Having submitted dreaded book two, A Cornish Affair, I’m filled with worry. Not because I don’t like the story, I do. But worry because it is a very different story. A Cornish Affair is an adventure/romantic suspense type story and therefore very different from The Cornish House. This I am told by some is not a bad thing….I’m not so sure.
It has had me wondering about something though…the story is not as ‘emotional’. And I’m wondering if this is because it is written in first person. Now bear with me because this seems counter intuitive. I've always thought if a book was in first person I would ‘feel’ more - after all we are in one character’s head. We feel their emotions.
But strangely I am beginning to thing it does the opposite…I recently finished The Girl I Left Behind by JoJo Moyes and I loved it. The book had me from page one…I was gripped by the story, which as it opens is told in first person and is set in 1916 occupied France. The second half of the book in set in ‘modern’ time and is told in third person. Now here’s the interesting bit…although gripped by the story in the first half I wasn’t as emotionally connected as I was in the second…and I don’t think this was because of the time difference. The actual facts of the story in set 1916 were on the face much more tear provoking…
This set me wondering…did this happen with all first person stories I had read and did it apply to the one I’d just written. This week I also read the wonderful debut of Liz Harris, The Road Back…told in third person. I was moved to tears at points.
So I’m wondering if first person in a way sets up a strange distance. It’s like the wall the character puts up to protect themselves applies to the reader and isn’t there in third person. Or maybe it’s just me.
What do you think? It’s not that I haven’t loved stories told in first person, I have but thinking of them I haven’t been quite as emotionally caught up. (Note: I'm reading When God Was A Rabbit at the moment and loving it...pages effortlessly turning but I'm not getting the emotional kick i should be considering some of the stuff I'm reading) What is your favourite first person story and did it leave you weeping or dry-eyed?