Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2nd Person Point of View

You open a novel, expecting it to be told from a third person ("She said something") or perhaps a first person ("I said something") point of view. Instead, the narrator addresses, you, the reader, directly. But is that true? Are you sure the narrator isn't talking to one of the other characters, perhaps even herself, and you're eavesdropping on the conversation? You're never really sure how to interpret this book, even as you force yourself to finish it.

Does this sound like a Choose Your Own Adventure book from the 80s and 90s? Those books were also written in 2nd person point of view, where the narrator talks directly to the reader. I recently read a more contemporary book where part of the story was told in 2nd person, and the point of view didn't work for me. I never felt that I was really the one being addressed, and at times the constant "you" was distracting. Maybe that's because second person is an uncommon point of view, at least in the books I read. There might be other stories where it's more effective.

Did you read the Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were growing up? If not, are there other stories you've read that you thought worked well in second person? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was too old for those books when they came out, but I'll admit I did read a couple of them.
Second person only really works in non-fiction.

Pat Dilloway said...

I used 2nd person in a story called Transformed for Your Birthday. It wasn’t really that great. I think there are only a few instances where it works, like Choose your own Adventure. I think I still have a Transformers one of those books on my shelf.

Gina Gao said...

I don't really like to read books that are written in 2nd person, but I find them interesting nonetheless.

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