Being an avid reader, this question has crossed my mind a time or two. Reading was my escape especially in my middle school and high school era. What some people will never understand and experience for themselves is the feeling of truly escaping into a book; feeling the world as they know it slip away, noise cease to exist, and to know nothing except the words their eyes, mind, and soul eat up with voracious intensity. Coming home from school, I would run to my bed, open the book I had been reading all day at school, plug-in my earphones and sigh a breath of relief. I don’t know why, and a lot of people question me, but I’ve always been able to read and write better with music in the background. Music adds a different level of intensity to reading and writing, I discovered this while innocently plugging into my CD Player to escape from the noise of five other siblings rambling about. Something just happened where whatever the emotion I was feeling was heightened by what music was playing, and whenever I would hear that song again whilst doing other things except reading, I would feel the way I had been when it was complementing my book. I now can not find peace writing or reading without music in the background; it’s the best of two worlds. Silence is too loud for me, with the pressure of writing something worth while pounding in my ears and head. With music on, that is drowned out by the best of classic and modern rock.
With my young and inexperienced eyes widening more, and still more, with each flip of the page I would wish I was the heroine of the story, or find someone in the story to relate too. I loved these people, and shared more with them then I did with anyone at that time. Each character was a friend, or enemy that I saw mirrored in the bullies at school. All the while I knew that the characters I was in love with, in the most elemental innocent way, where just extensions of the author themselves. A character, no matter how good or evil is just a product of the author’s imagination. Even still, I looked up to some of the characters I read about. My favorite novel series was, “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. The woman is a magician with words, and spun such a tapestry that I could hardly come up for air. I fell in love with the main character, Mr. James Fraser. He was everything, of course, a woman wanted in a man. Yet, also, he was everything I wanted to be as a human being. I wanted to feel the passion, bravery, pride, love, sense of duty, and wisdom this man did.
I was introduced to these books through my mother, and was probably too young to be reading them, but before she could learn I had even opened the cover, I was full off of the first book and craving the second. There is a lot of graphic imagery in the series, but I think that it has never been done without taste whether it be in the heated passion of sex or the gruesome bloodiness of war. The story may be fantasy fiction, but it is also tells of the realness of humanity and in the same note, the absolute lacking of it. Honestly, and without feeling any shame in saying so; I, the shy, chubby, and bullied youngster, would ask myself in tough situations, “What would Jamie Fraser do?” I smile now, thinking about it, but I used it as a some sort of mantra. The man is a warrior, but he had flaws which made him even more real to me. I wanted to mimic his aptness to make decisive decisions, and it didn’t steer me wrong.
Just imagine, a modern-day middle school student, wanting to be more like a Scottish Highlander. Yeah, it seems pretty lame and funny now. In truth, reading those books I learned something about love and life. I know it sounds so corny now, but it’s so true. I definitely wasn’t the intended audience, at the time, for those novels. For most my age, they would have been way too mature and advanced to follow, and sure sometimes Jamie was too good to be true, but it shaped the way my standards were for love to come in the future. Diana gave women a man to compare all suitors against, and at the same time gave men an idol to try to emulate; a hard task for each side. What I love the most is that Jamie isn’t some Fabio on the side of a trashy novel; some idol to hold on a pedestal that can never be reached. To me, James Fraser represents a strength of character that people should strive to find within themselves instead of deciding that is too far to reach for.
If he were real, and unfortunately not the birth of a genius’ mind, I wouldn’t have too much to ask him. Diana wrote him so well, I know how he became the way he is/was. We would probably just shoot the breeze, of course I would thank him for being a worthwhile role model [even for a girl]. I would have him teach me how to fight like a Highlander [zombies watch out]. I would ask him about work problems, and what he would do. Of course, I would talk to him about my relationship with Matt and see what he has to say. I could see us being good friends. No, I’m not a delusional fan who wants to have a relationship with a fictional character. It would, however, be highly advantageous to have a huge hulking warrior [picture William Wallace but bigger] as my wing man or good friend. I think, yes. Of course if he were there, so would his wife Claire. A WWII nurse would be rather handy, as Matt doesn’t have health insurance, and free [usually Homeopathic albeit effective] medicine is never unwarranted.
So there you have it guys, one of [but not exclusively] my favorite literary characters. Hate to be promotional…just kidding, I love promoting things I enjoy. Go read the fantastic “Outlander” series. I still need to read her new book “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood”, which fortunately means I get to reread the entire series again, for I won’t divulge the number of times now.
Have a good crisp November day, guys!
- Starz’s ‘Outlander’: First Look at Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser (thewrap.com)
- Upcoming Review: ‘Outlander’ By: Diana Gabaldon (hookedonbooks12.wordpress.com)
- How to keep readers turning the page: tips from bestselling author Diana Gabaldon (onewildword.com)