Thursday, 26 April 2012


This book is a work of fiction. 
Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of 
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. 
Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events 
or locales is entirely coincidental.

We’ve all seen the above passage in one form or another in the front of almost every book we pick up. For the most part, you’re probably like me; you ignore it or giggle at the fact that a disclaimer needs to be placed at the start of a story to make sure everyone is aware it’s supposed to be fictional. It doesn’t really seem important until you actually find someone you know in a book.

Kerrie and I had an interesting conversation this morning in regards to this passage and I wanted to know how everyone else reacts to it.

I don't often come across names in books that change the way I see them. I usually - despite giggling at the above reminder - think all books are fiction, so the characters' names are uniquely theirs...or at least I did think that way until now.

Recently, I discovered that a current, popular book has a main character with my sister’s name. You have no idea how strange that is (...or maybe you do?) This book is a realistic adult book and will remain nameless to protect my sister's identity, but despite the fact that there are slight spelling difference in the name, it's read the same way, so I can't bring myself to read it because in my head it’d be as though I'm reading about my sister.

Today I found out the main character apparently has similar looks to my sister as well, which makes it even worse. If I was reading the book, I wouldn't have a way to distance myself from the image of my sister and the book character who I guess is her literary twin in name and appearance.

When I think about it objectively, it probably shouldn't bother me. I see my sister's first name in books all the time. I seems like every second novel I read these days has a character with her name, so you'd think I'd be used to it by now. But when you match it with our surname it just makes things a little crazy and uncomfortable.

So I want to know, have you ever come across you name or someone you know in a book before and how did you react to it? Did you know before you started that you'd be reading about someone you know, do you keep reading and just remind yourself that it's all fiction? Or do you not read it at all?

Leave me a comment, I'd really like to hear what you think about this, even if it's just to laugh at me for not being about to read about my sister.



  1. Oooh, it's really peculiar reading a book with your own name, which I've come across ocassionally, but isn't that unusual, and can still get past it... but what you described? WEIRD. I've read plenty of books w/husbandman's name, and never even bat an eyelash, but... yeah :D

    That would be SO creepy... EXACT same name, AND physical description? WEIRD O____O

    1. That's what I thought too, that I'd be fine ignoring it. Usually you can just go with the flow. They're fictional characters and no name is entirely unique. But I definitely find it strange and creepy that it's my sister in that book.


  2. I agree. I can deal with it, but I don't really like reading characters with the same name as me - fortunately, because I've got a reasonably uncommon last name, I've never EVER come across the first name AND second name combo, and there's surprisingly few Alexes in contemporary fiction. But even with just the first name I'm always like, "Nooo, that's MY NAME. You can't have it." and then I feel selfish. At 22, I really should be able to share my name.
    The other thing is coming across characters that have the same name as other characters - also uncommon, but really jarring when it occurs. Example - there's a main character called Colin Lennox in both Alyxandra Harvey's "Haunting Violet" and in Francis Hodgeson Burnett's "The Secret Garden". So the whole time I was reading Haunting Violet I kept thinking of bratty little Colin in the Secret Garden, which almost ruined the romantic hero aspect for me.

  3. I'm 22 too Alex, and I don't want to share my name either.

    That's so strange, unless Alyxandra deliberately wanted her Colin to be like Fracis's...sort of like a tribute character? Either way, it's still a bit off-putting. I like characters to have names that are slightly unique to them, even when names can't be 100% unique.