Are unlikable characters a deal-breaker? 5 Minutes for Mom I read kind all kinds of books, from light women’s fiction to darker literary fiction to funny memoirs to heartbreaking ones. I tend to have a pretty upbeat view on life, so characters who do or think terrible things do not necessarily bother me. I recognize the darker side of humanity as a fact of life, so I just view it as a psychological study to an extent. Many others do not agree with me and online reviews of books often site this reason as a low star rating: “I didn’t like any of the characters.” Is this a book thing, or does it extend to movies and television as well? I don’t seem to hear that criticism in regards to TV, and I wonder why that would be? After all, if that held true, how would we account for the success of such television shows as Mad Men? I couldn’t stop watching in spite of the abysmal moral character and choices of most of the principals in the show. I’ve said I don’t shy away from dark, but binge-watching this show was almost too much for me, and I think it was the binging that put it over the top. When I started reading The Nest, I knew that people either found it “unputdownnable” or “overrated” (since it appeared on many of the summer must-read lists in magazines and online). The main reason people cited for not being able to even finish the book was that the characters were jerks, unlikable, despicable, etcetera. I picked this up because it is one of five books I’m reading in my online book club, but I love a good family drama, so I probably would have read it anyway. I also love a great setting (and New York in particular), and New York is practically a character in this novel. I was a quarter way into the book when I realized, “I don’t hate anyone in this book.” Then I had to ask myself, “Am I a horrible person because of this?” I actually posed this question in our online discussion group. Most rushed to my side claiming that it didn’t make me a horrible person — whether they found the characters likable or not… This is an excerpt from the article Are unlikable characters a deal-breaker? which originally appeared on 5 Minutes for Mom.