Sunday, January 27, 2008

Heroines who remind me of girls I knew in high school, Part ONE

I recently made a list of heroines I identify with in a comfortingly seamless way during the act of reading--like they’re an other me.

This made me think about heroines I love reading about just as much, but don’t identify with as completely. I have decided this happens when the heroine isn’t A) vulnerable enough in a way that resonates with me, or B) she is vulnerable enough, but way too different than me, like a different animal.

Sometimes I prefer that. Reading about heroines like these is like having an adventure with a friend who is fascinating or admirable in some way, rather than a comforting proxy self. Reading should take a person to new places and new realities.

On my heroines I totally identify with list, some people mentioned Sookie as a heroine they identify with, and I really thought about putting her on that list, because I am CRAZY about those books, and I love her and I enjoy being in that wonderful world she inhabits. Especially if Eric is hanging around. (I may even splurge on the new book coming out in May, even though it’s in hardcover. Please, don’t ask me why I can’t show my face in the library anymore. That’s a topic for another day.) However, while I identify with Sookie often, she is often an othergirl to me—in a good way.

Anyway, thinking about all this, I realized this weird thing: when I think about heroines I love reading about but don’t 100% identify with, I think about girls I knew in high school and I put them in categories from high school. I don’t know why, as I am MANY years past high school. Maybe I’m just not over it. Without further ado:

Sookie: (Southern Vampire mysteries by Charlaine Harris)
I had a best friend like Sookie - sweet, sexy, blonde, smart, her own easy fashion sense, all the boys loved her. (I know supposedly boys don’t like Sookie because of her telepathy, but you know. I think they sort of would.) Sookie is also vulnerable and her world is delightful to dwell in, but she is so the opposite of my high school self—I was not pretty, smart but not a high performer, and a total moron when it came to boys, hair and fashion. So while I identify with Sookie in a pleasurable way while reading, I identify with her as a best friend rather than a proxy self.

Phedre: (Kushiel’s Series by Jacqueline Carey)
Phedre is the mysterious girl I would’ve admired from afar and been in awe of. I would’ve wanted to be friends with her, but she would’ve run with a cooler group and taken more obscure classes. Her cleverness with guys would’ve mystified me, too. And if I’d ever talked to her, like at parties, I would’ve said stupid things, being so in awe of her. I would’ve wished desperately to be her, just for one day. Though I frequently identify with her during the act of reading, Phedre is very othergirl.

Riley Jensen: (Riley Jensen Guardian Series by Keri Arthur)
Riley’s kind of a wild girl, and she loves to have fun. I had groups of friends that contained wild girls like her, and every once in a while, a Riley would befriend me for some inexplicable reason, and we would drive with the music too loud, and she would rampage around at the Walgreen’s, maybe get us kicked out of the A & W and it would seem like an incredible adventure to me. Eventually our friendship would fizzle, because I could never keep up with a Riley. Not that I didn’t long to.

Tomorrow: Anita Blake, Margrit Knight, Jezebel, Savi Murray


Wendy said...

The first Sookie book was one of the first vampire books I ever read and since then I've been a huge fan.

I can definitely identify with her on certain things.

I have read Kushiel’s Series but I have read the Riley books although I don't identify with her.

Christine said...

I'm thinking it would be a lot of fun to be as promiscuous as Riley Jenson. I just never had the guts. That scene in one of the earlier books where she has sex on the dance floor? lol I can't even recall who it was with. But oh so hot. Damn.