Is there a fictional character you connect with more than any other? What about their journey causes you to relate?
This has really been my unerring solid ever since I read the book: Aniday, the stolen child/Changling from The Stolen Child, by Keith Donahue. Even his counterpart, former Changling/Henry Day; their stories share such parallels.
This gist of the book is a young boy from the country, Henry Day, runs away from home and a group of Changlings kidnap him while he’s sleeping in the hollow of a tree. The oldest Changling is next in line for a transition back to human kind, after living a hundred years as a Changling, and he’s chosen Henry Day. When the switch is made and the young boy, Henry Day, is transformed into a Changling, to keep his old life as far from him as possible, the other Changlings refer to him as Aniday. That’s where the book starts.
The new Henry Day, though initially happy and exuberant to be a human again, leaving all of his old life behind, becomes possessed of a need to remember his past. Aniday is insistent on remembering his life, while some of the other Changlings continually try to strip it away from him. He’s chastised, beaten, and worse. But, not by all of them.
Both are like an athlete at either end of a tug-of-war contest.
For the new Henry – and eventually just Henry – his actions, even into adulthood, are driven by the person and creature that he was. Something that he only becomes aware of at the end.
For Aniday, it’s about rediscovering and maintaining. But he also struggles to live a life that he was kidnapped into. Fate gives him a way out and the old and new Henrys eventually meet. The results are both cataclysmic and cathartic.
The aftermath is they both rediscover what they’re seeking, and in the same breath, they merge those old lives with their new ones, realizing they have been unconsciously doing that since the beginning.
The books closes as the two Henrys meet once more and Aniday – the reason that I mentioned him first, in this answer – has discovered the parts of his old self that he loves through the hurt and pain and hardship, and even fun, that he’s lived as this forever child. He final thoughts, before leaving for greener pastures and brighter days, is “As I let go of the past, the past let go of me.” In that thought, I see the brightest beam of hope that I can reach for, for a chance at … healing.
So, yeah. My psychologist – my former psychologist – reinforced the concept that “I am changed”. I see parallels in the opening of The Stolen Child, where soon-to-be Aniday says, “I am gone.” The the actually and the fictional were/are difficult to accept in many ways, sometimes.