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Our Favorite Fictional Misfits

Our Favorite Fictional Misfits

By Melissa Albert

To celebrate the reveal of the 12th incarnation of the Doctor, who is literally the last of his kind, we present a list of our other favorite fictional misfits.

Harry Potter (Harry Potter). Though Potter fits right in with the magical world he joins at age 11, his earliest years were spent swimming in his cousin Dudley's castoff clothes, hidden under lock and key in a dusty cupboard. Rowling never gives us a look at Harry's time in Muggle school, but we're guessing it was grim.

Harriet (Harriet the Spy). Harriet is way too busy recording her neighbors' eccentricities and misdeeds to actually try talking to them...until she loses her spy notebook AND her anonymity, becoming public enemy number one among the people she's been snooping on.

Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye). Holden's the classic misfit, trapped in a world of phonies he can't stand. He's a boarding school student who keeps getting kicked out, a rich Upper East Sider who hates rich Upper East Siders, and an almost-grownup who feels happiest when hanging with his kid sister.

Ignatius J. Reilly (A Confederacy of Dunces). An oversized, wildly eccentric hothouse flower, Ignatius isn't fit to live in this world. He refuses to take off his highly comforting, hideous hunting hat, requires an extensive daily dose of Dr. Nut soda, and considers himself an unsung genius in a world of idiots. When his search for gainful employment leads to one disaster too many, even his long-suffering mother is ready to throw him in the coop.

Pip (Great Expectations). Pip grew up poor but well-loved by Joe, his scary sister's softhearted husband. Then, by the hand of a mysterious benefactor, he's abruptly catapulted into the world of high society. He never really fits in there, but discovers too late that he's no longer able to appreciate his life back home with Joe, either. Poor Pip was cursed with just enough wealth to make him too good for Joe's blacksmith's life, but not quite enough to give him many other options.

Harold (Harold and Maude). This heartbreaking black comedy is utterly weird and wonderful. Harold is a confused young man whose hobbies include attending strangers' funerals and faking his own suicide to terrorize his mother. He's a misfit by choice...but then he meets Maude, a life-loving 79-year-old woman. And despite the ginormous age gap, they fall in love. We don't want to reveal what happens next, but we recommend watching this movie with a Snuggy-sized Kleenex.

Colin Singleton (An Abundance of Katherines). Colin feels comfortable with two things in life: being a child prodigy, and being the boyfriend of a girl named Katherine. But when his dating streak of Katherines ends with a particularly painful breakup, and his child prodigy status seems unlikely to develop into full-on Genius-hood, he has to figure out what's left of his identity. (Luckily, he has the world's greatest best friend, Hassan, to help him.)

Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden). Unwanted by her rich parents, then left an orphan when they die of cholera, Mary is sent from her birthplace of India to live on the English moors with an uncle she's never met. She's a nasty piece of work, with no desire to fit in or make friends, but her eventual discovery of a hidden garden on her uncle's estate starts to soften her up—as does meeting the cousin she never knew she had.

The freaks AND the geeks (Freaks and Geeks). From a Rush-obsessed wannabe drummer freak to a Dallas-obsessed Dungeons and Dragons–loving geek, this show offers loads of misfits for you to love. It's also one of the funniest, realest portrayals of high school we've ever seen. Nick Andopolis 4eva!

Who's your favorite character who just doesn't fit in?

Topics: Books
Tags: books, books we love, reading, great expectations, doctor who, characters

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About the Author
Melissa Albert

Melissa Albert reads books, worries about other people’s dogs (they look thirsty), and eats horrible candy for fun and profit. When not wearing her extremely tasteful Sparkitor hat, she’s an editor for the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. You can find her on Twitter @mimi_albert, or in the hot pretzel section of your local cafeteria.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.