I don’t normally get emotional when a celebrity dies. It’s not as if I know them personally. But this passing has really affected me. I mean, seriously. I’ve been moping around all day.
Those of you who know me well, know I wasn’t much of a reader when I was younger. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables as a kid. I did, however, see the series starring Crombie and Follows and I fell head over heels in love with Gilbert Blythe. I used to swan around in ‘the depths of despair’ dreaming of the day I would find my own real-life Gilbert.
I did go on to read AofGG and Gilbert was, is and always will be my one and only Book Boyfriend. Yes, Mr Darcy can make my heart skip a beat with a well-penned letter, and James Alexander Malcom McKenzie Fraser would surely melt my ovaries if he ever called me ‘sassenach’. But Gilbert Blythe – sweet, loyal, smart, trustworthy, funny, charming Gilbert – well, he is the standard by which all men (fictional and real) should be judged.
But what is it about our Book Boyfriends? Whether you go goo-goo over Gilbert, or faint in the presence of Fitzwilliam, or Jamie makes your heart jump, there is something special about our Book Boyfriends that touches us deep into our souls.
And it isn’t that they’re perfect – all the classic BBFs have flaws. And it isn’t that they’re insanely good-looking – although they are, but so is Darcy’s nemesis Wickham and there aren’t too many of us in love with him. So what it is?
Maybe it’s because, written well, books have that power to transport us so totally into their world that we can inhabit the minds and souls of our heroes so completely, in a way we simply can’t in real life. Maybe it’s because with books we bring our own knowledge and experience when reading, and while the writer gives us all the clues and tools for us to fall in love with their characters, we fill in the gaps and we fill them in with what is perfect for us. Or maybe it’s because we can fall in love with them again and again, each time we open the book, that special feeling constantly new.
Whatever the reasons, our BBFs are certainly something special.
Good-bye Gilbert – my first love, my only BBF. “The tears don’t hurt like the ache does.”
I’d love to know who your BBF is. And, more importantly, WHY? Leave a comment below.
And my thoughts go out to Crombie’s family – my pain is ‘fictional’, theirs is real. Thinking of them during this difficult time.