. . . Well — book crushes, that is.
My earliest relationships weren’t with actual boys, friends. I didn’t manage to catch the eye of the cute kid in math class or Peter Brady or even Daniel, the first boy to earn a sappy valentine in second grade.
They were with book characters.
I fell for bookish leading men long before I dared to express my feelings to any real-life ones. Relationships in my favorite novels taught me about relationships in general, especially in those impressionable teen years, and I feel like I’m a better reader — and person — because of it.
Though I am, in fact, a happily married lady, my devotion to my flesh-and-blood husband does not negate the underlying passion I can feel for literary men. We’ve all been there, right? Sometimes you can’t help but fall into a bottomless pit of yearning for some bookish dude who just pushes all the right buttons.
It’s easy to lust after someone two-dimensional. We don’t have to rinse out their dirty coffee cups or throw their crusty socks in the hamper or deal with ambiguous text messages at 2 a.m. It’s fun to pine for an unavailable guy sometimes, right?
And being fictional and all, these men definitely qualify.
Now, it’s very easy for me to become enamored with a leading man in the moment. As in reality, bookish gentlemen are appealing at different times for different reasons. But I’m going to highlight the lasting crushes — the ones that come to mind immediately, even a decade-plus since I was introduced to them.
So grab a fan, ladies. It’s about to get hot in here.
Of Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries series
Michael was easily my first major book crush — and for that reason, I find it impossible to deny his allure. First loves, right?
I loved how Michael and Mia’s relationship evolved over time, culminating in the unexpected magic that was Forever Princess . . . a book I’m pretty sure I need to re-read, like, now. The perfect blend of sweet, thoughtful, sexy and smart, Michael was pretty much my ideal dude growing up.
Just mentioning the tenth installment in that series makes me giddy because true story: Meg Cabot actually saw that review and mentioned me on her blog back in 2009. It was my first taste of blogging notoriety, and it tasted delicious. Better than any cupcake.
I’m pretty sure I ran around the house screaming like a lunatic, getting proof that a favorite author had read my little words. I didn’t even know that was possible.
But I digress.
Portrayed by Robert Schwartzman in the 2001 “Princess Diaries” film, Michael was the everyman who loved Mia before she morphed into a sleek royal. He played a musical instrument, didn’t care what others thought, cleaned up real nice. You know, the epitome of awesome to a teen girl.
Loved it. Loved him.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my old brain around the fact that “The Princess Diaries” film I adored came out 13 years ago — and Robert is 31 now. And also a successful musician.
Way to go, Michael.
Of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series
I’ve documented my eternal love for Marcus before, but it really bears repeating — especially because the flame still burns, friends. It burns.
And anyway, I wrote that post four years ago. I think it’s safe to revisit the topic.
So. McCafferty’s beloved series is like the bolder, sassier, tawdrier big sister to Cabot’s, and some of the more memorable Jess/Marcus scenes are . . . well, they’re rather racy. But in a good way. It’s been a while since I finished the final book, but it’s not the sort of thing you forget.
Though rumors of a Jessica Darling film have floated around for years, nothing has come of it — so I’m left to form my own visual representation of Marcus. Another fan nominated actor Garrett Hedlund . . . and though he lacks Marcus’ signature red dreadlocks, I’m okay with the idea of Marcus growing and changing. And he does eventually cut his hair, so we’re going to rock it.
Also, I could totally see Marcus rocking a manly scarf.
In Eva Rice’s The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Probably the least-known of my top four crushes, Harry is an aspiring magician and rich society boy who falls surprisingly in love with the protagonist in Rice’s historical novel.
I read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets in 2009 and haven’t really shut up about it since, mostly because it was freakin’ awesome and I’ve had so few people to talk about it with.
So go read it. Then we can talk about it.
Actor Michael Pitt seems like a solid choice for cool, disaffected Harry — a decent guy with an edge who exudes the couldn’t-give-a-care attitude that belies his actual compassion.
I could work with that.
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
. . . We don’t really need an explanation, do we?
I didn’t think so.
There are lots of Darcy portrayals floating around in cinema, and I am now going to totally cheat and possibly enrage Janeites everywhere by doing something completely crazy, because sometimes that’s how I roll:
I’m going to showcase James McAvoy, who portrayed alleged-by-some-but-not-ever-proven paramour Thomas Lefroy in “Becoming Jane,” which happens to be one of my favorite movies ever.
With many Darcy-like characteristics, some claim an ill-fated flirtation with Lefroy was the inspiration for Darcy — and McAvoy is incredibly easy on the eyes, so I’m going to go ahead and splash his mug here.
But because I don’t want y’all to be mad at me, we can also bring in the Firth.
Okay. So we’re good?
I’m participating in Literary Love this week — a celebration of all things lovely and bookish! Feel free to play along by checking out other links at Estella’s Revenge, Doing Dewey, Love At First Book and From Isi, and check out posts under #LiteraryLove14.