“Life’s like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.” Forrest Gump’s momma said it and like most one-liners from movies that I love, this quote has stuck with me. It’s true you never know what you’re going to get and its also true that you’re never going to be able to predict what OTHERS are going to get out of the same box of chocolates. This has really been emphasized to me as readers share their feedback on TELESA. I expected that people ( women in particular) would love Daniel. Because he’s an impossible fantasy male. I hoped that people would identify with Leila as a young woman in search of her identity and place in the world. But what I didn’t count on – was how many people would totally LOVE Leila’s best friend, Simon – or should I say, ‘Simone’. If you’re not familiar with “the third gender” fa’afafine then click on the link for a quick (and not all correct) wikipedia definition.
Readers on Twitter have been aflutter about Simone and I invited one particularly enthusiastic tweeter to share his thoughts on Simone. (in more than 140 char…) A huge welcome to co-winner of the award for BESTEST TELESA BOOK READER OF ALL TIME – Sefa Lematua ( aka Twitter’s Wedgyna)
What I like about Simone in Telesa:
Ok, so Simone had to be my favourite character in the book. I wished we saw more of her, I mean she was there, but not as much as I would’ve preferred.I’m not gonna lie, she reminds me a lot of myself back when I was in SamCo. The “Daahling” and the social butterfly-ing.
I loved how she’s so honest and just speaks her mind. Kind of reminds me of Khloe Kardashian in a way. She has a devil-may-care attitude and very blunt honesty.
I loved how when Leila started at school, Simone was her first real friend, this I thought was very realistic because girls tend to get along better with fa’afafiges than real girls because malas say it like it is. And their bitchiness is always carefully hidden (although I believe not intentionally) behind lots and lots of
I must say the part where I connected to Simone the most was in the beginning when Leila spazzed at Daniel after the debate, and Simone confronted her and told her to ease up on him. That Daniel has been there for her since they were kids and that Daniel doesn’t deserve to be treated like that etc.
I felt a connection to Simone in that part of the book because that’s exactly how protective I feel of my guy mates. I mean I’m gay, but there are those guy friends that you see as JUST friends and have a genuine sense of affection for. Like, you hurt if they hurt, kind of thing. I had a guy friend like Daniel growing up. Ok he wasn’t as hot as Daniel, but the bond was there. And in primary/intermediate school if I saw that he was being given a hard time I’d go out of my way to remedy/force it to stop.
It was so easy to relate to Simone, as I read through Telesa and went through the things she would say, there were so many times when I stopped and thought “OMG! That’s exactly what I would say in that situation!”. Like when she intervened and took back Leila’s origami star thing from Maleko and when Maleko accused her of being jealous of him playing with Leila and not her she shot back with “Whatever. I, unlike Mele, actually have taste”.
And when she defended Leila and Daniel’s handholding to Sinalei and said
“And what’s a little hand holding? I hold hands with Daniel alllllll the time and with Raymond and with Mark and with Leo and with Sanerivi, with everyone! Wait, strike that – okay, maybe I don’t hold hands with Maleko though.”
The retraction at the end was comedy GOLD, and is something I do all the time as well.
So I think Simone is an appealing character because she’s real. Like the supporting actress in a comedy, the “best friend” character who provides comic relief and has the best/funniest lines.
And she seems really cool that it makes you want to be her friend. And that’s in no way tied back to what I said earlier about how Simone reminds me of myself. I certainly don’t think I’m cool. Ok, maybe I do! But not as cool as Simone is…LOL
So yes, Simone was very likeable, definitely funny & believable. Did someone you know inspire the character or was it just a projection of what you think an 18 year old boy-girl would be like? Cos if it was a projection, you were right on!! Lol!
So that’s my take on Simone. I LOVE her!
Thank you Sefa. You might be interested to know that since the reader feedback on Simone has been so positive, I’m writing in an expanded diva role for Simone in Book 2: When Water Burns. (The power of the people…u speak and a struggling writer must listen! lol) FYI Sefa shared his award for Best TELESA reader with Tim Baice, Pres. of the Auck Univ. Samoan Students Association and Tim’s take on Simone can be found at Sydney Fobilicious site.
Thank you for helping my blog host a record 18,000 visits last month. My YA urban fantasy romance Telesa:The Covenant Keeper is now avail. from Amazon for US and intl readers. Check out the reviews and see if this is your kind of fiery read!