Why You Should Read Books Where Characters Change and Grow
Desiree Worrall-BelangerMar 1 2023
Hundreds of books in the Fable bookstore have been tagged “Characters change and grow.” Readers around the world love these books because they have excellent character development. “Character development is the process of creating fictional characters with the same depth and complexity as real-life human beings,” explains Writers.com in an essay defining what happens when characters change and grow throughout a book.What book had the best character development you’ve ever read?
Why is good character development important?
Throughout the story writing process, the author will develop character traits to flesh out the people that populate their stories.Some of us read to escape reality, some read to feel seen, and some read to find ourselves, seeking inspiration from fictional characters to find the right path, to find what change must be brought into our lives to achieve our goals and desired reality. Change is inevitable, even if it makes us uncomfortable. We faced it as children to become who we are today and will continue to do so. Many of us will be hesitant, or even intimidated, by the mere idea of change - that’s entirely normal. Humans are wired to fear or avoid change, so developing new habits can often be challenging. When our brains notice something “different” happening, big or small, we immediately go into “fight or flight.” Remember that “fight or flight” can occur in many different ways and look very different from scenario to scenario and person to person. However, regardless of how threatening something is, the human mind is set up to kick into this instinct the second it notices change. It is a survival and problem-solving mechanism.While a “fight or flight” response for going on a first date versus driving for the first time will - most likely - initiate different responses, the fact remains that they were undertaken by a common factor - change. So, if our bodies instinctively go into this self-defense mode whenever change happens, why do so many of us crave it so much?It’s how we grow. This concept is often observed in literature. Have you ever read a book where the main character is introduced with a particular personality, and by the end, they are a changed person? Those are called dynamic characters - they change and grow throughout the story - but this concept also applies to real life. So, what’s the use of intentionally reading books with dynamic characters - books where the characters will change and grow throughout the story? Keep reading to find out.
The benefits of reading about characters who change and grow
Reading books with dynamic characters holds multiple benefits. While these can vary from reader to reader, one benefit could be seen as universal - the development of empathy. While developing empathy can result from reading any, it is further enhanced in fiction with dynamic characters. Readers can practice empathy more thoroughly throughout the protagonists’ character development as there will be multiple sides to the same character. In “You Deserve Each Other,” some of us may initially empathize with Naomi or Nicholas. As the book continues, we might sympathize with these characters differently. That would be because the characters have changed and grown throughout the story. Not only do books with dynamic characters promote the development of empathy for readers, but they can also bring a sense of comfort or reassurance. Reading a book and feeling seen or understood because the protagonist has similar struggles to your own is a huge attribute to novels with these types of characters. Knowing that you’re not alone in whatever situation you might find yourself in, and seeing that the protagonist eventually works through this situation, can bring immense comfort to readers. This is also one of the many reasons why having more representation and diversity in literature is becoming increasingly important.
Which is the best book for reading about characters who change and grow?
One book I will always recommend to readers looking for character growth is “You Deserve Each Other” by Sarah Hoggle. The story follows Naomie and Nicholas, an engaged couple who have lost their spark, making both characters want to call off the wedding. Much likeGilmore Girls’ own Emily Gilmore, Nicholas’s mother has taken complete control over the wedding preparations, so Naomi and Nicholas don’t want to be the ones having to call it off since they would have to pay her back for everything. So, the two embark on this little adventure of who’s-going-to-break-first? While this whole charade starts with one trying to make the other call off their wedding, they’ll eventually find themselves more in love than they were the day Nicholas proposed. Throughout this story, not only do we see Naomi and Nicholas grow and change as individuals, but we also see them grow as a couple. It’s a beautiful story showing how, if you put in some effort and dedication, so much can happen - albeit sometimes in unexpected ways. Filled with humorous pranks, banter, tension, and heartwarming romance, this is undoubtedly one of my favorite books for character growth (and let’s be honest, it’s one of my favorite books, period.)
How can I read books where characters change and grow for free?
Fable has an endless list of classic novels depicting character growth. Here are a few classics with dynamic characters, which you can all read for free via Fable:
Both a woman’s spiritual quest for independence and a love story, Jane learns that morality and intelligence transcend wealth or social standing. She is not afraid to stand up for herself, be forced into poverty or loneliness, and reject what is expected of her in favor of the moral high ground and what she believes to be correct—a powerful message for any woman to read today and revolutionary in Victorian England.
Pride and Prejudice may today be one of Jane Austen’s most enduring novels, having been widely adapted to stage, screen, and other media since its publication in 1813. The novel tells the tale of five unmarried sisters and how their lives change when a wealthy eligible bachelor moves into their neighborhood.
During a dark winter night, Horatio and a pair of watchmen encounter a ghost that resembles the late King of Denmark, the father of Prince Hamlet. After failing to converse with the ghost, Hamlet is brought to the site of the encounter. The ghost tells the story of his death. He was murdered by King Claudius, the dead king’s brother and Hamlet’s new stepfather. Hamlet swears to avenge him and kill Claudius.
Desiree Worrall-Belanger is a Canadian bookish influencer known under the username @rainydayslibrary. Having been annotating for multiple years, Desiree shares her tips and tricks on her platforms - one of the primary focuses on her social media accounts as of late 2021. Pursuing an honors in English and a minor in Visual and Material Culture studies at Mount Allison University, Desiree is devoted to the world of words. If you’re trying to reach her and she doesn’t answer, odds are she’s at the bookstore, or perhaps she’s practicing some of her favorite hobbies such as reading, listening to music, and crocheting.