me a little edge and moxie any day, but please no arrogance as that is sure to turn me off rather quickly. If she's bookish too, all the better! This is a lot how I would like to see myself in some respects, and, in others, what I aspire to be. Characters that come to mind instantly and who have stayed with me include Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Kinsey Millhone, Margaret Hughes, and Morgaine. Each of them has an inner strength and a mind of her own; not to mention the stories they inhabit are enduring.
That isn't to say that I do not enjoy reading about other types of characters. I most certainly do. Variety is the spice of life, right? And who knows what type of character will sway me more than others ten years down the road.
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!