Wednesday, July 26

The Age Thing

What's the perfect age for heros and heroines?

Earlier this week I read In Enemy Hands by Michelle Perry and had a huge issue with the age of the hero and heroine, 25 and college aged respectively.

What demographic is this book geared toward?

Am I too old?

Am I the only person who thinks these 2 are too young?

All through the book I was thinking of my niece and her boyfriend and to be honest, I have no interest in their young adult angst, at least not written in romantic suspense form where the hero is turned over the management of a multi-million dollar security business before his 26th birthday.

Good lord, I am old. Mom keeps telling me I'm middle aged, maybe she's right--LOL.

For contemporaries I don't want a heroine under 25, I'm saying that to be generous, 28-32 works better for me, and I prefer heros older than that. With age comes wisdom, right?

I got married at 19, my husband was 24. I have no interest in reading about the people we were then, too young and without true life experiences. And, no one else will be interested in how immature we were back then.

True life experience can come at any age, yet I still want to read about mature people. Mature doesn't mean old, right?

***Edited*** Okay, after thinking about it I realized I read all sorts of books with younger characters. So, my problem--I expect the characters age and experience/maturity go hand in hand and when they don't seem to fit it's annoying.


Jane said...

True life experience can come at any age, yet I still want to read about mature people. Mature doesn't mean old, right?

That's right. I read young adult books: Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Stephenie Meyer. Each one of these authors write young people who sometimes make foolish decisions but still seem to have enough gravitas to make them enjoyable for this middle aged reader.

Tara Marie said...

I love Meg Cabot. And, I enjoy chick lit with younger characters, but for romance, I'm looking for something else.

I think my problem with this book in particular is the characters' ages didn't seem to match their maturity level.

nath said...

I usually like to read about characters in their late 20's to mid-30's, so from 27-28 to 35... for a man, I don't mind if it reaches 38... but at 40, I'm starting to have problems. I actually like it when females are in their late 20's and males in their 30's.

I find some things hard to believe under 25, because I'm at that stage and it just depresses me. It's like watching the tennis players and be like: oh, she's only 1 year older or oh, she's the same age, but look at what she's achieved - depressing. My problem with females over 32 is that no matter what happens in the book, they have to mention children somewhere if she doesn't have any - either her biological clock is ticking or either she doesn't want kid.

Over 40's, I have difficulty with both females and males... I'm sorry, but I don't find men of 40's attractive (it's the age difference). As for females, then most likely, they've been married and are divorced and have kids of my age - so it's like reading about your mom or dad having sex ^^; (sorry, I don't want to know :P)

Wendy said...

For me, age does not equal maturity. I've read countless books featuring characters my age or close to it and I think, "How has evolution not weeded you out yet?"

I think this is just the way I'm wired. In my early 20s I was a real overachiever when it came to my career and I think it sort of spilled over into my personal life. So to see a character who is 30 and still doesn't "get it" tends to grate on my nerves.

Bev (BB) said...

I've read countless books featuring characters my age or close to it and I think, "How has evolution not weeded you out yet?"

ROTFL! Yeah, and I've met some of them in real life too. Heh, I wasn't even going to comment on this one until I read this. Thanks for the laugh, Wendy.

Jay said...

At 25 I find I dont really like romances and/or chick lits that feature the heroine way more advanced - for lack of a better word - than I am. I like my life, I'm happy where I am, but I don't like to read about heroines who are my age and are VPs of this and directors of that and generally have the life of what I would expect a 28/9/30 year old to have.

I guess if both the h/h were young - and acted appropriately so - I might be willing to read it, but if the heroine is 25, acts 29 and marries some 32 year old, I'm annoyed.

Fickle Fiona said...

I have one heroine age memory that really stands out to me. I was all set to do an all nighter with a new (I think Lowell) book and halfway into chapter 1 I read that she is 29. I was 17. It freaked me out. How could a heroine be that old? What would she look like? Would she have wrinkles? Would she dress like my mom?

ROFL! I couldn't read the book. The heroine's age just wigged me out.

Now, I can't stand 18 year old heroines. There is no way they can have that good of sex and understand the hero that well. Garwood's heroines seem to be barely out of the cradle. I just make a conscious effort to change their age to 23 or 25 and then I'm good.

But I've always wanted a hero in his 30s. Always. Younger than 30 and he's just too young and immature.


Sam said...

It really depends on the book - I do prefer 'mature' heroines and heros, but sometimes youth can enhance a story - trying to think of examples here but my brain is fried *sigh*.
Maybe it's how the author presents the characters - they can be young and mature, or older and still completely immature. (do I make sense?)
In my book 'A Grand Passion' the heroine is a widow and older than the hero, but I haven't heard any feedback about that, whereas in 'the Argentine Lover', the heroine was Very young, and I did get some comments about it.

Tara Marie said...

Nath, I'm starting to have the opposite problem, I'm looking at the Yankee's pitcher Randy Johnson thinking "Holy Crap, he's old." and of course he's my age.

Wendy, I'm with bev... "How has evolution not weeded you out yet?" --OMG that's funny. I see people in real life and wonder the same thing.

Jay, I think that's part of my issue, the age appropriateness of the characters to what they're doing in life. It's probably why I like Meg Cabot, her characters seem right to what they are doing at that point in their lives.

Tara Marie said...


Maybe it's how the author presents the characters - they can be young and mature, or older and still completely immature. (do I make sense?)

You make perfect sense and I think that's one of the reasons I liked The Argentine Lover. Your heroine was young and acted young and as a reader I watched her mature through the story.

Tara Marie said...


When I was 13, my social studies teacher was doing a class about the future. I remember her saying at the turn of the next century we would be the same age she was at that time. 37 looked ancient at that point in life.

And I agree, I remember reading romance as a teenager and thinking anything over thirty was just gross.

At 40 something 37 looks really young.

Bev (BB) said...

You know, to me, the age thing never really bothers me unless there's an obvious descreptancy between what the author says the character's age is and they way they act. That can bug the devil out of me. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing . . .

Has anyone ever read a book and not been able to determine the character's age because the author never tells it? I know that happened in one romance several years ago and it absolutely drove me nuts.

Kate D. said...

I'm so happy Jane reads Sarah Dessen! LOVE her. I think "Truth About Forever" is probably one of my Shipwreck Reads. (If I'm stranded with only ten titles, it would be one of them.)

Bonus points for using the word "gravitas." Ahhh, I'm back in Latin class...