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Old 09-25-2019, 08:34 PM
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Your favorite book written in the first person


Iím looking for recommendations for books written in the first person. Preferably a book that you really like.

I did a search and the last such thread I could find was started in 2003.

Iím looking for a story where the protagonist really shares a lot of himself and his feelings. Iím thinking of a book like Catcher In The Rye or Fight Club.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:49 PM
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Huckleberry Finn , of course.

Davy by Edgar Pangbourn

Cat's Cradle
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:58 PM
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Richard Brautigan’s In Watermelon Sugar.

Amaze your friends! Awe your teachers! Read a great short 1968 hippie novel no one reads any more!

Also, Moby-Dick is good. A little longer, though.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:00 PM
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Emergence, by David R. Palmer. Shorthand notes of a teenage girl surviving an apocalypse.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:04 PM
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Papillon, without a doubt. One helluva story, however much it might be embellished.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:18 PM
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Lots of genre fiction. But, I get the impression you're interested in Serious Literature.

The Name of the Rose, or Foucault's Pendulum, both by Umberto Eco, then.
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:40 PM
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If you don't mind tilting toward a bit toward the young-adult style, there's an early-20th-century series starting with The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald. It's narrated by a child, and is mostly about children, but it astutely observes all the realities of the world it's set in (southern Utah, around 1900).
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Old 09-25-2019, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by HMS Irruncible View Post
If you don't mind tilting toward a bit toward the young-adult style, there's an early-20th-century series starting with The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald. It's narrated by a child, and is mostly about children, but it astutely observes all the realities of the world it's set in (southern Utah, around 1900).
i didn't read that series until hs but its one of the first kids series that points out the hypocrisy of kids and adults both in everyday life and it was written in the 20s and 30s .....and it's based on real things/people in the authors life like the story about their friend who was diabetic (you find out the person it was based on died as a teenager 5 years before insulin was released to the public in a PS)

Last edited by nightshadea; 09-25-2019 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:05 PM
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The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg. It's first person, but from 4 different characters. Each chapter is FP from one of the 4.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:53 PM
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Looks like I have a trip to the library in my future!
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Old 09-26-2019, 03:34 AM
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Only partly first person, but I love Feersum Endjin by Iain M. Banks.

In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust is great.

The Stranger by Camus, likewise.

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter - surreal and a masterwork.

Last edited by MrDibble; 09-26-2019 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:23 AM
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One of my favourites is David Copperfield.

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:34 AM
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Catcher in the Rye. If it were in third-person with no interior monologues, it would be a pretty unremarkable story about a guy ditching school for a couple of days.
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:24 AM
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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
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i didn't read that series until hs but its one of the first kids series that points out the hypocrisy of kids and adults both in everyday life and it was written in the 20s and 30s .....and it's based on real things/people in the authors life like the story about their friend who was diabetic (you find out the person it was based on died as a teenager 5 years before insulin was released to the public in a PS)
Interestingly, I was going to suggest the Great Brain series as well. They were my very favorite books when I was a kid, and are immensely readable. Just to make a slight correction, they were written a bit later than you're remembering. The first book, The Great Brain, was published in 1967. The seventh and final book, The Great Brain Does It Again, came out in 1976. (There was an eighth book, The Great Brain Is Back, published in 1995, but it was compiled from Fitzgerald's notes after his death).
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:29 AM
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John Fowle's The Collector, written in the alternating first person perspective of the both kidnapper and his victim.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:36 AM
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My favorite first-person novel might be John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.

And that made me think of Robertson Davies' Deptford Trilogy, which influenced it.

And that made me think of Susan Howatch's Starbridge series, another series of interrelated books each with its own narrator.

All good stuff.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:40 AM
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My two favorites have been mentioned, but I'd also throw in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Kidnapped by RL Stevenson. The latter is more of an adventure, but the first person perspective really gets you caught up in it.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:47 AM
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My two favorites have been mentioned
I can guess what one of them is based on your username, but what's the other?
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:01 AM
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That's like asking which of my favorite narrative stories begin with a vowel. I'm guessing that at least a quarter of them were first person tales. I read the John Carter of Mars series back in elementary school, enjoyed North to Freedom when I encountered it, and found myself immersed in many an autobiography.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:35 AM
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My favorite book all time: The Fool's Progress by Edward Abbey.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:27 AM
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The Great Gatsby, of course.

I also enjoyed Anthem by Ayn Rand, if not for the content, for the style. It's been a couple of decades since I read it, but I recall its being initially jarring, but then a relatively easy read.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:34 AM
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The Illuminatus trilogy.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:44 AM
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Rebecca by Daphne du Maurice.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:47 AM
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Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man is a must.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:48 AM
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I can guess what one of them is based on your username, but what's the other?
The Catcher in the Rye, mentioned by the OP. When I saw the thread title it's the first book I thought of. Holden gets a bad rap. It's a magnificent book.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:51 AM
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William Henry Hudson’s Green Mansions.. I read it two years ago and can’t get it out of my head. In the good way.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Mansions
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:54 AM
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Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. Not just told in first person but in the voice / vernacular of a tough, world weary woman born and raised in Maine. Definitely one of King's best. And lest you think SK=horror, this book is dark but there are no supernatural elements. And he managed to come up with a decent ending.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:55 AM
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I loved H.F. Saint's Memoirs of an Invisible Man.

