Things in Print Thursday :: 5 of my childhood series-related literary heroines

7 Mar

Some of whom I’ve talked about before, but so be it.  And by childhood, I mean elementary school: I’m saving my later heroines for a later post.  (Which means that because I didn’t read Harry Potter till sixth grade, I will be discussing Hermione [and Luna, and Tonks] then.)

5. Carole Hansen (The Saddle Club)
I was introduced to The Saddle Club by a good friend of mine in fifth grade, and I wound up choosing Carole as my favorite by default, sort of.  As I’ve before mentioned, almost every group of friends I’ve ever been in has had the tendency to cast ourselves/each other into everything, and this particular friend of mine had a tendency to authoritatively dibs characters.  She’d called dibs on Lisa before even handing me one of the books (the slightly older one was one of her tropes of choice) so it was a pretty easy choice: Stevie, while cool enough, was a tomboy who also had a boyfriend, and with the exception of Little Women, I did not dibs tomboys when I was a kid.  It just wasn’t me.  Also, characters who dated weren’t me.  Carole was pretty cool: Wikipedia says of her that “she is very organized as far as horses are concerned, but she can be scatterbrained regarding anything else. She tends to be a know-it-all at times, but sometimes it is very helpful.”

4. Jo March (Little Women)
When I was really little, I tended to see myself as a Meg: I was a very fancy child and I liked that.  Then I was a Beth, because in real life I was often the “nice one” and at least partially the baby of the group.  (Because Beth was often the baby even though Amy was younger, just because Amy was so in-your-face.)  But by about third grade, I’d realized that nope, I was a Jo all the way.  I’d established my identity as a Very Dramatic-Minded Writer Type really early on, and that was the fundamental truth of Jo March.  (In retrospect, I also see that while I could sometimes be quite passive and can still tend toward that in circumstances, there is a definite stubborn streak in me, even if not always vocalized.)

3. Megan Ryder (The Magic Attic Club)
Megan, as I have before said, was totally my favorite of these guys.  She was the bookish, glasses-wearing ginger.  Her color was yellow (which was my favorite color around the time I got her, at least).  She had adventures where she was a princess, a gymnast, a cowgirl, a skiier, someone at a masquerade, someone in ancient Greece, someone… hunting butterflies, I think?  And I did tend to gravitate sometimes toward the perfectionists (Carole was this too, sometimes, as was soon-to-be-discussed Mary Anne).  Also, I seem to remember she enjoyed writing or theatrical directing or maybe both?  These books aren’t even on Wikipedia, so I can’t verify, but this is what my memory says.

2. Kirsten Larson (American Girl)
Kirsten.  Oh, Kirsten, who might not have actually been my favorite if I’d have gotten into these dolls/books a few years later than I did.  Being someone who grew up in Oregon, though, I always had a natural bent toward pioneers, and even though Kirsten didn’t end up in Oregon or anything she was still a pioneer.  I don’t even remember a lot of things about her stories, but I remember I found her little pioneer clothes charming when I was in the single digits of age.  She was really sweet and I think I might have mentioned before that basically Sofia from Deadwood reminds me of a Kirsten doll?  (This, I know, is part of why I love Sofia so much.)

1. Mary Anne Spier (The Baby-sitters Club)
Mary Anne was the organized perfectionist who was shy and also wore glasses.  (I didn’t get glasses till I was in high school, but I did gravitate toward fictional characters who had them anyway.)  I wanted to be Stacey, the glamorous one, when I was really little, but I realized soon after actually starting school and making friends that nope, I was Mary Anne all the way.  Wikipedia says that her secretarial position in the club was “due to her exceptional organization skills and neat handwriting,” and I was always the one who got stuck writing on posters and taking notes for groups in class as a kid because of these things.  I was shyer than I probably was willing to admit at the time, too, and I was always one of those super!!!  Loyal!!!  Friend!!!  Girls!!! (which probably applies to any member of the Baby-sitters Club, but whatever).

–your fangirl heroine.

self-possessed yep


One Response to “Things in Print Thursday :: 5 of my childhood series-related literary heroines”

  1. louisamayalcatt March 2013 at 7:13 am #

    Nice piece. Obviously, I love Beth, my second and third faves are Anne of Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls. Thanks for a nice read.

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