Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's list is about 10 literary characters that you would like to have as members of your family. At first I thought I would be repeating myself with previous lists about characters and I almost didn't participate, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that bringing someone into the fold of your home and family is totally different than just liking them or thinking what they do is exciting or adventurous...These 10 characters I would gladly welcome into our clan :)
1. O-Lan - The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Ahhhh, O-Lan. One of the most hard-working women in fiction EVER. Tireless, smart, honest and loyal...but not a pushover. She cannot always stand up for herself because of the culture in which she lives, but she quietly holds her place by refusing to be broken by the unimaginable oppression that has surrounded her for her entire life. O-Lan does not let the past get in the way of possible happiness in he future either. She could very easily wallow in the way she's been "used up" by the time she leaves with Wang Lung, but she doesn't...she holds her head up and begins again. That doesn't mean she's all smiles and giggles...that would be unrealistic...but she embraces her new life and makes the best of it as long as she can.
What a woman. I wish she was my sister.
2. Katnis - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Who would not be proud to have this child as a daughter???? Strong, independent and smart, this child faces reality head-on...what has to be done has to be done. But, she's not hard hearted; she's not mean and she's not cold. She's willing to risk her own life to save her sister's...not in a reckless way...she knows she has 100 times more chance of survival than her 12 year old sister who is just beginning to learn to live. It is the right choice, albeit a difficult one for everyone around them to swallow. Then, Katnis sets off with the goal of surviving and getting back home again...not a pie in the sky kind of hope...a real one, with a plan of action, with internal motivation and emotions that she holds onto even though she doesn't let everyone see them all the time.
You go, girl ;)
3. Father Tim - The Mitford Series by Jan Karon
I'd like to have Father Tim as an uncle...that way I could take a week or so each year and visit him in Mitford. I would know the people of the town after spending year after year visiting in the summer...I would know the peace of that household as well as many opportunities to genuinely help others. I would know perfectly what an orange marmalade cake tastes like too, and I would help my uncle Father Tim control his Diabetes by coming up with a recipe using Splenda :) Dooley would be my adopted cousin and we'd have great fun romping around Mitford with "big as a buick" dog Barnabus by our sides. Cynthia would be my adopted aunt and I know that her cat Violet and I would have been partners in crime out in the garden.
4. Grandma Mazur - Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
Who wouldn't love for Grandma Mazur to be their grandmother??? She's funny as all get out, silly crazy, owns a gun (yikes!) and ain't afraid to use it...much to Stephanie and her mom's chagrin. As kooky as she can be (I have laughed out loud at more Grandma Mazur antics and comments than I can ever count), she also loves her family...her own daughter and Stephanie, who she sees as a lot like herself. She encourages Stephanie and slips in some humdinger words of heartfelt advice when Stephanie least expects it.
5. Novalee Nation - Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Novalee is a young woman who has everything working against her. She's pregnant, unmarried, has no money, and her boyfriend disappears, leaving her homeless at Wal-Mart. Novalee could've sat down and cried...and cried and cried and cried. And, none of us (probably not even me) would've blamed her. Keeping her wits and a spirit that is unshakable in tact she manages to not only pull her ownself up by the bootstraps but a few others she meets along the way as well. This is one of the few movies that I liked just as much as the book. I would like to be Novalee's foster mother...to help her help herself on the road to success.
6. The Narrator - The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Another motherless child...but this time a child who is uncertain of her mother's fate and is searching for answers. Yes, this is Winonna Ryder in the photo, but this is what I think the nameless daughter of The Historian who becomes the historian herself would look like. Classically dark and beautiful like her mother but not made up or sassy at all...dark, sad, haunting but also determined eyes. This girl is no victim. She is a survivor and does survive even on her own as a young girl in a foreign country. I would adopt this child, but I think it would be difficult to get close to her...
7. Marmee - March by Geraldine Brooks
This photo is taken from the movie version of Little Women...but I would like to be sisters with the younger Marmee I met in March. Headstrong, outspoken, loud and angry sometimes, she was raised amongst thinkers and encouraged to be a thinker and to stand up for her views...characteristics much unheard of during the Civil War. As her sister I would have been tempted to tell her to stay away from the young salesman...especially once he tried to squash her spirit to some extent. I would've pointed out that he was a big talker but didn't really have anything to back up all that talk. I would have warned her that he talked of freedom and independence for all but encouraged her to control herself. Of course, if Marmee had listened to me, we wouldn't have Amy, Jo, Meg and Beth :(
8. Annie - The Quiet Game by Greg Iles
Annie is Penn Cage's little girl...When we meet them, they have just suffered the numbing death of Penn's wife and Annie's mom from cancer. Penn is struggling to deal with his own grief as well as help young Annie somehow wrap her mind around what has happened. Annie is a strong, independent young girl who has been blessed with a childhood so far surrounded by two parents who love her honestly and deeply and love each other. While she understands the reality of what has happened to her mother as much as a four year old can, she can't help but sometimes simply wanting her mama. Penn decides to move back home closer to his own parents for both his and Annie's sakes. If you're a mother...and maybe even if you're not, you can't help but want to take some of Annie's pain away. I would like to be Annie's aunt and spend time with her, getting to know her and to carry out some of her mother's wishes for her as she continues to develop into a young woman.
9. Spit McGee - My Cat Spit McGee by Willie Morris
Spit McGee was a real character so I'm not sure if he counts or not...often forgotten and much overlooked considering all the hype that surrounded My Dog Skip, Spit McGee was a rescue adopted by Willie Morris during his adult years. An obvious dog lover, Morris quickly fell under the feline spell so many of us cat lovers know well and told of his and Spit McGee's adventures in true Willie Morris style. Spit McGee outlived his famous owner but has since passed away. The above photo was borrowed from David Ray Morris, Willie Morris' son and is a photo of the real live Spit McGee living a life of leisure. Yes, cats are part of the family :)
10. Sidda Walker - Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
What relationship is more complicated than that of a mother and daughter? Daughters are products of their mothers and so also products of their mothers' pasts. Sidda loves her mother but struggles to understand some of the things that have happened during her childhood between her and her mother and has to look into her mother's life even further back to begin to understand. Even with understanding, a lifetime of misunderstanding cannot just be erased...on both sides. Her mother is who she is and Sidda is who she is. In the above photo from the movie, Sidda is screaming into the phone to her mother who is on the other end of the "conversation" slamming the phone onto the kitchen table over and over :) Will the two ever be able to find common ground? Sidda struggles to find a way to connect with her mother while holding on to her own individual sense of self.
I'd like Sidda to be my sister, so I could take her to therapy ;)
NEXT WEEK: Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves :)