It’s no secret that one of the best things about reading a really good book that features a dashing leading man or desirable leading lady (depending on your type) is developing a secret (or not so secret) crush on the character. Entire blogs are dedicated to “book boyfriends” or “literature loves” and if only there were more alliterative phrases I would keep going. The fact of the matter is, a well-written book gives you an insight into a fictional character that is so deep, so real that you get to feel as if you know this character as a person. Any romantic thing they do is doubly swoonworthy since it’s so easy to insert yourself into the pages of the book.
This isn’t new and don’t pretend you’ve never done it, never had oddly overly affectionate feelings for a character who not only doesn’t exist, but whose visage, demeanor and gait you’ve come up with all on your own, with only a little help from nice adjectives and descriptive phrases.
What about, though, falling in love with the person behind the words? Authors, especially authors long since gone, have a real mysteriousness and intangible quality about them that is just so. darn. attractive. I have a friend who is insufferably in love with Ernest Hemingway and another who would give anything, anything to meet John Keats.
Personally, though I have never before had any previous inclination, I’m leaning a little towards one Mr. J.D. Salinger, of late. Yes, the misanthropic shut in who also, apparently carried on an epistolary relationship with a young woman he had never met. Sure, the romantic aspect of this is ramped up by the long lost letters component, and today’s equivalent of emails and text messages just won’t compare, but his self-deprecating boasting and little endearments really show a different side to the man no one really knew too much about.
After melting a little bit at “Sneaky girl. You’re pretty,” tell me about any of your author crushes or any authors you’d do anything to simply exchange letters back and forth with for years, even if it only amounted to something to look back on and smile fondly at later.