29 April 2009

Feelgood: my favourite heroines.

Racking my brains for something to write about other than "oh my gawd I'm just so stressed!", I decided to turn once more to the multifaceted face of the love of my life: awesome women in awesome books.
Sometimes they're awesome because they're empowered, sometimes they're just the only ones who actually think straight in the entire novel, sometimes they're so sad that you just want to hug them over and over... and over.

Who's first?
The most loveable heroine ever to be put on paper?
Why, it's Elizabeth Bennet, obviously. I mean, Jane Austen said so.
In that sex-starved, hypocritical society, where all that mattered was how many "pounds a year" you had to your name and whether or not you knew important people, Elizabeth warmed our hearts by not giving a damn.
She was witty, pretty, smart and didn't really care whether or not the rich people liked her.
She had flaws too, and by that, I don't mean the let's-think-of-a-flaw-that's-actually-loveable that is the hallmark of the Mary Sue, but actually flaws - like a human being.

She also made the best speech in the history of ever:

"From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed upon to marry."
(at which point in the movie I'm always high-fiving the air around me, yelling "you go sister!")

(and she knows it!)

Look, I know it's cool to like the more accurate and longer BBC-version more, but let's all at least agree that Keira Knightley is by far the better Elizabeth, shall we?
The BBC actress never convinced me. Too soft and humourless. Elizabeth was a well-meaning force of nature, but in a cute way.

Who else, then?
Since the novel was a big hit (mostly in the US, I think, but still - it sold well here) I'll just assume most of you have at least heard of The Crimson Petal And The White, Michel Faber's much acclaimed magnum opus. Also, one of my favourite books ever.
It's huge, it's fresh, it absorbes you (if you let it, but you must, you absolutely must!) and in the end, 900+ pages don't seem like enough and you spend weeks devising outcomes for the - oops, but I'm being a spoiler-spoil here!
No, I'm not telling. I'll just say that it's wonderful in that it contains a lot of elements commenly found in Victorian novels (the captain of industry, his mistress, a mad wife,..) but it's viewed in a very modern, 21st-century like light, which makes you not only enjoy the whole thing more, but also look upon other novels (say... Jane Eyre?) in a different way.

The heroine of the day (year? decade? ever?) is Sugar, a prostitute with a nasty skin condition who is goddamn smart and kind of bitchy, in that she uses her lazy bum costumer William to get out of the gutter and up into the higher circles. Under her influence, William and his perfume "empire" both grow amazingly, and - yep, spoilers again.

I love Sugar because she's so damn human. She's damaged goods, granted, Victorian whores usually weren't the most confident and all's-fine-here people, but she's so determined not to stay in that situation that you have to love her for it.
I both hope and fear that they're making it into a film soon - hope because hey, the more Sugar the better - fear because they have the tendency to screw things up.
Okay, sure, the book is always better than the movie, so I don't expect EVERYTHING, but my heroines! My favourite characters, ALL WRONG!
All wrong I say!

Keira Knightley's Elizabeth is one huge exception, of course, but how can I trust them with my lovelies?
My babies, my carebears?

For our third heroine, I find myself in a little predicament.
I cannot tell you about the awesomeness of Isserley (of Michel Faber's Under The Skin). I cannot possibly divulge more information than this: she is female, and she is so tragic that it hurts.
It makes me want to hug her. For forever.
If Isserley were here, I would not be typing this as I would be too busy hugging her. So there's something to be thankful for, I guess.

I believe I have urged you before, but I shall do it again, as I say: Please Read Under The Skin. I promise you most heartily and sincerely you will not regret it.

That's it for now. I must return to my non-life which is filled to the brim with very unproductive stress - but I am nevertheless happy to inform you that the latest hiccup in the road to Our Own Apartment has been overcome, and only the actual signing remains.

And with that, I leave you.
Good night.

1 comment:

  1. 'heroine addiction' XD

    I'm halfway through Crimson Petal, I've got so damned little time to read.
    Loving it, though.

    Will order Under the Skin next time I hit the bookseller's.

    Must see BBC's P&P.

    Will continue reading now.

    love x