Let’s Hear It for the Girls

 

About a month ago I watched Anne of Green Gables with some friends. I have to say it was three and a half hours well spent. Of course you have to suspend your disbelief. Of course you have to be in the mood to watch it. That Anne, she’s brilliant. Also, I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age story, especially where fiesty little girls blossom into fiesty, independent, strong women. The characters were all quite strong in this movie version, and it brought to my remembrance those characters from the books. I read the first three.

I’ve been watching The Little House on the Prairie series. I’m at season five. The Ingallses have moved back to Walnut Grove and the inhabitants have decided to try getting the town running again. Because, of course, Charles is back. He can fix just about anything. You know, though, that Caroline Ingalls carries a lot of the gumption for the two of them. Have I mentioned the girl crush I have on Caroline? I love the way she teaches her children and how she stands up to that impossible Mrs. Oleson. And Half-pint? She’s a toughy, and she made me bawl my eyeballs dry when she told Mary how much she loves her and how grateful she is they’re sisters.

Gilbert. Albert. I need a cute “-bert” in my life. And a bosom friend. Hey, what if you combined Green Gables with Little House? Could you even imagine? Of course Laura came before Anne, and Laura actually existed, but what if Laura wanted Diana Barry to be her bosom friend and not Anne’s? What if Gilbert decided to court Mary, and Adam took Anne to the blind school? What if Carrie got caught between the two worlds and could only watch everything going on from this unseen dimension? Also, if you’re stuck in an imperceptible plane of existence, and you’re a cringe-worthy star in a popular television series, does it still count as acting?

Ooh. What if Rachel Lynde and Harriet Oleson became best friends? Would there be any stopping them? I think the Ingalls women along with Marilla Cuthbert and Anne could definitely take them in a battle of sorts. Maybe Dance Dance Revolution? Or Super Mario Kart. Or good, old-fashioned hula hoops.

And now, I’m reading Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’m about halfway through. The main character, Francie Nolan, is one of my all-time favorites. Now, if you want a coming of age story, this one’s for you. If you want hardship and wisdom from experience and poverty and scandal and turn-of-the-20th-century history and Brooklyn – Brooklyn! – it’s all right here. This book is a much faster read than I expected. I haven’t been this interested in literary characters in a long, long time. The narrative style is compelling. The characters are real and they move the story at a good pace. The symbolism and foreshadowing are apparent, but they’re effective. This is down-on-your-luck Brooklyn, after all, so not much is subtle. But you’ll be thrilled at what is understated. I had no idea that this would become one of my favorite books. I still have 245 pages to go, but I anticipate more excellence. I’m rooting for Francie.

Anne, Diana, Laura, Mary, Caroline, and Francie. These ladies float in my dreams, and I secretly want to be them.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Hear It for the Girls

  1. This is Kim Middleton. I can’t tell you how many times I have fantasized that I am Anne. I lover her. Mom read the first book with me when I was a little girl, and I remember when the movie first came out on T.V., she let me stay up past my curfew each night to watch them. It was shown over two nights. Every girl in Canada watched, I’m sure. This year is the 100th Anniversary of Anne, and a prequel has been commissioned by some author and published. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  2. When I was little, I was a dedicated Little House watcher. But it always seemed to make me cry. Like the time Caroline was home alone (b/c her family had gone ahead to a festival & she was going to meet up with them) and got a cut on her leg & then it got infected and she was delirious & almost cut off her leg until Charles came to the rescue (thank goodness!). My mother wouldn’t allow me to watch them for several years because she said it always made me sad. But then, after I gave birth to my first baby, my mother gifted me the first season of LHOTP on DVD and I sat at home and watched every episode. And cried when Caroline’s baby boy died not too long after he was born. And cried at other things. But I still love that show so much. So. Much. Laura is my hero. And I love that she was a real person. Love Anne, too. And love Francie! My grandfather grew up in Brooklyn during Francie’s time period, and it’s all pretty true to life. Good books. Good movies. Good gals.

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