This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, as set forth by the crew at The Broke and the Bookish, is “characters you’d like to check in with” — as in the book or series is over, but you’d like to know what they’re up to.
Such a fun topic! Be warned, though: since we’re talking about endings and beyond, there may be spoilers in this post. I’ll link to my (usually spoiler-free) reviews of books mentioned here, in case you’re curious.
In no particular order, my picks are:
1. Lusa from Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Lusa goes through a lot in Prodigal Summer for which I do not envy her. But she is smart, sensitive, and determined, and by the end of the novel, she’s started to build a new life for herself. I’d love to know where that life takes her. (Review coming later this week.)
2. Jason from Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
We spend a lot of time with Jason as a kid throughout the book — he is, after all, the narrator — and I found him endearing. The book ends on a hopeful note after some tough stuff has happened with his family. I think he’ll be ok, but I’d love to hear from him ten or fifteen years down the line and see what he’s up to.
3. Jane and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I know, I know, Jane says they’re happy. But we wait so long for them to be together…I want to know what that happiness looks like! I’m pretty sure I would read a sequel in which all they did was be happy.
4. Bicks from Pennies for the Piper by Susan McLean
Poor Bicks loses her mother early in the novel. Now orphaned, she’s supposed to take the bus straight to her aunt’s house in Iowa, but — long story short — she doesn’t and ends up having to get to her aunt’s mostly on foot. We leave her just after she arrives. I’d like to see what happens to her and who she grows into.
5. Kitty from The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
At the end of the novel, the shallow and immature Kitty we meet at the beginning has metamorphosized into a clear-sighted, determined young woman. She is pregnant and about to sail for the Bahamas with her elderly father. I would be curious to hear the rest of her story, to see where her new outlook and attitude take her.
6. Frankie from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
I like Frankie quite a bit. Admire her, really. And I think once she figured out a direction for all her creativity and frustration, she would be a powerhouse force to be reckoned with. It’d be cool to have a glimpse of that future.
7. The whole cast of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAdam trilogy
I adored this trilogy and wanted it to keep going. If I’m recalling correctly, you get a little bit of closure at the end, but nothing that implies everything is settled. I would very much like to see what the world looks like as time passes and what the characters are up to in its new landscape.
8. Elisa from Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy
Elisa is one of those characters you can’t help but like: smart, honest, earnest, brave (but not unbelievably so), with plenty of weaknesses but a determination to do what she believes is right. She loses friends, is betrayed, risks her life almost constantly. When we leave her, we’re pretty sure she’ll be alright but also that she has the potential to revolutionize her world. What she does is something I’d like to see.
9. Viola and Todd in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy
If you’ve read this trilogy, you know it’s…intense. There’s never much of a break in the action, even at the end. I’d just like to see what happens after all the craziness. What does the new world Todd and Viola have helped to shape look like? What roles do they find to fill in it? That sort of thing.
10. The whole cast of One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
This novel is about a group of nine strangers trapped together by a massive earthquake in the visa office of the Indian Consulate in an unnamed city. Divakaruni leaves us as rescue seems imminent but isn’t guaranteed, and I would love to know what happens to all those people with their individual stories.
A Few Thoughts
Can I just say: I kind of love thinking about these characters extending beyond the confines of their respective novels!
Looking back over my list, it seems I’d most like to check in with:
- Characters I liked who were left just past the danger or hardship, with things looking up;
- Interesting worlds or situations I want to hear more about; and
- Kids whose grown-up selves I’d like to meet.
I think it’s also interesting to note that I had no complaints about how the authors chose to end any of these books or series. As a matter of fact, they have some of the most fitting and appropriately timed endings I can think of — despite the fact that I’d like to hear more from their characters.
What characters would you most like to check in with?