As part of the DIY MFA Writer Igniter program, the post is a response to the second prompt. My response is based on reading the first 6 chapters (through page 61) of Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty.
The main character in Nine Perfect Strangers is Frances Welty. Interestingly, she wasn’t introduced until chapter two. Moriarty (the author), switches POV with each chapter. After six chapters, three have been from Frances’ POV, and the other three are from the POV of secondary characters.
Frances is an ordinary person, thus she will either be an underdog or a survivor. She has been persuaded to attend a ten-day wellness/life transformation retreat. She seems like she’s willing to give it a try because, now that she’s in her 50s, hot flashes and back pains ail her. However, she’d rather not have to give up on her vices. She’s packed wine, chocolate, and coffee, despite all of these being on the contraband list and she questions the initially practices sampling bloodwork and silence practices.
So what type of protagonist is Francis?
Moriarty projects Frances as potentially being an underdog when she describes Frances’ previous experience with “a transcendental meditation course” in which “she’d nod off within two minutes” and wake up later “to discover that everyone else had experience flashes of light… and rapture…while she’d snoozed and drooled.”
Frances wants to feel better, but her own skepticism about the retreat may be an obstacle. Or perhaps, the retreat itself may be an obstacle. Her skepticism about the retreat makes me think that perhaps she’ll uncover something suspicious about the Tranquillum House. She looks at the “mandatory” smoothies “doubtfully” and the attendant that gives it to her looks “desperate.” Ultimately, I think Frances will be a survivor. This retreat will probably turn out to be a dud and therefore Frances will choose to remain true to herself. In other words, I think Frances will remain a regular person and preserve herself and her environment.