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I Have a Secret… on character names


A few bloggers I adore have recently started posting their own bookish secrets or confessions. We all have them, there’s no denying that. Naturally not everyone has those same loves/hates/quirks and I’ve decided to make a short (??) series highlighting some of mine.

In this inaugural I Have a Secret… post, I want to talk about something near & dear to my heart:

I hate when a character shares my name.

I know, I know, this totally makes me sound like a jerk. I get that. It wasn’t always this way, though. When I was younger, I HATED my name. Leah. Le-ah. Four letters, two syllables. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Wrong.

Unfortunately, people had such a hard time with my name it got a little ridiculous. I’d always get Lee or Leia (and the resulting Star Wars jokes – not funny, by the way!) instead. I couldn’t understand why so many people had a difficult time and it wasn’t as though my name was virtually unheard of! True, I never had to use my last initial the way the handful of Joshes and Britneys in my class did, but surely people had heard of my name before.

Because no one could get my name right growing up, I felt a special kinship toward other Leahs in books I came across. I felt a sort of sympathy for them as well as a particular bond.

Things have a funny way of changing however, and over time, I got older and my disdain for my name turned into love. I love being the only Leah and these days I don’t cringe at mispronunciations. In fact, I’ll happily repeat it – along with the spelling (though by now, the ladies at Starbucks have it down pat) – three, four times.

As my feelings for my name changed, so did my feelings toward other Leahs. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve never refused to read a book because of a character’s name, but these days, I’m just not inclined to rush out and read about another Leah. I suppose you could say I’ve become somewhat territorial and possessive; that’s my name, that’s who I am.

Am I only in this? What are your book secrets?

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9 thoughts on “I Have a Secret… on character names

  1. My like for character’s with my name really depends on whether or not I like the character. It’s pretty rare that I run into another Kelly in YA, but when I do, if I don’t like her, I hate that she has my name! I don’t want other people to think all Kelly’s are like this character that I dislike, so I hate her for ruining my good name!

    Lol, so yes, I definitely get it :)

  2. I LOVE it when a character shares my name in a book, and I usually take it as a sign that I’m meant to read it. Growing up the only book-Ruby I encountered was in the Anne of Green Gables series and she died. Now I notice it popping up a bit more and, while I don’t mind seeing it in books, I’ve always liked that I was the only Ruby. So I guess I’m territorial about it, now?

  3. I agree, I have a hard time reading a book where the main character shares my name. Or, I would if I ever encountered that. I did read a book once where the romantic interest shared my husband’s name. That was weird.

  4. Haha. See, I’m in that whole territorial part with my name. The name Asti is so rare that I’ve never personally met anyone else who has it and constantly have to spell it out for others. (No, it’s not Ass-tea. I mean, really?!) That being said, as much as I love my name because it’s mine and mine only, sometimes I sort of wish a character in a book would have it. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel like such an oddball. Of course, that’s only if the character is awesome and admirable. If I don’t like the character and they end up with my name, I’ll regret ever wishing it. :P

  5. Ahh, same! When I was younger, people used to have terrible trouble with my name, which is stupid – Alexandra is not exactly an unusual name – but I so often got called Alexander (Ugh, no, that’s the boy version. Do I look like a boy?) or Alice. No six-year-old girl wants to hear that she has a boy’s name. But now I’m very fond of my name, and like you, I’ve gotten rather possessive. MY name. And that wasn’t a problem, because there wasn’t that many fictional Alexes, but just recently I’ve definitely noticed an increase. I do not like this trend. I think though, one of the reasons why – aside from being selfish and not wanting to share :-P – I dislike this so much is that it disrupts my reading experience. Whenever I see “my name” I’m jerked out of the narrative. It’s like hearing someone speaking your name across the room when you’re in conversation with someone else. And that’s frustrating.

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