Top five who’d be in:
Grandfather: Jayber Crow, from, Wendell Berry’s Jayber Crow. This is hard one. He might turn out to actually be just like my grandfather really was, it’s hard to tell. The person you know as your grandfather when you’re like 5 years old would not be like the first person narrator of Jayber Crow, but when you got to the age where you think of your grandparents as actual people, I’d take Jayber.
Sister: Lata Mehra from A Suitable Boy. I don’t know, I just like Lata. I like that she’s sensible, down-to-earth. It felt like we’d have a lot in common, though I think I would advise her to marry someone different in the end.
Mother: I had the perfect mother in mind when I first saw this list, and then I lost it. There are lot of characters out there with good motherhood potentail. The wife in Gap Creek. Lusa from Prodigal Summer. What would Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice be like as a mother? I think she’d be a good combination of reliable and steady with a nice dose of understanding and empathy. I still can’t remember who I had picked out. Oh, well.
Son: Marcus, from About a Boy. Don’t you just love this kid? I thought Nick Hornby did such a good job climbing inside the mind of a young boy without falling into cliches. Marcus is real and sweet and you just want to take him home with you in the end. So I would.
|This kind of looks like my 4th grade picture;
maybe Scout and I are related
Daughter: Scout Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird. Okay, I don’t know if Scout would actually be the easiest child to raise. She’s pretty ornery. But she makes you want to try, anyway.
Top five family members for whom you’d turn out the lights and draw the shade:
Olive Kitteridge, from Olive Kitteridge. Okay, really, I love Olive. I think sometimes I am Olive. I think sometimes I have family members (whose names I will not mention) who are Olive. Olive is the quintessential family for me. You don’t always want to be around them, they drive you crazy, and yet there they are. Your family, and what can you do? The only person I might like in my family less than Olive is her son.
Holden Caufield, from Catcher in the Rye. Fascinating to read, but think about it. Would you want Holden as your son, or brother, or even distant cousin? Wouldn’t you want to kind of slap him and tell him to get over himself? Think about him brooding at Thanksgiving dinner. And the sarcasm. Fun to read, but not to have in the house for longer than a short visit.
Captain Ahab, from Moby Dick. That’s really self-explanatory. He’d be gone a lot, so that’d be a plus. But really, there’s no room for you and the white whale in his life.
Mrs. Ramsay, from To the Lighthouse. Preferable to her husband (see below), but there’d be lots of pressure to get married and have children. If she were your mother, I think you’d just want her to divorce Dad and take you away from him.
Mr. Ramsay, from To the Lighthouse. See above. “We all perished, each alone!” Get over it, dude. Mr. Ramsay is even more pathetic than Ahab because there’s not even a white whale. What is it he’s after? He’s a philosopher, even he doesn’t know.
Strangely, I found the second list much easier than the first. Who would you definitely not want in your family?