Yesterday, Luath Press (an independent Scottish Publisher) asked Twitter for their best literary heroes.
My gut instinct was Jo March from Little Women – a person who does everything on her own terms, who has a sense of humour, who refuses to let people talk down to her because of her gender (bearing in mind this is set in American Civil War time, and women are not allowed to do anything much). For instance:
“I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.” ~ Jo March
Of course, there have been several suggestions on the Twitter of characters from books for grown ups – Atticus Finch, for instance, and Francoise from Simone de Beauvoir’s She Came to Stay. It would be fair to say that heroes from grown up books weren’t even in my top ten. The top literary heroes that sprang to my mind were:
- Jo March (Little Women – Louisa May Alcott)
- Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery)
- Sophie Hatter (Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones)
- Jammy Grammy Lammy F’Huppa F’Huppa Berlin Stereo Eo Eo Lebb C’Yepp Nermonica Le Straypek De Grespin De Crespin De Spespin DeVespin De Whoop De Loop De Brunkle Merry Christmas Lenoir, also known as Polly (from the Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton)
- Pongwiffy the Witch (Kaye Umansky)
Honourable mentions must surely go to Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter), Mary Lennox (The Secret Garden), The Psammead (Five Children and It) and Harriet the Spy. Again, the more eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted that my brain is not spewing forth grown up characters.
This isn’t because I don’t read grown up books – in September I read eight! Ergo it must be because all proper heroes are children or teenagers. That, readers, is science. That the fact that my subconscious remembered that it’s Children’s Book Week, and wanted to do some joined up blogging.
Anyway, who are your literary heroes? If you’re on Twitter, you can tell Luath Press with the hashtag #bestliteraryhero. If not, please feel free to leave a comment below.