My friend Erin Blakemore wrote a lovely book, The Heroine’s Bookshelf, that has had me thinking from the day I first read it. The Heroine’s Bookshelf is a collection of literary heroines and their authors, talking about the traits that made them special and how we can learn from them. For the next few weeks, Erin’s having a celebration of Heroine Love over at her blog – guest bloggers talking about the heroines that made a difference in their lives (and giving away prizes, to boot!). Today I’m over there talking about one of my favorite literary heroines – I’ll tell you who in a minute.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this since I read her book, who would be the heroines on my bookshelf?
Unsurprisingly, I found most of these women in books, so I had to narrow it down a little bit. I settled on a list of four fictional characters from books I read when I was little who made a difference in my girlhood, who helped make me the woman I am now.
There’s a reason Anne Frank’s diary endures the way it does. It’s so much more than a historical record, it’s a record of her girlhood, and I remember being so very, very excited that someone else in this big, confusing world, let alone someone who had lived in an entirely different country decades ago, was feeling exactly the things I was feeling. Who doesn’t need that when they are 13?
Claudia Kincaid – From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
I am fairly sure that every person who reads this book then spends a ridiculous amount of time fantasizing about what it would be like to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Frankly, I still spend at least part of my time when visiting a museum trying to figure out where I would sleep and where I would hide my backpack. But the things I admire about Claudia are her clear-headed planning, her inventiveness, and her curiosity.
Also, I totally dream of getting all the coins out of a fountain and using them for lunch at an automat.
Meg Murray – A Wrinkle in Time
I will be forever grateful to Madeline L’Engle for giving us Meg. There are a great number of stories in which a girl who seems mousy or unremarkable or awkward on the outside has her swan transformation, but they usually involve a makeover montage set to a pop song and eyelashes that I could never hope to have.
Meg, on the other hand, transforms from her “before” persona to her “after” by demonstrating her love for her family and her intelligence. What better role model is that?
Harriet M. Welsch – Harriet the Spy
This is my girl – one of my favorite books, and the character I’m celebrating over at Erin’s blog today.
Harriet M. Welsch: Writer, observer of human nature, friend, and all-around weird kid. Harriet was the person who taught me to write down the ideas, questions, and stories that were always floating around my mind, and the first character who helped me realize that my endless wondering about the way that people worked was the first step on the way to an actual career path – writing.
Who are your fictional heroine loves?