There’s only one “I” in reading

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One I in readingFrankly, I don’t know how you all do it…I barely manage. Barely.  It’s even caused me to change my reading selection for this week.

After trudging through an “okay” book that punished me even further by being written in first-person, I had a terrible premonition that I raced to check out.

Sure enough, the next book on my list to read (of friends’ recommendations) was also written in first-person. Ugh, I say. Ugh.

I’ve tried to explain this before, but perhaps I should have asked for opinions on how the rest of you can so easily manage it.

I can just barely stand reading a book in first-person. I find it terribly distracting and a great weight on my ability to read the story.

It’s not complicated, at least in my mind. When I read a book in third-person, I have no problem identifying with the characters and allowing myself to get immersed in the story. Sure, in the far corner of my mind, I know it’s not me, but that’s fine.

I’m just as pleased to read about a character’s feelings and motivations. Those that I can identify with, I can nod mentally; those that are out of character to me, I can simply raise an eyebrow mentally.

I can’t do that in first-person. In first-person, all the character decisions and thoughts are being written as if I’m the one experiencing and thinking them. Not only does this jar me from my suspension of disbelief needed to engage the story, it causes me to second guess the character, further jarring me from immersion in the tale.

I’m sure plenty of you enjoy first-person written tales. I can wade through them, but I do so in sufferance and that’s no way to enjoy a book.

I’d love to know how you manage it, because for me, there’s only one I in reading.

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