Sunday, October 26, 2008

Perfectly imperfect

Two weeks ago I blogged about the Tortured Hero and it reminded me of another sub-genre of books which seems to have gained in popularity.
The Hurt Hero.
The heroes of these books have been injured in some way or have some kind of 'imperfection', whether it be scarring, visually or hearing impaired or in a wheelchair. Sometimes they are healed by the end of the book, sometimes not and not all of them are tortured. So what is the appeal of this kind of hero? In my search for the tortured hero I've read many of these books and the appeal, to me at least, is their vulnerability and ultimately their strength in dealing with whatever cards have been dealt to them. It does however take a very talented author to write it well. The first book I read in this genre and still my favorite is A Man Like Mac by Fay Robinson.
It seems that many publishers are still not sure of the reception of a hero who is less than perfect and if the book even makes it to print, many times the book blurb will make no mention of it and certainly not the cover art. Yet, I know I am not alone in their appeal since all you need do is search Amazon or Google to find other people's lists of books which fit the theme. So how do you feel about hurt heroes?


Angelia Sparrow said...

I'm writing such a pair. One's a PTSD Iraq vet, the other's a double amputee. Sean becomes Gabe's legs and Gabe becomes Sean's anchor to the real world, in times when flashbacks get too much.

I don't often write physical imperfection, or read it, but sometimes it works quite well.

Diana said...

I have to admit to a softspot for a "damaged" hero, myself. Mr. Rochester comes to mind... :)

I love stories where the hero is incomplete due to some Deep Dark Secret or has a physical mark the heroine has to see past in order to find the golden alpha male underneath (Beauty and the Beast, anyone?). Giving him his own personal journey that results in growth because of his relationship with the heroine is absolutely the BEST!

Good thoughts, Cait!

Cait Miller said...

Oh Angelia, I'll definitely be looking out for that!

Cait Miller said...

Thanks Diana! I love the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale!

Lynn LaFleur said...

I haven't read many books with an imperfect hero, but one comes to mind that I read years ago. It was a Harlequin Temptation and the hero was in a wheelchair. He didn't let it stop him from competing in races, or winning the heroine's heart.

I thought the book very well written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So yes, there is definitely a place in books for the imperfect hero.


Titania Ladley said...

I love the Hurt Hero/Beauty and the Beast theme! To me, imperfections make a hero more real and they give him a sexier edge. ;)