Lost Literary Love


We've all had unattainable loves.

My first celebrity crush was, embarassingly, Fred Savage. I cut his picture out from a Teen Beat Bop magazine and hung it on my wall. He was so sweet and honest on The Wonder Years. Man oh man. 

However, as much as I liked TV, I also liked books. But, no matter how much I found myself crushing on a character from a novel, there was no way to represent that love on my bedroom walls, or any other place, for that matter, that didn't make me look like an über nerd.

So, my literary crushes went on privately, secretly, and internally to eventually be eclipsed in the wake of new, actual crushes, or with creation of 90210, Dawson's Creek, X-Files, and My So-Called Life.

However, as I've gotten older, I've found ways to exorcise my former actual crushes, and have lived long enough to stop having intense crushes on TV's hunkiest teens (or smoothest FBI agents), leaving my heart still full of the smoderling flames of my many lost literary loves. This emotional insanity stops now. I've got to let these old flames go and move on, once and for all, by coming to terms with the ways in which our affairs would never have worked out.

Literary Love: Ralph from William Golding's The Lord of the Flies

Ralph is obviously a born leader and, if circumstances were different, could have grown up to be the British Jack Shepherd. Ralph is the one who decides it's important to build a fire, he is the one who calls everyone together with the conch that Piggy finds. He is logical, honest, kind of funny and, above all else, is focused on getting the group saved. 

A prime example of his awesomeness:

"What on earth are you talking about?"[Ralph said]

"About being called Piggy, I said I didn't care as long as they didn't call me Piggy; an' I said not to tell and then you went an' said straight out–"

Stillness decended on them Ralph, looking with more understanding at Piggy, saw that he was hurt and crushed. He hovered between the two courses of apology or further insult.

"Better Piggy than Fatty," he said at last, with the directness of genuine leadership, "and anyway, I'm sorry if you feel like that. Now go back, Piggy, and take names. That's your job. So long."

Ralph is around the age of 13. He could have easily derided Piggy here and just called him Fatty along with the other boys, but Piggy was a logical, teenage compromise. I needed someone like him when I was in 7th grade–a boy my age who actually was trying his best, and always attempting to do the right thing. Although I never crushed on actual boys like this at the time, deep inside I knew I needed boundaries or something. He would have been a perfect balance to my early-teenaged self. 

Of course, if I had read this book a few years later, I would have undoubtedly fallen for badass, hunter Jack, because things get a little weird and off-balance when you're a teenage girl.

Why it Wouldn't Have Worked Out:

Two reasons. One, he was a total cry baby just like Jack Shepherd, with an inability to adapt. Two, I outwardly valued self-preservation over doing "what is right" at the age of 13, and would have joined Jack's power camp in two seconds if it meant I wasn't going to have a rock dropped on my head. 

Oh, and I guess there's a third reason–there weren't any girls on the island anyway. 

Literary Love: The Motorcycle Boy from Rumble Fish

There's absolutely nothing hotter than a rebel who isn't trying to be a rebel, but is just born awesome and above everything. Still, Motorcycle Boy is the worst kind of dude to date though – the kind that just doesn't give a shit about anyone or anything (except motorcycles *swoon*), he's always on the move looking for the next thing that might make him forget his actual problems, or feel normal. Conversely, he's also the bossest kind of dude. 

Compared to Rusty James, the book's protagonist, who is always trying so hard to be so cool and tough, the Motorcycle Boy is the ultimate hotness.

Why it Wouldn't Have Worked Out:

I mean, he, you know, that's pretty much a major barrier to the awesome life I could have had with him. But, more than that, he's obviously a really selfish guy–no matter how many times he gets Rusty James out of trouble. Even worse, he's the kind of guy who only likes crazy slags. His girlfriend was a junkie, but he couldn't stop loving her. Ugh. So. Untouchable. 

Billy Bibbit from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 

Billy Bibbit is the sweetest, cutest acute in the asylum. He's shy, has a super endearing stutter, and is too timid totalk to the ladies. I don't know why, but I was really drawn to him in high school. He just needed a sweet woman like myself (or a prostitue courtesy of Randle McMurphy, whatever) to make him feel strong, manly, and give him the cofidence to stand up to those who dared to push him around (Nurse Ratched was such a B.) There's a totally boss moment in the book where, after he loses his virginity, he stands up to Nurse Ratched and feels for one brief moment the strength that he truy posesses. 

Why it Wouldn't Have Worked Out:

Billy Bibbit: Total mamma's boy. Yuck. No matter how much better he got, and how much confidence he gained he would always be trying to prove something to his mother.

Also, he kills himself. That put a kink in the pipeline of our love.

Literary Love: "Charlie" from Perks of Being a Wallflower

This kid is so awesome. I guess that my crush wouldn't be like a real real crush, but more like a "look how awesome and adorable this kid is" crush. That's the kind of crush I would never make a move on. But, come on, the whole book is him writing letters to a stranger! That's so awesome and cute. He makes mixed tapes, is always up for doing new things, and eventually gets pretty funny. Also, he's a totally honest and stand-up dude.

Why it Wouldn't Have Worked Out:

Aside from the things I brought up just moments ago, about him kind of just being a cute kid, he also has had some pretty heavy, damaging things happen to him (i.e. the suicide of his best friend, and being molested by his aunt). This sort of stuff needs to get worked out before he can have a serious relationship, or at least that's what I've heard on Oprah, Geraldo, Dr. Phil, and Tyra

Literary Love: Mr. Ramirez from Ray Bradbury's short story "I See You Never"


I'm not going to lie, I don't really know a lot about this dude. He moved to America from Mexico, got a job, did really well for himself and seems to be a pretty OK guy. He seems really sweet, and before he heads back to Mexico, he stops by to return his keys to his landlady, Mrs. O'Brian and thanks her for being so good to him. I think that the reason I had have the hots for him is because the story is about (among other, more serious things) how weird it is to have someone come in and out of your life, never to be seen again. That's kind of romantic, right?

Why it Wouldn't Have Worked Out:

Well, he doesn't just "head back to Mexico," he actually gets deported, which is a total bummer because America needs fewer assholes and more nice, decent guys who can hold a job, and only get drunk once a week. Anyway, after the way the Mexico that Mrs. O'Brian has seen gets described, I probably wouldn't follow Mr. Ramierez across the border for the sake of brief, misguided love. 


Courtney Algeo is a freelance writer, and is sweating like a crazy person.

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