I am delighted to welcome Ellie Phillips to Book Angel Booktopia today as part of the Scissor Sister and Manic Panics Blog Tour.
Image by Paula Broome Photography
Have you ever had a character crush?
I’ve had many. My sister and I would literally go to war over who Keith in The Partridge Family was going to marry; me or her.
We also had crushes variously on cartoon Tarzan, Luke Skywalker (NOT on the actor who played him), and the kid from Salty the Sea Lion (?)
I do vividly remember my first crush from a book, and it was a little bit odd and rather confusing really.
Ralph in Lord of the Flies
I need to explain before you think I’ve totally lost the plot here!
I read Lord of the Flies in my English lessons at High School – I would have been about 12 years old, and in class I sat behind this boy who I really really fancied. I don’t particularly remember his face, but I do remember that he had a tanned neck. He would often be picked for reading bits of the book aloud and after a while, in my fevered imagination, he began to merge into Ralph. I mean – he really WAS Ralph.
Ralph is described as:
“… old enough, twelve years and a few months, to have lost the prominent tummy of childhood; and not yet old enough for adolescence to have made him awkward. You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of the shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil”
and immediately this became the boy who I sat behind in English class. And I loved him and it was completely unrequited! I would sit and stare at the boy in English class and I would take Lord of the Flies home and read it and whenever I read about Ralph I would imagine the boy in English class. It was a precious time really. A first character crush. A first real crush too.
With any crush there is a blurring of fantasy and reality. A lot of daydreaming goes into a crush and the memory and acknowledgement of that gentle blurring and daydreaming has completely influenced my writing. Even the fixation on backs of boys’ necks popped up in Dads, Geeks and Blue-haired Freaks.
“I stood three rows behind Tony Cruz, but with a perfect view of the back of his neck….Tony’s stands out by being muscular, but not too thick, and tanned….”
Of course Sadie Nathanson’s love isn’t unrequited and becomes more than a crush – and this is what we all aspire to in our crushes – we want the actual boy to actually like us right back. But there is a beauty and longing about a crush that makes for fabulous, heart-felt fiction. Hooray for crushes!
Ellie Phillips is the author of Scissors, Sisters and Manic Panics which is out now.
Image from Goodreads
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