February 17, 2010

Starring Flavia de Luce, as herself!

I just finished a book with the most delightful heroine. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley centers around Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist and crime solving gumshoe detective sweetness at the bottom coverwho is only eleven years old. I am always sad when a good book comes to an end, but it helps if the characters have that certain likeability that brings them to life and causes them to really stick with the reader. This got me thinking about some of my other favorite literary characters who have stuck by me through thick and thin. Since Flavia is such a unique individual, it made me wonder: who would be her literary pals?

Some obvious ones (in my 0pinion) are Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Emily of Emily’s Runaway Imagination (Beverly Cleary), and The Secret Garden’s Mary Lennox (Frances Hodgson Burnett). Although I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sally J. Freedman (a Judy Blume title character) and a recently discovered spitfire named Calpurnia Tate (The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly). The thing that evolution of calpurnia tateall of these characters have in common is their determination, often in the face of much adversity. Each story is great because the young heroine represented in it is full of spunk, fearless to a fault, and willing to get a little dirty to make things more interesting. I suppose it never occurred to me while I was growing up that characters from books could be role models. But looking back, I realize they were. How I longed to clorox a horse, spy on my neighbors and discover shameful family secrets. I also spent lots of time (in between reading good books) just daydreaming and letting my imagination run away with me. This is just the kind of thing that girls need so much and these characters (and their stories) provided me with that. I’m so glad I got to know them. Who are some of your beloved storybook people?