Preferred POVs

I know I’ve already asked about which POV you like to write in, but which POV do you like to read in?

First-person POV often comes off as egotistical because of the constant “I did this” and “I did that.” Reading first-person POV gets you right into the narrator’s head, which can sometimes be very uncomfortable if you don’t immediately sympathize with the narrator. Novels that contain more than one first-person viewpoint are sometimes confusing, unless the POVs are drastically different. That’s very hard to pull off. Unless the POV character is unique, most first-person narrators sound the same to me. Also, there’s the chance that the first-person narrator is unreliable, which can sometimes lead to a very interesting story, but other times, you might feel betrayed by this narrator you feel like you’re supposed to trust and sympathize with.

Third-person POV is better to read (in my opinion) because you’re not so “up close and personal” with the main character. You’re watching over their shoulder or looking down at them from above; there’s a lot more objectivity. Authors as a whole seem to handle multiple viewpoints better in third person; if it’s a book with more than one character viewpoint, the switch back and forth is more seamless. The majority of books I’ve enjoyed the most have been written in third person.

So which do you prefer? 🙂

6 thoughts on “Preferred POVs

  1. I agree on both counts. 1st person is hard to read if it is done poorly, as it often is. Exceptions to this were some of the “hard-boiled” detective stories of the 1940s. They, I think, typified the genre and made 1st person narration work.

    I like 3rd person subjective, or the more closely defined 3rd person limited, where the narrator only allows a mind-level view of a single (typically the main) character.


  2. I don’t find either one better than the other. The book I’m reading right now is in first person, while the book I just read before this was third. I’ve read a book that contained both. If the writing and story are good enough, I barely notice (especially once I get pulled into the flow of the story).


  3. I’m reading “Eat Pray Love” at the moment. It’s a memoir that reads like a novel and is, of course, written in first person.

    I love it! Elizabeth Gilbert’s observations and insights are so delightful.


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