Artemis Fowl: Who is the good guy in this book? Who are we supposed to like?
This was the main question for January's book club discussion of Artemis Fowl. The first character we meet when we read the book is Artemis himself, so naturally, we were lead to believe that this is the character we should root for. Then we discover that Artemis is a criminal mastermind. He is tenaciously trying to steal the fairy handbook so that he can discover their secrets, capture a fairy, ransom that fairy for oodles of gold, and stop the mortgage foreclosure on his mansion. So the question was posed in book club, Why do we like this guy?
"Because he's a genius."
So because he's hyper intelligent we should automatically like him? Have you ever met a really intelligent person that you didn't like?
"Okay, because he's snarky."
Yes, he does seem to be a smart aleck and he does have a bit of wit, which he is embarrassed to express. Is that enough to make us like him?
"Because he's twelve and his mom and dad are both out of the picture."
Ah. Now we are getting somewhere. Even though Artemis Fowl is a criminal mastermind and kidnaps a fairy, he is still a likable character because he has a very sick mother and his father has disappeared. He's on his own. Yes, he has a massive bodyguard who would do anything for him, and he has the bodyguard's sister who doesn't really seem to like anyone, but Artemis bosses those two around, while there is no one to guide Artemis in his own actions. This, we decided, is why we feel some sympathy toward him.
"I don't like him because of his missing parents; I like him because he'll stop at nothing to accomplish his goals."
Well. In every teen book club, there's always a lone wolf. Or two.
I have had a few jobs in my life that I didn't enjoy: detassling corn, working in a small motor parts factory, framing pictures, serving food, and rejecting bad eggs in an egg factory. Today, I take part in a book club for teens and I love every minute of it.