Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Young and Old

Now that I'm up in years, 60 of them, actually, I wonder if maybe I should be reading books about people in my age group. If I do that, though, I'd be identifying with the characters and admitting to myself I'm not as young as I used to be. Is that a good or bad thing?

Sometimes I wonder. On the one hand it's fun to pretend I'm young again, yet on the other hand, it's also fun to read books featuring characters I can relate to.

What about you? Which do you prefer? If you're young, do you care if the main characters are older, or vice versa? Can you name some books you particularly enjoyed that are about older characters? Or about characters younger than you? Or, maybe you've written one?
Please share.


  1. The age of the characters don't matter as much to me as the writing. From Harry Potter to Iris of Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, I read them all. :-)

  2. I don't think I've ever thought about this before.

    I loved The Golden Compass when I was kid, and when I read it again as an adult. I can't think of any books where the main character was terribly older than me.

    Most of the books I read tend to have the characters about 10 years older than me, but we're still all adults. But, I am on the younger side of 'adult' so I don't really know if it'll make a difference later in life.

    Right now, if it's a good book, I love it.


  3. I've never thought about that aspect -age of the characters and my own elderly status. (I've got five years on you, Kiddo!)
    I just read two books in the past week -well read one completely, the other I'd started back in August and just finished it. The former was by Jodi Picoult -her latest, "Handle With Care" and the latter, "Thirteen Moons" by Charles Frazier. Thinking about your question, considering the fact since I hit sixty, I discovered Jodi Picoult and have now read every single one of her books. None of her characters run anywhere near my age but I loved each book and all the characters in them too. The other book, is a novel with lots of historical stuff about the Native Americans in the 1800s and the Trail of Tears time with the main character going from a young lad of about 12-13 to probably his late 60s or 70s and for me, it was also just a good interesting read with no other side thoughts about age and relativity to my own advancing years -or taking me back to my youth either, come to think of it.

  4. Hmm, I don't even think about the character's age when I get a book or as I read the book. I like Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series. I don't know exactly how old China is but I know she's not in her 20s or even 30s.

  5. The age of the characters doesn't matter to me.

  6. Anonymous8:33 AM

    We have the YA genre - why not the GA? (geriatric adults) - LOL

    Nah, characters ages don't matter to me. But it IS smart to write books with boomer aged characters because it's still the largest segment of the population, and lots of people DO like to read about characters they can realate to.

  7. I'm (takes of shoes so he can take away and add) 57 now, but write for teens and tweens. I have kids of 6 and 7 so where does that put me? You should write what you enjoy writing, characters come as they are you can't just aim. Mine started as 12/13 but ended up at 15, so aged 2/3 years in the writing of a book.
    There are always people you can run your writings by to make sure you still have your finger on the polse..

    In my romance writing I have written for character of all ages, it' your imagination, and your character can be younger than spring time, yet still be part of you.

  8. If the story is well-written, there is probably something about the main character(s) I can identify with or relate to regardless of his or her age.

    Jane Kennedy Sutton

  9. I live by the motto that you have to grow old but you do not have to grow up. I don't worry about the age of my characters in most of what I write and some of them are inanimate anyway.

    I tend to write a lot about kritters and what's age to them?

  10. The stories I have read have a little bit of both younger and older characters. I really don't worry about the age difference. If it takes me back to my younger years then I enjoy that time. If the story brings me to my 52 years then I also enjoy it. You are as young as you feel...

    Cindy Hernandez

  11. Anonymous4:28 PM

    Hi there!
    That's not a bad dilemma to have! You'll never get bored with reading! And that's always good! :)
    I'd have to say that it really doesn't matter what age the characters are, as long as they're pertinent to you: the reader. :) I do like characters that are my own age or a little older, but in the Lord of the Rings (my favorite trilogy) that really could matter less! :) I don't like reading books with characters that are younger than my age, but that's just because of immaturity I guess! But, this is all merely preference! :)
    I just became a YA author, so my characters are my age or a little older; I think that makes the theme more applicable to the age group I'm trying to reach, but it also has a message for all ages, definitely. :)
    I would love if you would check out the site! It sounds like you have a really good view of characters! :)

    God bless,
    Taylor J. Beisler

  12. Hi Morgan,

    A lot of that depends upon the story that you write. Young people are more inquisitive, more energetic, more ambitious, in general more passionate, and sometimes, more foolish. We
    seniors (sigh) approach things more cautiously, are less physical, plan carefully, have a wealth of knowledge to draw from, and are seen as more nurturing. No one is going to believe a book about how a 20 year-old developed a cure for cancer or who established world peace. Likewise, who would buy "Lady Chatterly's Lover" if the main characters are 70 years old? There are roles for characters that are appropriate for their ages, and, like ying and yang, they fit together well.

    Best wishes,
    Randall Lang

  13. Anonymous12:48 AM

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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