Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wanted: One strong heroine with no apologies

I've slipped back into a bad habit of staying up till 2 am and sleeping in till 10 each day. I find I'm far more creative at 1 am than I am at 1 pm, which may be why I'm finally getting some serious writing done. I am really enjoying getting back into the habit of really writing again. Not just a few ideas or sketches here or there, but real writing. I've written over 50 pages into a novel! And I'm really enjoying having an outlet for my political thoughts at Swing State Voter.
I am admittedly NOT a Twilight fan. In fact, I'm in the anti-Twilight crowd. I read the first book and finally walked away from it with about 20 pages left because I was so bored and annoyed. I have seen the movies because "Little" begged me to go with her. So I know what they are about and how they end. But I'm not a fan in the least. In fact, they drive me crazy because the central main character and female lead is so spineless. I get that some women want to be rescued and they want drama. I get that. I get that the books appeal to them for that reason. But I found myself completely hating Bella, and likewise finding nothing to like about the other characters who liked her. I just didn't get it.
Which brings me to my point. Can you name a famous story (outside of anything Jane Austen or Little Women) where the female lead finds love and is not anti-romance when the story starts (which would actually rule out Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, come to think of it)? Is there any "classic" or popular book that includes a woman who is strong, intelligent, and looking for love? Where the book is not focusing on her weakness or failure? Is there any story that focuses on the strength of women and celebrates her for being a good, virtuous, or strong woman without making her strengths the reason she is single?
Help me out here friends! Because I really can't think of one story that fits that description.


  1. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Yeah for the anti-twighlight crowd! I actually read part of one of the books and felt like Bella was in a dangerous destructive relationship. Someone on facebook posted a quote that went something like "Twighlight is about the importance of being in a relationship..."
    Can't help you out with the book recommendations.

  2. I think Persuasion by Jane Austen might be a good example. Anne Elliot is a strong, intelligent woman, looking for love. She has made mistakes and there is some focus on her weakness of letting others dictate what she does, but she learns from that and is stronger in the end. It's my favorite Austen novel (kind-of obvious from my user name I guess!)

  3. Anonymous11:52 AM

    This isn't a classic, but it has been a fairly popular one- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The female lead is strong, capable, witty, independent, open to love but not banking her whole life on it, and for me, super easy to relate to! It is one of my favorite books of the past few years.

  4. I've had this discussion with my sisters before specifically relating to movies. There are hardly any movies where the female lead isn't looking for love or who needs a man to complete the story. There are very few of those, as well. "A League of Their Own" definitely qualifies. In fact, that story goes the opposite way -- where the absence of men is what makes the women's stories possible.

  5. Depending on how you define "popular" books - and I know these aren't "straight" fiction (by any means), but they are read by millions worldwide and have a huge fan base... and are uproariously funny in addition to being solidly good stories.
    Anyway, I'm referring to anything written by Terry Pratchett. All kinds of women characters, most of them strong women in one way or another (definitely strong characters), none of them silly vaporous airheads, and most looking for love just like anybody else. And they usually find it, after some ripping good adventures.
    Highly recommended.

  6. Anonymous11:05 PM

    Not hugely popular, but try books by Sharon Shinn. They are fantasy, and pretty much all of her books feature strong female characters.


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