Wednesday, March 17, 2010

True Life: I Have a Character-Driven Novel

Sometimes I envy plot-driven novels. They're so shiny and fun and ... what's that word? ... describable.

But then I read a book like Lauren Myracle's Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks.

Ok, technically, I listened to it on audiobook -- which I highly recommend, because the narration (by Julia Whelan) is fantastic.

Confession: When I first saw PLBD in a bookstore, I was like "What the heck is this book about?" Talk about a cryptic title. But I chose the audiobook on a whim. The best whim ever. And if someone asked me NOW what it's about, I'd most likely stammer and "um" a lot and eventually say, "It's about sisters. You MUST read it."

And you really should read it, like, if you're a girl
or if you've ever been a girl
or if you've ever not had a crush on the guy you should've had a crush on
or if you have a complicated relationship with your sister
or if you sometimes look at the world around you and wonder where the heck you fit in.

It's that awesome.

Here's the official description: Growing up in a world of wealth and pastel-tinted entitlement, fifteen-year-old Carly has always relied on the constancy—and authenticity—of her sister, Anna. But when fourteen-year-old Anna turns plastic-perfect-pretty over the course of a single summer, everything starts to change. And there are boys involved, complicating things as boys always do.

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks spoke to me. Within its deceptively simple and delightfully readable pages, it drew me in and I just felt this aching truth within its words. It made me smile and sometimes laugh and one morning on my way to work I teared up a little at an emotional part.

Aside: You know how everyone talks about all-important "voice"? Lauren Myracle has it. It makes this novel wonderful.

Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks makes me proud of what character-driven novels can achieve. What I hope my novel will one day achieve. Easy descriptions be damned.

What's your favorite character-driven novel?


  1. Sounds like those old Virginia Andrews family saga books. What were they called?

  2. Thanks for explaining the title. I never got it until now. Definitely checking this one out.:)

  3. Cleverly Inked - Stumped or not, read this book!

    ZZ - I have no idea, but if they're anything similar, I'll try them!

    Stina - Yayyyy you'll totally be converted!

  4. I love character-driven books! Any novel that has me feeling for characters is a winner to me. I'm not sure if this counts because it's a classic, but TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES is probably my favorite character-driven novel. Thomas Hardy paved the way for the rest of us writers who love to delve deep into our characters' heads.

    Nice blog! :)

  5. I've been hesitant about this book because of the title. But I see it at the stores and sometimes want to grab it. And now I do! Thanks, I lurrrrve character driven novels!!! This seems like my type of book.


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