Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jerky Jerks and the Books They Live In

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week they post a new Top Ten list complete with one of their bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time...just post what you can!

Literary Jerks (or all those jerky guys in books..those who truly WERE asshats and those who just acted like one but could be quite loveable)
  1. Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling -- He's an elitist snob who looks down on everyone, he has a mean streak a mile wide, but he's too "refined" to do his own dirty work, and instead has a couple of thug buddies do it for him.
  2. Justin LaMotte and Elkanah Bent from North and South series by John Jakes -- Justin LaMotte is a cruel racist, an abuser who beats & drugs his wife, and a man who uses violence to get what he wants & keep others in their place.  Elkanah Bent is a fat prig with a nasty attitude who uses every underhanded trick he knows to destroy people he doesn't like.
  3. Valet de Chambre (Chambers, "Tom") from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain -- Once Chambers "becomes" Tom, his attitude of entitlement and superiority absolutely ruins him.  He values nothing and no one, has no conscience, thrives on dishonesty and greed, and treats everyone around him with either veiled or overt contempt.
  4. George Harvey in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold -- A rapist and a murderer who lures women & girls to their deaths in a variety of different ways.  Because his modus operandi is rarely the same, he is able to stalk and murder girls over several decades, while maintaining a seemingly normal existence.
  5. Changez in The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid -- He is duplicitous and unethical in his business dealings, and allowed his contempt for the USA to dictate his attitudes and actions, despite the fact that he took full advantage of the opportunities available to him in (only) the US.
  6. August and Uncle Al from Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen -- Uncle Al is only concerned with how much money the circus was making, and those he employs are nothing more than commodities.  When he makes money, they make money.  When he loses money, they get red-lighted (thrown off the circus train during the night).  August is a paranoid schizophrenic with an arrogant attitude and a penchant for severe cruelty that manifests itself against his wife, the circus employees, and particularly the animals.
  7. Nathan Price in The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver -- He is dour and fanatical, extremely legalistic in his faith, and more & more abusive as his missionary "ministry" in the Congo progresses.  Both his family and those he ministers are beaten down by fear, and he is oblivious to (or cares nothing about) his part in it.
  8. Father Ralph de Bricassart and Luke O'Neill in The Thornbirds by Colleen McCollough -- Luke O'Neill is the obvious jerk, because he is loud, arrogant and abusive to Meggie.  However, Father Ralph is no less a jerk in my opinion because he pursues her, beds her, impregnates her (though he doesn't know it), but refuses to wed her, instead remaining a priest and abandoning her to another life with a man she does not love.  He is loveable because he is kind, but despicable because he is weak.
  9. T. Ray Owens in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd -- An abusive jerk of a man who wants ownership of his daughter, but doesn't really want the responsibility of her.  Once her mother is gone, he finds ways to make her life a living hell, and yet he is angry when she disappears & makes it his mission to find and retrieve her.
  10. Justin Halpern's Dad in Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (lovable jerk) -- Blunt to a point far past rudeness and propriety, but hilarious nonetheless.  His heart is good, but he has a very brusque and abrasive manner of dealing with the world.
  11. James and Fritz Grier in Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay -- Fritz (the father) is the kind of "Christian" that gives Christianity a bad name.  He is mean-spirited and sanctimonious, as is his wife, and though they open their home to their son & his family, they are cruel and hateful to them.  James (the son) is spineless and weak, he does not defend his wife & children against the cruelties his parents inflict, and he is more loyal to them than to his wife & children.  He also leaves them in the care of his parents for weeks on end while he works away from home, which is perhaps the cruelest act of all.
  12. The Duke and The Dauphin in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain -- The ultimate con artists who take advantage of everyone they meet, with absolutely no twinges of conscience.  They are smooth and gregarious, and many a gullible person gets swindled.
  13. Lt. Col. Bull Meechum in The Great Santini by Pat Conroy -- An abusive, overbearing man, he makes his family's life a living hell.  This character is based on Conroy's own father, and that increases the jerk factor for me, knowing that many of the scenarios written into The Great Santini are based in the facts of his own life.


  1. Wow, that's quite a despicable lot. It looks like a lot of people chose August too - Gruen sure made him easy to hate.

  2. Great picks of The Duke and The Dauphin. I've always found them so easy to loathe!

  3. I've only read two on your list- Vinegar Hill (which I don't really remember) and The Poisonwood Bible (which I don't remember that well either, I do remember loving the first 2/3, and then not liking it after that). My non-reading husband found that Shit my Dad Says book in Ireland last year, and for some inexplicable reason, bought it and devoured it in a day or so. I still haven't got around to reading it- I should try to fix that.

  4. Great collection with tons of variety. I was happy to see some commentary on Pudd'nhead Wilson. More people should read more Twain.

    Read my list here.