If you're a fan of literary heroines and free books, you're in luck! Erin Blakemore, who recently participated in our online young adult book club, has five copies of The Heroine's Bookshelf to give away to Bitch blog readers. All you have to do is leave a comment letting us know who your favorite literary heroine is (additional contest details at the bottom of the post). And now we'll hand you off to Erin...
I'll be the first to say it: the author's life has its pitfalls. To wit: I wrote a book called The Heroine's Bookshelf (newly in paperback from Harper Perennial), and now I'm paying the price. When you go out on a limb and write a book about heroines, you need to be ready to list your favorites, which I find akin to choosing which finger you'd like to sever or which kid you'd like to keep. Still, I soldier on, especially since I believe that there's much to be learned from both real-life and literary heroines who connect us to our sense of self, our sense of daring, and our sense of adventure on the page and off.
So which literary heroines inspire me? They're a motley crew, but here are a few.
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë): Okay, so her taste in men is...questionable. But her sense of steadfastness and self? Inspiring. Jane stumbles over the moors of despair and comes out her own woman. "I am no bird;" she declares, "and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will." Hear, hear.
Janie Crawford (Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston): This woman is a survivor, plain and simple. She survives an atrocious childhood and an abusive marriage. She survives the force of internal and literal hurricanes. And she comes to her own self in the process: "Janie did what she had never done before, that is, thrust herself into the conversation." Something we should all do every once in a while.
Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett): Okay, do you see a theme here? I love the little heroines, the ones who are small and obscure and kick ass every which way to Sunday. Mary Lennox is a great example. She's strait-laced and sour when the book opens, but as she cultivates her secret garden, she loosens up and learns to make her own magic. She goes from Mistress Mary Quite Contrary to a red-cheeked child whooping in her own personal paradise. And the heroic journey doesn't get much more heroic than that.
Okay, so I've covered the classics...now it's your turn. Which literary heroines do YOU find inspiring (contemporary or classic)? Leave your favorites in the comments section and you'll be entered for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Heroine's Bookshelf.
If you're going to leave a comment, make sure you leave it under your registered account (or register a new account if you haven't already) so that we will be able to contact you. Again, if you don't leave the comment under a registered account, you won't be eligible to win a copy of the book. Erin will pick her five favorite comments about literary heroines on Monday, November 21st! Good luck!