Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dissecting Frankie

There have been a few reviews criticising Frankie (from the Past Due series) lately and I just wanted to address them. These are a couple of the comments. 
Book 1

"The only other problem I had with the series was Frankie. She is suppose to be this emotionless, cold MI5 agent. She never lets anyone get close to her because of her psychic abilities. However, the entire series, she is always leaning or crying on someone's shoulder. In my opinion, Frankie needed more 'tough girl' scenes. And the girl falls in love quickly... and often."

"I do agree that Frankie seems too weak in certain areas for such a tough girl"
The thing is, they're right. Frankie was always written to be a flawed character (as are all my characters, but Frankie perhaps to a greater degree).

I hoped that the writing made her flaws clear but just in case it didn't come through, or you saw things differently, here's the reasoning behind Frankie, her weaknesses and her (numerous) flaws. 

In some ways Frankie is tough; she will face bad guys when she knows that she doesnt have a hope in hell's chance of besting them. She will insist on going along when she is the weakest member of the team (ie, the others are vampires or shapeshifters). In that way she's brave.  And foolish. There is a huge self destructive streak in Frankie. She's spent her life not being believed, being ridiculed, feeling rejected and she's internalised all of that. She's definitely not suicidal, but there is a big part of her that's tired of the struggle.

Her bravery is sometimes just bravado though. At the end of the day, she'd just a woman who's struggled to fit in her whole life. She built shields and defences, like an abrasive attitude to keep people out but she's still just human. Deep down, she wants the kind of things we all want (love, acceptance, peace) even if she won't admit it.

When it comes to matters of the heart though... well then it really starts to get complicated.

[Spoilers for the books from here on out]

Because of her psychic powers that don't allow her to touch other people (human people that is) she's stunted when it comes to matters of the heart, emotionally as vulnerable as a 13ish year old girl. You remember that age, falling in love at the drop of a hat, a different crush every week, feeling like it was the end of the world when you were dumped, or even just when your crush didn't say 'hi' one morning.

Book 2
By the time we're 30, most of us have matured a bit, emotionally. We've been around the dating block a few times and even if you were lucky enough to marry your first love, you know that love is never as easy as Hollywood makes it seem, and you will probably have had friends who weren't as lucky who tell you their romance woes.

Frankie doesn't have that experience and because of her gift, she doesn't really have any friends. Her gift has always closed her off from people, not just because she cant touch them but because she's afraid they won't believe her.

What she does have is some life experience, which had left her with a huge amount of cynicism. Combine that with the romantic mind of a teenager and you're in for a woman who's a disaster! She can lean on people (vampires) for the first time ever, both physically and metaphorically (she can touch them and befriend, them because they believe in the supernatural and the possibility of her gift). Still, she knows that most people let you down, after all, she was abandoned at birth and even her adopted mother wouldn't believe in her gift, so part of her is waiting for the other shoe to drop, expects it even.

In book two, she was naive for not seeing through Alex's betrayal, but that's because there was also a part of her that didn't want to know. She's not dumb, she could have figured out what happened, but subconsciously she didn't want to because she knew what it would mean, the loss of her first proper relationship.

That's one reason why she jumped into bed with Josh so fast, because like many young people, sex=love. She couldn't trust Alex any more and Josh wasn't going to be around for long, who knew when another eligible vampire would come along, if ever? It was her last hurrah, her rebellious one night stand. She didn't stop to examine her feelings because Frankie's just not good with that stuff.

Did she really love Alex? Maybe, but to me he was just the equivalent of her first crush, puppy love. he was never meant to be long term.

Book 3
Did she really love Josh? Maybe she did but he was like that older kid you knew in your teens, the one you had a huge crush on but he was so cool (and maybe a little bit dangerous) and you just couldn't admit how you felt, for fear of looking like a fool. It takes his death sentence for her to admit that she felt anything for him, though her behaviour before hand (I hope) shows that she did have feelings for him.

There's one other thing that hasn't really been touched on in the books yet but will be in book four. Will, her human best friend. Frankie loves him but because of her gift, that love was never explored. She ran, like a coward and even though they're friends again now, the romantic aspects still cant be explored. Right now he is her first love, the one that got away and what might have been kills her because she will never, can never know. How does one come to terms with something  like that, especially someone who has been running from emotional entanglements her whole life?

Right now she's like a  yoyo, veering between these new and oh so seductive emotions and sensation, and her natural cynicism. Predicting her reactions might not be quite as random as flipping a coin but she is navigating new territory and in many ways, making the best of a bad job.

And that's the whole point of these books really. They aren't about vampires and witches and ghosts and shapeshifters, they're about Frankie healing her old wounds, her growth as a person and her maturing into a well rounded, well balanced person by the end of the series.

The end of this series was planned out before the first book was even written and I hope you enjoy the rest of her journey. She has a few more hurdles to overcome first, and I might as well make it clear now, she will never be a perfect character. But then to me, perfect characters are boring and in real life, nobody's perfect. 

No comments:

Post a Comment