Let me clear up that the title is a joke. A friend of mine actually used this line on herself because her name is so... strange. Those who are offended, proceed to the x on your top right corner. Those who are not, proceed to keep scrolling. [Sorry, this is a rant so I'm in a mood and I'd rather not deal with people who get annoyed at every little thing.]
I also want to say that this post doesn't mean that I hate people who don't have normal names. If you have a name that is "different," be proud of it. No, my qualms are with how in some books, it seems like having a weird name is the most important thing. [I don't consider a name like Sigmund weird. No, I mean like Linoleum.]
What I don't understand is how so much of the YA I'm reading features these unique names. And unfortunately, these names don't sound good at all. Personal opinion, but some of them make me want to cringe. Can you imagine a HELLO MY NAME IS... with someone's name being Hallelujah [and it isn't Christian fic.]
For instance, if you've got a name like America Singer, wouldn't you get teased? This has actually made me question YA multiple times. How has no one found fault with the one-of-a-kind names and teased the kid? I'm not saying that it's right because it isn't but as a kid, whenever a substitute would pronounce someone's name wrong, we would all die from laughter. And truth be told, it wasn't that funny. We were all in like fourth grade.
Well, maybe I shouldn't be talking, "Nova Lee Zaiden" but a) we can't choose our last name and b) I know more than one Nova. [The Cockerspaniel dog in Scooby Doo.] Plus, I've gotten teased before, particularly during science class in grade six when we were learning about space. And they ask why I hate science...]
It isn't even the last name [we can't control these things, just ask my friend Alyssa Butt.] America. The country. Hello guys, I'm Canada Lee Zaiden. Nice to meet you.
I go to a school with diversity but with the majority still being white. Names like Sarah, Olivia, Nicole [holy crap, there are a lot of Nicoles] and Ryan [same deal with Nicoles] are the typical. However, the school I used to go to was majority South Asia so I had to quickly learn how to pronounce names that were different from mine. Maybe that's why this bugs me. There were always a few kids had such different names that you would never pronounce it right on the first try. For example, Sima [pronounced: sim-ah. Like Simba without the b.] I always thought it was awful and it isn't anyone's fault but that's why you should spell your name when you go to Starbucks. Take it from a girl called "Nivea."
Maybe we can blame the world of the story. I'm willing to let things go for Tolkien-esque stories where you need the fantasy sounding names. I'm totally willing to let it go for books that aren't set in our time [but also makes me wonder if in the future we're all going to have weird names and it's going to become the norm.] But a lot of times I'll be reading a contemporary set in modern day. [And yes, the main character often hates her own name and wishes to be called a common form of her name. Just ask Normandy Pale - who likes to be called Mandy.]
I don't think I've ever read a story where the name of a character is significant. Maybe in the beginning, there will be some ice breaker with a funny story but then it just doesn't matter. And since the MC might opt to be called something other than their birth name, what's the point of even mentioning it?
Would you stop reading a book because of a character's name?
Probably not? I have no idea. I tend to get easily annoyed - as you can probably tell. However, I don't think I would judge an author's ability and story by the character's name alone. However, if a bunch of things annoy me, the character's name throughout the story would bother the crap out of me and just tip the scale.
You know something annoys you but it doesn't annoy you enough to stop? Like when the quality of a movie is terrible but the movie is good. I'd still watch that movie.
I don't plan on having kids of any kind but if I were to have them, they would be nice sounding names that aren't too common but are also easy to pronounce. If I have to, I'll get them different names for the land that we live in. [That's what happened to me. I was named in Chinese and given another name after because it would be such a struggle for people to pronounce Xia Wen.]
Is it a new thing to make a story stand out by giving the character a bad name? And don't say there isn't such thing as a bad name because there totally is. It just depends on what you think constitutes as one. And maybe it all boils down to personal opinion. The author might think their name is gold, some readers will agree and people like me will be like, "dude, did your parents hate you or something?"