Saturday, June 05, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Female Characters You Admire

Random Rambling's Top Ten topic this week...Ten Female Characters You Admire.

Anne Eliott from Persuasion by Jane Austen. Some might find Anne easy to forget--after all, her own family neglects her, abuses her. But for me, Anne Elliott is one of the best female characters ever. I just love her. I do. I love her for her strength, her determination. Do you think it is easy to wake up every morning and face those obnoxious family members of hers? She has been in love--with no hope--for years and years. But is she depressed? Is she melancholy? Is she woe is me? I don't think so. Anne has a certain something that sets her apart from everyone else. She's got integrity for certain. Time has only made her wiser and more observant.

Valancy Stirling from The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I don't know how well known this one is--how memorable (or not) readers will find this one. But I'll just share why I love her. I think Valancy has gumption. She hasn't always had it. She hasn't always had the courage to speak up, to be herself. But she finds it when she needs it most. Valancy is honest too. I am wowed by her proposal to Barney. For her to just put it all out there--to speak so boldly, so honestly not knowing how he feels, or how he'll react. That's something. Her "that's all" gets me every time.

Melanie Wilkes from Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Is Melanie stupid or just compassionate and forgiving? That's a tough one to answer. Is she blind to other people's faults? Can she just not see how fallen the world is? Can she just not see the truth when it's right in front of her? Or does she choose to believe the best, see the best? Is she too meek for her own good? Is her purity, her innocence too good to be true? Why do I admire her? She's the kind of woman you'd want on your side. Is it fair to say because I can't admire Scarlett? I don't know. But there's something about Melanie that is genuine and good.

Anne Shirley from the L.M. Montgomery series. I admire Anne for so many reasons. Her imagination, her kindredness. Her need to be loved and accepted as she is. Who can't relate to Anne on some level? From her impulsiveness that leads her to speak her mind to Rachel or to dye her hair green (though she was aiming for black, or course), to her stubbornness. She's not perfect. But she's just so much fun. I love how she makes everyone around her feel. How she brightens up any situation. On how she can make even the shyest people around her feel at ease. How she has a way of finding those that *really* need a good friend. I love her matchmaking, if I'm being honest. Unlike Emma, Anne has a way with people. And she has a good success rate!

Penelope Featherington from Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series, particularly Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Penelope is one of the main reasons that I love, love, love the early books in the series. As to why I love her, when life gives her lemons, she makes lemonade. Since she isn't an "it" girl, since she's "destined" to be a wallflower, why not be the most observant, most witty wallflower ever?!

Liesel from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I'm not sure why Liesel is on the list. But she's determined to be on the list. She won't let me forget her. Is that in part because Death can't forget Liesel? Perhaps that's a good bit of it. Death is the narrator after all. It is through his eyes--in a way--that we meet Liesel. That we meet her foster parents. That we meet Max. All the characters in this one are unforgettable. There's just something beautiful and amazing (though dark and gritty) about this one.

Irene Gut Opdyke, In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer. I have read many of books--fiction and nonfiction--about the Holocaust. And most have compelling power. So many are brilliantly and beautifully written. Just by being simple and straight forward, their words have the power to move, the power to haunt. I'd also recommend I Have Lived A Thousand Years and The Cage.

As for the remaining three....who should they be??? Margaret Hale? Perhaps. But do I love her because Mr. Thornton does? Do I admire her because she gets Mr. Thornton? I can't even begin to answer that. Margaret is certainly strong--and she's certainly been tested. In such a short time she loses so many people in her life. Is she always right? No, but she has a way of admitting when she's been wrong. And I think through it all--Margaret has heart, a big heart--a generous spirit.

How about Rilla Blythe? She's certainly got some traits to admire, right? Growing up so fast because of the war. Taking in a war-baby, raising it on her own. She proves her worth to everyone.

How about Laura Ingalls Wilder? I loved how she put her family first--though she struggled with that! She was brave when she needed to be brave, and strong too. I especially loved her in the later books--like The Long Winter.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Shelley 11:54 PM  

Just read Jane's Fame and found it encouraging that it took awhile for Austen's audience to find her! Another remarkable thing about Anne Elliott is that for the first time we see an Austen heroine who has a deep friendship with and great respect for a character who sorely lacks money.

Anonymous,  4:20 AM  

Wonderful, wonderful post, Becky! So well-thought-out and worth pondering over - and I agree with you on so much! L.

Charlotte 5:45 AM  

I love the Blue Castle! a favorite comfort read.

Unknown 7:42 AM  

Nice list! I agree about Anne: she's often forgotten, but she's such a wonderful character.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 9:52 AM  

What a great list! I so agree with you on Anne Elliot, Liesel, Anne Shirley and Melanie. I've put The Blue Castle at the top of my TBR list.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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