Continued analysis of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers as part of the DIY MFA Writer Igniter Reading Challenge. For more details click here.
The three easiest to identify archetypes for the supporting cast in Nine Perfect Strangers were the Mentor, the fool, and the love interest.
The Mentor is obviously the director of the Tranquillum House, Masha. We don’t know much about her back story just yet, but all of the characters think she looks so serene and there always seems to be a magical aura about her. At one point she is even referred to as a “celestial being”. I just arrived at a turning point in the book where this might change, but at least for the first half, she is hands down a mentor and the person directly in charge of everyone’s treatment at the wellness retreat.
The Fool is the young wife Jessica. She is continually referred to as a Barbie doll (because of her superficial, plastic looks) and no one takes her seriously. Even her husband dislikes her “frozen forehead, the blowfish lips, the puffy cheeks, the camel eyelashes (‘eyelash extensions’), the fake hair (‘hair extensions’) and fake boobs. She is embarrassed by her addiction to social media and doesn’t seem to understand why she and her husband are no longer close.
The Love Interest, I believe, is going to the be the man who was initially described as looking like an “outback serial killer”. He was the first person Frances interacts with way back in chapter 2 when she has a mental breakdown on the side off the road. Then he shows up at the same retreat as her. He was also the one that made a scene about his ‘contraband’ being confiscated. Needless to say, he’s not the obvious love interest in the beginning. But as the wellness transformations occur, his demeanor softens and it turns out he’s a former professional athlete with some attractive characteristics.
The rest of the supporting cast all somewhat fall into the BFF/sidekick category in that they represent different characteristics with which readers can identify, but since no one knew each other before the beginning of the novel, they aren’t really besties or sidekicks, just secondary characters.