I am just going to review these two books together, since I read the two of them on the same day. I am way behind on posting about the book I read during my annual August vacation at the cabin.
I think I’m going to dive in deeper than most reviews of these books, but it just brought so many emotions to the surface for me. Not emotions related to the story, but the portrayal of women in books in general. I’ll start out with my, should you read or not read these, summarized opinion. I read these because my aunt happened to have copies at the house, so I brought them on vacation with me. I read them because a movie is coming out and you know I need to read the book before I see the movie. I don’t really recommend them though. This theme is overdone. It is not unique, I’m a little tired of it. Had the story been told better, I might have looked past the jumping on the bandwagon of the popular theme of today – but I’m a little blah after reading both of these yesterday (yes, that is how quick of a read they are.)
Now my rant, which I’ve actually shortened a great deal, I just needed to vent a little, but you don’t need to read it all.
I think I’ve said this before, that I am not a feminist. But I am a “strong woman”, whatever that means. For me it means: I’m smart; I think, I have opinions; I, like you, read; I am active (physically); I, although unplanned, have a great career that I love; I can make my own decisions, but am also a team player, so can work for the whole; I serve others until I am certain I will fall asleep on my feet and I continue going nonetheless... It means other things too, but I never thought I would start to side with feminists nor have feministic thoughts. I want to perform a google search to see what feminists think of this series. I really do wonder. But, as I don’t like reading most feminist articles, I’ll restrain myself. Here is what I think though.
Just as with the Twilight books, we have a heroine who doesn’t seem to care about what affect her actions will have on others. And, I won’t add a spoiler, though this series quickly adds in a “reason” for her behavior, where are the good examples for girls today. I know that no one is perfect, but I know that girls are really look up to the characters in the books they read. And I’m not finding many that I’d recommend.
Recently my mother sent me an article about girls who grew up admiring Pippi Longstocking. I am DEFINITELY one of those girls, ...thus my mother sent me the article. Many see Pippi as this almost orphan, living on her own, playing all the time with the neighboring kids or her horse, having endless adventures, being irresponsible, paying no heed to adult supervision. But that wasn’t the case. I think, in particular of a story where the neighbors want to run away from home, I think because their parents try to make them eat their vegetables. Before they set out on the adventure, the mother of the children actually asks Pippi to watch out for her kids, which she does. She also teaches them why they should want to be at home with their parents. She isn’t irresponsible. She doesn’t support Tommy and Annika in their desire to be parentless. The stories take a girl, who seemingly a parent wouldn’t want to be friends with her children, and shows why she is the best friend they can have.
Back to these books. And now, for the cleaned up, edited version. I want to find stories with characters that show, yes, when you are young, you make mistakes. Books that teach how to overcome when you make those mistakes. I’d love to find a story that doesn’t involve the girl falling in love. There is too much focus on romance. A girl doesn’t think she is good enough if she doesn’t have at least two boys fighting for her attention. I’d love to find a story about a girl who respects authority. Now, this doesn’t mean she doesn’t know right from wrong, and if the authority, say someone like Hitler, is not doing right – it would be great to discuss how not to lose your values and how to stand up for yourself. And in a realistic situation, not these end of the world, it is up to you to save humanity stories.
After reading these, I really questioned what I was reading. I am kind of tired of reading books that plug someone’s personal agenda - usually against morality, standards, organized religion, family values. I am tired of reading books that portray a female lead that is obviously supposed to be a role model, but shouldn't be seen as such. I'm such a negative poop about things like this. Sorry, just fresh on my mind.
Not books I can recommend