The other day, I decided my kids were ready to watch The Blind Side. There were two reasons that brought me to this decision.
One, I love the story of a child finding his forever family. The child being a seventeen year old, Michael Oher, a forgotten and discarded kid of the foster care system in Tennessee.
Second, we were traveling out of town for the day and I needed a good movie they hadn’t seen that lasted over two hours and that would keep them from fighting with each other.
As we made our way down the many roads in Texas, I listened to the movie, picturing the scenes as they played behind me.
I’d forgotten how many scenes there were that made me teary.
Michael being taken in by the Tueay family.
Michael being appreciated for the fact he did know what his teachers were saying.
Michael earning his way on the football team.
But the thing that hit me the hardest was when Sandra Bullock’s Oscar-Award winning performance was when she read the story of Ferdinand.
She’s reading to her giant of her new son,
Why does it hit me hard? With it being National Adoption Month, I see this movie with different eyes because, I am the mother in that movie. My children may not be the same age as Michael, but they had very rough beginnings and could have easily been written off as casualties of a flawed system.
And my son, who’s a rough and tumble boy, wasn’t so when he arrived. He was, much like Michael—a quiet soul who wished for good things, but who’d been given the short end of the stick in life. Still, my son wasn’t angry, he was kind and gentle, loving and hungry for acknowledgment, much like the hero in The Blind Side.
It led me to wonder, do romance novels have room for a Ferdinand? A Michael Oher? In the world of mostly alpha males, is there a place for a gentle giant who defends his family, but only when necessary?
A child who’s been forgotten by not only the family who should protect him, but society.
Who’s a puzzle in himself and who’s simply wanting a good life without complication and confrontation?
I believe there is place for Ferdinands, but I also believe these types are far harder to write. They are so introspective and possibly, depending on how much of a cruel backstory we as writers wish to give them, more complicated.
More complicated, we can handle, but our passive heroes tend to avoid something essential to every great story—conflict. They wish to avoid it with a passion, which can make for some very interesting problems.
The only other question is against whom do we set our Ferdinands?
Sounds like a great brainstorming possibility.