A posting of a different ilk today.
The intention of this blog has already been stated. But I wanted to take a minute to elaborate upon why I, personally, am contributing. I’m a sister yes, and in college was an English major, but above all else, I am a girl, and I know what it means to grow up as such. My main recollection of the years from 11-16 is a feeling of displacement. I didn’t feel as though I belonged-anywhere, let alone to anyone. Its an overpowering emotion that unfortunately a lot of girls experience, and one that many authors, Meyers included, have been able to tap into. For Bella Swan, has this infuriating sense of belonging… she belongs to Edward, and therefore, belongs wherever he may choose to be. That’s Bella’s story, and the simplicity of it is intoxicating. But if I could talk to my younger self, I wouldn’t recommend searching out my paramour at 11, or 12, or even 13, and, if I’m honest, I’d probably recommend steering clear of vampires as well.
For those years, I didn’t always feel as though I fit. at home, at school or otherwise, but I could read about all these wonderful characters in fantastical worlds with whom I imagined I could fit. These girls were never like the ruling clique at school, they were sometimes awkward, sometimes clumsy, but always intelligent, fierce, and independent. And it was these characters who convinced me that in this world there was a place for even me- other than my favored corner in the library.
I think it’s important to know that that Bella’s path isn’t the only option. And if, after reading about every other awesome character out there, you still envy her situation, then by all means, find yourself a vampire to suck away your mortality. But we’d be bad readers indeed if we didn’t at least offer up some other options. These books are ones that we’ve loved losing ourselves in, the characters often near and dear to our hearts- and we hope that you’ll join us, and find just as much pleasure in realizing just how many worlds and stories there are to find yourself within.
Tonight’s recommendation: The book that started it all for me, one that having just reread proved every bit as enjoyable as the first time upon entering 6th grade. Newberry honored Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Published in 1997 this Cinderella retelling sparked off an avalanche of fairytale spin-offs both in print, and on the screen. The story then, is a familiar one, and I wont waste words recounting it. But Ella… she’s not the character you think you know at all. Yes, she has a fairy godmother, yes she has horrid step-sisters, but she’s also been gifted a curse, making her forever obedient to the simplest commands: “Brush your hair Ella” – she’ll have to brush her hair. “Drink the poison Ella”- and she’ll have to drink. Ella makes her triumphs on her own, not aided by magic, pumpkins, or singing mice. Her wit, determination and her sense of adventure make her the kind of girl you wish for as a best friend. But for me, most importantly, the book chronicles Ella’s struggle to belong… not to the orders that she must obey, nor to the people who issue them, but instead wholly and truly, to herself.