Many people recently have pointed fingers at Bella of Twilight and Ana of 50 Shades of Grey as being awful female characters. I agree with the evidence to support those thoughts, since I could never bring myself to read either of those…things. But my recent dislike of a female in books stems from a series by author Kathy Reichs.
For those of you who watch TV, you may have seen or heard of a show called “Bones.” In it, main character Temperance Brennan is an expert on all things skeletal and/or decomposing. For those who don’t know, this series is VERY loosely based on a series of books Reichs penned starting in the mid-90’s. I won’t be discussing the show as I’ve never watched it, however. Anyway, while I’ve been reading through the books and enjoy them for the most part, it’s main character (an older Tempe) has been grating on my nerves as of late.
The series, which so far has 15 books and another on the way, has Temperance helping in cases concerning the dead, bringing the killer or killers to justice, etc etc. It’s the same formula you’d see in plenty of crime fiction. And, like with many books, there’s a romance strung in in the form of her colleague, Detective Andrew Ryan. And herein lies my main complaint with the character: She’s a woman in her 40s…who acts like a teenager around this man.
For starters, I enjoyed the first two books where she implied thinking he was hot, he thinking the same of her, that sort of thing. It was more tension than anything, which is always fun. But as soon as Reichs hooked these two up in a pseudo on-again-off-again relationship, it became less fun and more annoying. Temperance worries about Ryan cheating on her when it all turns out to be a misunderstanding in the end, constantly comments on the sex they have (to be fair, she was married for 20 years then separated prior to the relationship, so I suppose sex would be a luxury for her), and acts petulant when he seems to be evading her (aka thinking to herself that he might as well just go/she won’t continue the relationship).
All of this has come to a head for me in Reichs’ 10th book, “Bones to Ashes.” After realizing in the previous book that Temperance still has feelings for her ex-husband (who she’s still legally married to by the way), Ryan decides to break up with her to rekindle a relationship with his estranged daughter’s mother. This is done for the sake of the daughter, who is battling a heroin addiction. And how does Tempe take him distancing himself from her romantically?
1) Thinks to herself he can just go, meaning she basically gives up/doesn’t discuss it with him.
2) Thinks jealously of his and the other woman despite the fact that he’s doing this for his daughter, and that she has NEVER met this woman herself.
3) Doesn’t seem to realize that she DOES have some feelings for her husband and the fact that she hasn’t divorced him yet (they split because he’d cheated on her) would be cause for concern on Ryan’s part.
And finally, 4) After a vulnerable, passionate sex session between the two of them, when Ryan takes off the next day, all she can say is while it was probably a bad move, “at least the nookie was good.”
To preface everything, I will be continuing with this series. But if I’m supposed to feel sympathy or pity for this woman, it’s not working. She even gets all depressed over her ex wanting a divorce so he can get married to his new beau, despite the fact that she says MULTIPLE times through the course of the series that she will never get back together with him.
Honestly, both men have my backing, because Tempe clearly doesn’t know what she wants or how to vocalize it. Many times she could have avoided being sad over Ryan just by simply talking to the guy rather than moping and/or making assumptions about him. I seen plenty of complaints regarding this in reviews of several books and they’re 100% justified, in my humble opinion.
To be fair, of course Temperance is not nearly as awful as Bella or Ana. She’s strong, independent and intelligent most of the time. But it’s a shame that romance tends to drag all these characters down into stupidity. And even though it’s a lesser offense in a book series that’s more about the crimes and forensics than relationships, it’s still irritating to me as a reader and woman.