Should books be like real life? (Spoilers)

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I’m delighted to welcome Jessica from Crossroad Reviews today who is posing the question to readers:

Should books be like real life?

I think I speak for most people when I say that I love reading because it takes me away from the world I live in. When I read books I no longer have children, I am no longer married, I don’t have to deal with bills and a million other things that are going on my life.  Reading is an escape from the real world.  With reading, I can ride dragons, talk to trees, and even span worlds that I will never be able to visit.

This comes to the question of should books be like real life and how realistic should they really be?  This is a catch 22 question and answer. It all comes down to how plausible do you want your books to be?  It could come from the simple story like the Divergent series that seems to be split down the middle for those who love it to those who hate it. 

The series ends with Tris dying from multiple gunshot wounds which is like real life. If you are shot multiple times with a gun there is a good chance you are going to die.  And again, in the The Hunger Games, you have beloved Prim dying from being blown up.

But then there have been a few titles that just seemed a little too far out there. 

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles has a teenage girl running out into the cold without so much as a jacket in the freezing weather.  For someone who is supposed to know about surviving out there in the wilderness. I just couldn’t see this character running out the door without precautions.  Even if her brother did run away.

In real life, the boy doesn’t always get the girl and in some cases evil wins over good.  One series that did a very good job at this was The Merciless series by Danielle Vega.  In this series good doesn’t win and its evil that wins out in the end. 

Here are a few things that books tend to be less real about.  These are ones that really don’t make a difference other than pacing in a title. 

Time in books tends to be pretty fluid. Books tend to sum up long trips in a short amount of pages.  I mean look at The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I’m sure those characters had to use the restroom and had to take breaks more than what we saw. For the most part, this doesn’t tend to hurt the book all that much.  But I would love to see a book really take the time to do well time in a story.

The maturity of Characters in books sometimes really works or well sometimes it doesn’t. I know most teenagers in high school at least in books are WAY more mature than what they are in real life. However, if you’re in a fantasy or in a specific situation (such as the loss of a parent), then it usually makes sense that the characters are more mature than what they normally would be. 

Bathroom Breaks and Food are the last things on my list. For the most part, there have been very few books that take about people having to pee and eat.  Even in some fantasy books characters go weeks without eating or going pee. Then you get some that toss it all in there for us to see.

In the end, it’s all up to us the reader on what we are going to believe.  Are we going to believe that Tris could be shot a crap ton of times and still survive? Or that those hot bad boys can have those amazing bodies without lifting one weight or visiting the gym. Or even those groups of people who have gone on a three-year trip without so much as having a snack.

For me I want books to be at least slightly plausible. I mean if someone’s arm gets cut off it can’t be back in the next chapter unless there’s a reason for that.  If people go a really long trip that’s sped up it would be nice to have a short little paragraph or something that says something about hunting and eating.  It takes very little for things to be plausible.

I get that in fantasy you will find dragons and witches and all kinds of magic. Which is fine but even those things need to follow some kind of rules.  You can’t have your witch being able to control only water for most of the book then all of a sudden being able to turn into a dragon or to control fire. At least again not without a cause of it.   

So this is my take on books being realistic. Now how realistic do you want your books to be?  In what ways do you think books can be unrealistic?  Let me know in the comments below!

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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