Friday, March 29, 2013

Female Characters in Entertainment Week....Kelly Guest Post

Today I have the awesome Kelly from KellyVision stopping by to talk about some of her favourite female characters.

This week has already opened me up to some amazing characters I didn't even know about, and I can't wait to dive into some of the books, TV shows, etc that I am learning about.

You can follow Kelly on Twitter, and of course visit her website.

I've been a reader for pretty much my entire life.  According to family lore, I started reading when I was three, which means that (as of April), it's been my favorite hobby for 30 years.

My reading material of choice goes through cycles (including, but not limited to, a love of chick lit, a fondness for mystery/suspense and a near-obsession with YA novels) but the one thing that stays constant is that my favorite books have strong heroines.

Obviously I love Scout, Hermione, Katniss and Tris.  Everyone does, right?  So I'm not going to talk about them; they're the understood heroines.

Instead, I'm going to talk about the less celebrated ladies, the ones who can be overshadowed by those four I just mentioned.

Growing up, I read a lot of Roald Dahl and Judy Blume.  Matilda was probably the first character who gave me a shock of recognition, that moment of "Oh, wow, that's ME."  She's smart and a reader in a family of non-readers.  And honestly, I don't think "reader" even covers it.  Like me, she's happiest when she's in another world.  And then there's Margaret, who's probably my favorite Judy Blume character ever.  I think most women my age (or around my age) read this book multiple times.  While I think we all remember Margaret's dissatisfaction with her body, I also loved her relationships with her family and her desire to figure out where she fit in---both in the world in general and with religion in particular.

I think it's completely impossible to overestimate the effect that Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski had on me.  I credit her (both of them, actually, author and character) for helping inform my politics and for giving me incentive to keep fighting for what's right.  V.I. is always brave and willing to do what's right, even at the expense of her own safety.  And even when she's beaten down (sometimes...many times...literally), she never quits.  My love for V.I. led to the Kinsey Millhone and Tess Monaghan series (and I adore both of them, too!) but V.I. is my favorite.

I'm currently reading a lot of YA novels, and even though it's easy to dismiss the narrators as whiny or dumb, there are so many amazing girls if you look for them.
I mostly find them in contemporary fiction.  I can't imagine how much it helps teens who have lost a parent to read about Amy in Amy and Roger's Epic Detour (by Morgan Matson).  She's devastated but by the end of the book, she finds the strength to keep going.  Or Alex in The Mockingbirds (by Daisy Whitney), who, after being raped becomes a voice for girls who don't have one.  Or Jaycee from The Pull of Gravity (by Gae Polisner) who is a fierce and loyal friend (and also smart and awesome).

I don't have daughters, but if I did, I would want them to be like any of those girls.  Or, better, like all of them.

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