For short stories, it do not get any better than Poe's The Tell Tale Heart.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:17 PM
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Lolita, by Vladimir Nabakov. My favorite book in the English language. For something a little more contemporary (but still 20 years old), Motherless Brooklyn, a piece of crime fiction (which I do not have any specific interest in) by Jonathan Lethem, told through the first person viewpoint (minus a brief foray into the third person toward the end) of a detective with Tourette's syndrome.

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-26-2019 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:26 PM
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Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King. Not just told in first person but in the voice / vernacular of a tough, world weary woman born and raised in Maine. Definitely one of King's best. And lest you think SK=horror, this book is dark but there are no supernatural elements. And he managed to come up with a decent ending.
There is one "supernatural element": Delores has some kind of psychic spell during an eclipse that seems to coincide with a similar incident with a character in another of King's books (but I don't remember which character/book. Sorry.)


BIP: Flowers For Algernon
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Old 09-26-2019, 12:34 PM
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For short stories, it do not get any better than Poe's The Tell Tale Heart.
Ever see the 1953 animation? It was an artistic breakthrough in American cartoons, and sports a dynamite narration by James Mason.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=flKOtXC4oyM
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:03 PM
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The Martian by Weir is written partly in the first person, in the form of log entries.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Haddon
Most of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Conan Doyle are narrated by Watson.
I, Claudius by Graves
Many of Poe's stories, including "The Cask of Amontillado"
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:37 PM
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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
YES. One of my four or five very favorite books, and the only one with first-person narrator.

Edit: my brain isn't working well today. Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire is also one of my five very favorites, also in first person.

Last edited by TreacherousCretin; 09-26-2019 at 01:39 PM. Reason: brain fart
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Old 09-26-2019, 01:40 PM
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There is one "supernatural element": Delores has some kind of psychic spell during an eclipse that seems to coincide with a similar incident with a character in another of King's books (but I don't remember which character/book. Sorry.)


BIP: Flowers For Algernon
I forgot about that. I think it's Gerald's Game, maybe? I can't really remember the connection now.
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:46 PM
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Ever see the 1953 animation? It was an artistic breakthrough in American cartoons, and sports a dynamite narration by James Mason.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=flKOtXC4oyM
I saw it in fourth grade, in class. Terrifying.
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:50 PM
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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

I know that is an outside the box pick, but I read it every single year to my students and it is an absolute home run. Probably my favorite "out loud" reading book.
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Old 09-26-2019, 06:59 PM
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Jane Eyre.
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:59 PM
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To Kill a Mockingbird: the impact of the first person narrator is evident when comparing it to the anonymous 3rd person narrator in the draft version, Go Set a Watchman.

If you like Jane Eyre at all, then Villette, also by Charlotte BrontŽ, is an interesting example of an unreliable 1st person narrator
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is a lot of (literary) fun

The use of first person narrator in Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is notable.

And not a particular fave of mine, but I know people who love it: Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

Last edited by gkster; 09-26-2019 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:22 PM
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Reading Fight Club took my breath away. And yes, I knew about it before it was cool.
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:30 PM
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For children's literature, my favorite is probably Bud, Not Buddy. It's gonna sound hella depressing when I tell you it's about a 10-year-old orphaned black boy in 1930s Michigan who's nastily abused by a foster family until he runs away and searches through the racist Depression-era midwest for his father. But it's one of the funniest books I've ever read. There's one particular scene that every time I read it to a class I have to prepare myself, and I still can't keep from giggling hysterically. It may be my favorite children's lit of the past couple decades.
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Old 09-27-2019, 03:06 AM
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Black Beauty.
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Old 09-27-2019, 04:34 AM
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I've got to enter a claim for a great favourite of mine, "irrespective of person written in" -- the twelve, I think it is, Flashman books by George Macdonald Fraser. Their being in the first person, does allow for their special attraction: that the narrator / anti-hero is a totally loathsome human being -- but he's being completely honest in these his "memoirs": he freely admits his loathsomeness, and recounts in detail the stratagems and thought-processes of his deplorable doings over many decades.
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Old 09-27-2019, 05:45 AM
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Definitely something by Mary Renault, but within that it's so hard to pick.

Last of the Wine has the best lines ("I had been many - I was one, and to I, myself alone grey-eyed Athene spoke saying 'I am Justice, whom you have made both a slave and a whore'") and The King Must Die is the most famous, but The Persian Boy is the one that really enthralls me.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:36 AM
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Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson

A mini synopsis from Google Books:
"The most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman."

An amazing read.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:08 AM
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The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks. It can be a tough read in places, but it's worth it, and there's a lot of the protagonist sharing thoughts and feelings. Even when you'd rather they didn't.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:33 AM
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Ariel by Stephen Boyette.
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Old 09-27-2019, 10:41 AM
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The Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton (A if for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc). The series, IMHO, suffered somewhat when Grafton diverged from the pure first-person narration starting with S is for Silence.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:39 AM
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Flowers for Algernon.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:54 AM
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I saw it in fourth grade, in class. Terrifying.
Ouch. Should NOT show that to little kids, even if Edgar Allan Poe is on the reading list (which he doesn't seem to be, not since the 1970s anyway).
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