You know you’re a bookworm when your first crush is not a flesh and blood human being but one made of words.
I had a thing for Robin Hood as a child. Stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, evading capture with clever plans and derring-do: he was my ideal guy.
Then I read a biography of Alexander the Great and Robin Hood lost his place as number one in my heart. I don’t know if Alexander quite counts as a literary crush as he was an actual historical figure, but I learned about him from a book so I’m going to count him anyway.
Eventually I realized that a guy who drank himself to death might not be the best person to obsess over. That’s when I started reading the Father Brown mysteries written by G. K. Chesterton, and I found myself a new literary crush.
No, it was not Father Brown. As you might be able to tell from my previous infatuations, I had a bit of a thing for the “bad boy” type. One of the reoccurring characters in Chesterton’s stories is a sneak thief-turned private detective who goes by the alias “Flambeau” (French for “flaming torch”). He still holds a special place in my heart, in spite of the fact that by the end of the series he is married and living quietly with his large family in a castle in Spain.
I’m not the only person who loves a good literary bad boy (although I would never want to be with a guy like that in real life). Tall, dark, and handsome, mysterious and calculating, characters with a fascinating dark side can really keep you interested.
That said, Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights just doesn’t do anything for me, even though he is the quintessential romantic bad boy. When it comes to classic lit, Captain Fredrick Wentworth (from Persuasion) will forever hold my heart. He’s not really the bad boy type, just full of high spirits and passionate about the things he cares for.
Who’s your literary crush? I sincerely hope that you have one, and that I am not the only person who has had more crushes on literary characters than on flesh and blood people.