WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!
When I was in school, I used to not enjoy most of the books that we had to read for Literature class. And that's due in part to the fact that they were classic novels, which bore me, but also to the fact that I really didn't care about the characters. The books that I did enjoy were the books that made me give a damn if a character lives or dies.
So this got me thinking. Of all the books I end up DNFing, how many of those are influenced by my lack of connection with the characters? The answer is about 70%, which is a lot. But seriously, most of the books I love are books that made me feel something for those characters.
I usually struggle the most with books written from one character's POV. If I hate that character, or if I don't understand their reasoning, chances are I won't like the book. My problem however doesn't stem from not relating to the character. This probably is due to either my brain being wired differently, or to the fact that my day-to-day job is as a psychologist, but I don't believe I need to relate to a character or to know what they're going through in order to understand their story or to like it. My problem usually involves those characters that I can't stand. Or those characters I can't understand, the ones that make me roll my eyes so hard, I get dizzy and get a headache over they're actions.
What about you? Do you care if you don't have any feelings, positive or negative, towards a character? Is it a deal breaker for you and does it make you DNF a book faster than a book with a not-so-good plot?