Why friendship is so important in books
There are many reasons to read books. One of those reasons is to fill a void. At the moment, there are lot of people feeling lonely, and a little disconnected from their communities. Reading is a great way to work through those feelings and keep your sense of belonging. Even if you spend most of your time at home.
Here’s a run-down of the different types of friends you can find in books.
The best friend
In Divergent, society is split into factions. People from different factions don’t mix. Tris and Christina are both outsiders, having left their families to join a different faction. They quickly become best friends. Their relationship acts as an anchor, as they search for a sense of belonging in their new home.
This is a brilliant example of how friendship can help you cope with a challenging situation.
The social group
Where would Harry Potter be without Ron and Hermione? Or the Order of the Phoenix, or Dumbledore’s Army, for that matter. It’s fair to say that saving the world from evil tends to be a team effort.
How would Thomas have escaped from the Grievers in The Maze Runner without his friends, and their friends? If they had all gone off on their own, it’s likely none of them would have made it out alive.
Sometimes one friend is not enough, it takes a team working together. And everyone on that team has to care about the others, to ensure no-one is left behind.
It is unlikely most of us will face this type of challenge in real life. But these stories show us just how much can be achieved when we work with others. And care about what happens to them too.
The virtual friend
At the start of Ready Player One, the main characters have never met each other. But they have a bond of friendship forged over many hours of game play. So when something big happens and they need urgent help, they know exactly who to ask.
I love this message. When someone cares about you, listens to you, and supports you, they are your friend. It doesn’t matter how you communicate with them, or the distance between you. A friend is a friend.
In Kensuke’s Kingdom, a young boy is stranded on an island. Stranded, but not alone. To begin with, it isn’t clear whether the other person on the island is friendly. But Michael knows someone else has survived there, and that tells him he can survive too. They gradually form an uneasy but vital alliance based on their shared challenges.
A problem I sometimes have with books is when there seems to be a great selection of potential friends for the protagonist to choose from. In real life, it doesn’t work that way. You have to find a way to get on with the people around you. Even if at first, they don’t want to be friends with you. This book takes an unrealistic situation and adds a layer of realism through this common issue.
The mismatched friend
Friendship is a big theme in my own books, The Lost Mysteries series. Often when the mystery solving gets tough, it is not a special skill or high IQ that’s needed. Just a different perspective. That’s why the friends I write about aren’t similar to each other.
Trying to see things from the other person’s point of view is essential for making any relationship work. And, of course, for solving mysteries!
What’s your favourite type of fictional friend?
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