>> Tuesday, December 21, 2010
I said, some time ago, that I was all excited about a new character, one of those uber-bright people that don't seem possible, largely because I identified with him so completely. Yes, I know that still sounds conceited.
Well, I'm still pleased to know him even though I've been too distracted with other things the past week or so to really work with him much since. I will though. I have some time off. I got sidetracked on what I saw were some of the challenges for being "too" smart, but I really want to focus on Dylan because I want you to understand him, even if you don't like him.
I could tell you what everyone else sees: he's brilliant, with a perfect recall (a genius friend of me once explained that everyone has a perfect memory; what they might lack is recall) and an innate logical ability that can address details and big picture simultaneously (not impossible, I do that, too. It's the obvious that often gets me and that's true for Dylan, too). He can instantly size things up and plan out action (think Sherlock Holmes in the recent film) and has the motor skills I lack.
He's also rich and already, at the age of seventeen, enjoys a substantial autonomy, partially because his father does not have his technical abilities (and his grandfather did and used Dylan from an early age) and partially because his personality is forceful. He's good-looking, though he doesn't see himself that way. Too busy.
But that's what everyone sees.
He's been, however, largely isolated from any affection. His mother despised him. His grandfather used him (and despised his father). His father didn't really try to know him until Dylan was nearing his teens. Other than that, his life was filled with fawning or resentful servants and acquaintance, most of which never saw past the obvious.
However, like myself, Dylan is capable of great emotional depth however dispassionate he might appear, depth, in fact, in direct proportion to his intellect. As I am, he's somewhat all or nothing. When he loves, it is absolute.
Enter Tessa. Smart, pugnacious, impulsive, determined, imminently honest and honorable, she is as isolated in her way as he is, except she has the love of family. And an unshakable sense of self, that instantly draws Dylan who had all but stopped thinking of himself as a person, but only as a thing to be used. As he, in turn, saw people around him.
Tessa wants nothing from him, but only demands from herself, including the urge to one-up Dylan. Her unwillingness to take engenders an obsessive need to give. Her regard for herself--and himself--as people, not tools, changes his outlook entirely. (I know some are skeptical this is plausible. I have to believe otherwise; I've lived it.)
At no moment in the book is his unshakable devotion to Tessa in doubt. For the readers, I doubt her love for Dylan is also obvious (though he is slow to acknowledge it - long story). But then, love is only part of it. It's when Tessa is threatened, endangered, that we see both Dylan's strengths and weaknesses in the clearest light, his abilities and his limitations, what makes him human not robot.
And we see that he wasn't necessarily as alone as he thought he was.
Next time, a taste.
Gosh, I hope things work out well for Dylan. I really like him.