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My Top 6 Unlikeable Women In Fiction

    This great link from Book Riot turned up on my social media feeds recently – 100 Must-Read Books With Unlikeable Women.

    It’s SUCH  comprehensive list and there’s plenty on there to add the TBR! As I’ve written before, I LOVE an ‘unlikeable’ woman (though I’d call them ‘enigmatic’, rather than unlikeable!!).

    My protagonist in my debut, The Other Twin is called Poppy Wade and she might be termed ‘unlikeable’ because she can be selfish and reckless … Though I love her because she’s also FIERCE and LOYAL! I hate goody-two-shoes characters and I love to read about women with flaws and problems of their own, which is why I wrote Poppy like this.

    Without further ado, here’s the ones I’ve read from the top 100 list:

    1) Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. One of my first reads of 2017, this is a very unusual book because it may not be about what you *think* it is … I’m not giving anything away though! Read my full (non-spoilery) review, HERE.

    2) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. **Obviously** Amy Dunne will figure in a top 100 — she’s an icon and opened the door to many more enigmatic leads like her! Thanks Gillian Flynn, you rock! My full review, HERE.

    3) The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. Rachel is iconic too, just like Amy Dunne – so again, we can’t have a top 100 list without her. As a British novelist like Hawkins, I feel so inspired by the success of this book and think it’s great storytelling. My full review, HERE.

    4) Only Ever Yours by Louise O’ Neill. The Handmaid’s Tale for the YA generation, this story is so relevant right now it’s scary. O’Neill’s writing is top notch, too: I feel so sorry AND infuriated by protagonist Frieda, whose actions are  understandable, tragic and pathetic (in the truest sense of the word). My full review, HERE.

    5) Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Of course Flynn gets more than one outing on the list … she’s queen of the enigmatic lead! This time it’s the mixed up and morally ambiguous Camille Preaker’s turn and wow, is she memorable. Read my full review, HERE.

    6) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Perhaps the saddest addition to the list. Although this is a novel, it’s quite obvious – given what we know from history – that Esther, the lead here, is Plath herself. All the same, an eye-opening account of mental illness that flies in the face of stereotype. A must-read. Check out my full review, HERE.

    Also listed on this top 100, I’ve also got Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie on my own TBR pile — looks like I need to bump it up the list!

    Which are YOUR favourite ‘unlikeable’ – or ENIGMATIC! – women in fiction? 

    4 thoughts on “My Top 6 Unlikeable Women In Fiction”

    1. Can you tell me the name of a screenplay that has an unlikeable female. . I’d like to see how and where they change her into a likable one. Thank you. Pauline

      1. Both GONE GIRL and GIRL ON THE TRAIN listed here are also movies, Pauline. You may also want to try a movie like YOUNG ADULT, starring Charlize Theron.

    2. Barbara from Notes on a Scandal – she’s my favourite unlikeable!
      Oh, and Bo Luxton from Exquisite by Sarah Stovell – have you read it yet?? God, she’s vile!
      Anne x

      1. Absolutely YES to both of these!! I’m surprised NOTES ON A SCANDAL didn’t make the top 100 I link to, tbh.

        Read EXQUISITE last week — holy cow! Also, Judith from MAESTRA … what an utter psychopath, omg

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