Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Good Boys of Fiction

Last month I discussed anti-heroes and why we love them even when we know they're bad. That got me thinking about my many book boyfriends and I started realizing something I hadn't expected. Despite my love for a few bad boys, like Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries and Ronan from The Raven Boys, the majority of my fictional crushes tend towards the good boys!

Good boys in books often get overlooked because they lack the swagger, smart mouth or quick fists of the bad boys. Good boys can't always pull off lopsided grins and snarky one-liners. They rarely wear leather and are even less likely to show off piercings and tattoos, however, these boys are the ones we know would not only be good to us, but good for us too!

Exhibit A: Ghost from Poppy Z Brite's Lost Souls.

Ghost is a gentle, effeminate creature in a cast of fairly amoral blood drinkers. He rides a bicycle complete with rainbow-coloured streamers, he loves and regularly visits his grandmother, he looks for the good in everyone and is devoted to his friends even when they don't fully appreciate his presence. Ghost is the kind of guy my parents would've loved me to date growing up, the kind of guy who'd never forget my birthday and would rub my feet after a long day. I fell in love with Ghost when I first read Lost Souls in high school and whenever someone says 'book boyfriend' he's the first character that pops into my head. No tattoos, no anger management issues, no abs of steel - just attentive, loving goodness.

Exhibit B: Sean Kendrick from Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races.

Is there anything more poignantly beautiful than witnessing the love between a man and an animal? In this case, between Sean Kendrick and the wild water horses of Thisby. Sean is an outsider but instead of becoming a sulky, angst-ridden, anger-fueled loner, he gets on with life the best way he can and devotes his life to savage, flesh-eating horses - savage beasts only he seems to be able to tame and truly befriend. That alone is a major swoon factor. Then he meets Puck, a girl everyone else discounts in the annual horse races because of her gender, but not Sean. Sean stands up for what he believes in and for what's right without resorting to violence - integrity is his middle name. Sean is the type of boy I wish I'd dated when I was 16.

While I do love my leather-jacket-wearing, scowling, smirking, cynical bad boys, they're not the boys I'd actually want to be in a relationship with. Truth is, it's usually the good boys in fiction who steal my heart. 

Who are your 'good boy' book boyfriends?

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