The first review of volume 2 of THE STORY OF LEE has come in, and the reviewer notes a key point:
“…frankly, I’m not sure Matt has what it takes. I’m many years past my own courtship days, but he appears to be something of a thoughtless jerk, and perhaps a bit commitment-averse. Given that Lee is now in a foreign land with uncertain command of the language, his selfishness crosses over into cruelty. If not for Lee’s uncle, things would have take a natural turn with the characters breaking up and Lee returning to Hong Kong. (The uncle’s wisdom and insight borders on the magical, making him a sort of oracle that I’m guessing is a stock character in manga.)
So despite disliking Matt more and more, I found myself plowing on until the end, and wanting to know what happens next. I think that means I still like The Story of Lee.”
My comment to that:
Actually, I expect that most readers, especially female, will dislike Matt.
But it can sometimes be useful if readers DISLIKE a character, as it keeps them focusing on the story, as it did with this person above. And, anyway, not ALL characters have to be likeable – otherwise we would have to scrap a very large amount of fictional characters throughout history.
Also, in volume 3 of the book Lee will become even more assertive yet. She already started to be more confident in this volume 2. So, over the three volumes there will be a satisfying sense of her having grown and that she has pushed Matt to adjust his behaviour.
As to the uncle – I am not sure if that sort of oracle figure is a stock character in manga, but he is a ‘wise old man’ figure in this book, yes. Him and Lee even joke about that. But that is not so much taken from manga, but from the classic archetype of wise old men who enters the story at key points, of the type that Joseph Campbell talks of.