I'm currently reading a good book with a totally . . . unlikable character. So far, almost finished, and there's not one thing I like about the character.
In fact, this unlikable character, at least for me, totally pulls me out of the story every single time I have to read from this character's perspective.
I hate being pulled out of a story. Hate! It!
I'm pulled out of the story every single time I must endure this character's perspective.
Thankfully, the perspectives are just a bit here and there, but . . . I'm still jarred out of the story.
Now, there are characters I don't like, that I hate - The Dursleys and Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. Oooooh, Dolores made me grind my teeth, but . . . she never pulled me out of the story. She never made me skip passages of narrative because her character was so unlikable.
I'm not even sure the character in the current book I'm reading is necessary . . . other than to irritate me, which some people (probably my sisters - ha) would say is a good thing.
What about you? How do you deal with unlikable characters in books you are reading . . . and writing? How unlikable do you make them? Do they serve a purpose?
As for me, yeah, I have some unlikable characters. Sometimes they are needed as a balance, a counterpoint to the hero/heroine.
If no obvious purpose is served, then what's the point?
If the unlikable character pulls the reader out of the story time and time again, what's the point?