the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘first person POV

Before my next book review goes up,  let’s have a discussion about first person point of view,  how much knowledge the narrator has, the narrator’s perspective and intent, and trust.


Do you like first person point of view, or does it annoy you?

If you like it, what do you like about it?

What books have you read where the first person point of view was especially effective?

Ever had a narrator lie to you?  Were you ok with that?

Do you like unreliable narrators, or do they piss you off?



Some people really hate first person point of view, some people love it.  Me personally? I love it. My fave is getting the story from that character’s perspective – what excites them, what annoys them, what  is their internal monologue, how do they make decisions, how do they deal with/avoid the consequences of those decisions. I literally want to spend the story inside that person’s head. It feels intimate, like they are letting me in.


A thing with first person point of view, is that the reader only knows what the narrator knows. If the narrator doesn’t know who all is on the Orient Express, the reader isn’t going to know until the character meets everyone.  If the narrator doesn’t know why the train broke down or what the name of the cafe at the station is, you don’t know that info either.


One of the many fun things about first person, is the narrator  has full control over what the reader knows. If the narrator “forgets” to tell you where they were last night, I guess you’re never gonna know.  If the narrator truly doesn’t remember what happened last night because they passed out drunk, I guess you’re never gonna know. Instead of getting to learn everything about everything, your knowledge becomes severely limited.


The narrator is going to tell you what you need to know to stay interested in the story, and there might be some things they choose not to tell you. Could be because they themselves don’t think that piece of information is necessary or interesting,  could be they don’t want to have to answer awkward questions, could be the narrator isn’t as smart as they think (especially entertaining when the narrator is an animal), could be the narrator is purposely hiding information because they are an unreliable narrator.


Sometimes the narrator keeps information from you, and they have no ill intent.  Maybe they didn’t realize the information was important, or it wasn’t something they cared about, or they weren’t able to put all the pieces together. We can’t all be Sherlock Holmes brainiacs, you know.


So,  how do you know if you can trust a narrator?  Why do you trust a narrator right out of the gate?


As a reader,  how do you feel when you trust the narrator, and then find out they weren’t fully truthful with you? Yes, I am asking how you feel about unreliable narrators.


I’m a weirdo, I freakin’ love unreliable narrators.   Because if i’m suddenly questioning everything they told me. . .  is the story I just read maybe a completely different story? And I love it when that happens.



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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.