What Jo, Anne, and Betsy Have in Common

WritingSeveral months ago, I finished reading I Capture the Castle, which if you haven’t read, you should.  It’s delightful, and one of my favorite blogs, FYA, has a great review of it, which is what inspired me to read it in the first place.

Anyway, as I emotionally closed the cover, I had the strangest realization: while I have fallen in love with many books, stories, and characters over the years, the once that have most impacted me all have something in common – they’re all about writers:

  • Jo in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (both the June Allyson and Wynonna Rider movies, as well as the book)
  • Judy in Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster (the book; though I love the Fred Astaire movie, it’s not the same)
  • Cassandra in I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Betsy in the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • And most of all, Anne of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (the Sullivan Entertainment movie versions; no, the 3rd one does not count and yes, I’m finally getting to the books and loving them as much as the movies!)

Great stories, all of them.  They make great gifts for young girls.  But in each one, the story is about a young female writer finding her voice on the page.  Was this a sign? I wondered tearfully (TEABS is a real thing, my friends).  Or was this something that had nothing to do with me?

The latter explanation is entirely possible.  There’s a great Cracked article that points out how Hollywood can only conceive of a stressful job that requires an upcoming huge presentation or meeting – in large part because that’s what a Hollywood writer’s job largely consists of.  Later in the article, it also points out that anyone in a movie who works a 9-to-5 job is unhappily coping with his soul-sucking cubicle nightmare – again, because to a creative person like a screenwriter, sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day WOULD be soul-sucking.

So similarly, if most writers find their voice by learning the truism that you can only write what you honestly know, then won’t many books be about a writer learning to find their voice?  It’s not an unreasonable expectation.

But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t also a wake-up call to me.  Perhaps, despite my loud-mouthed inner critic, I do have some future as a writer.  Who knows?

Have you noticed any trends in your favorite books or movies?

 

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