My answers this week will be a mixed bag of books, TV shows, and films. This topic was a little challenging for me, but I enjoyed brainstorming for it. Let’s see if I can come up with the full ten answers!
1. Karana from Scott Odell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins
While we grew up in completely different environments, we were both pretty independent kids. When I was in the fourth grade, I randomly decided to try walking home from school on a different route one day so I could see some new houses. After I got lost,* I asked a friendly-looking stranger to walk me back to my elementary school, went home the proper way, and then didn’t tell my parents this story for 20+ years.
*This happened before cellphones were something the average family owned, so it’s not like I could call home or my parents could see where I was through GPS tracking.
2.Amélie from the French film Amélie.
The protagonist of this movie was a shy, young woman who decided to perform random acts of kindness for the people around her for the sheer joy of it. I see a lot of myself in her.
3. Willow Rosenberg from the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow was the nerdy, bookish best friend of the Buffy, the main character in this series. I identified so strongly with Willow’s love of learning and occasionally awkward moments. The fact that we both came out of the closet after high school only made me adore her more.
4. Luna Lovegood from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Luna was such a creative free-thinker. I wish she’d gotten more of a chance to shine in this series! I sure thought she was delightful, and many of the fanciful things she said reminded me of stuff I’ve thought and sometimes said out loud myself.
5. Alice from Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love
Alice’s love of the library is what originally drew me to her. I dreamed about working at a library for a long time, and I see so many similarities between us when it comes to how we like to temporarily lose ourselves in a world of books (in a good way).
6. The Hsu, Jong, St Claire, and Woo families from Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club.
Being an immigrant is such an interesting experience. You transition from “belonging” to one culture to feeling equally part of two (or more) of them and switching between the mindsets you develop for each one. It can be tricky to explain how this can change your perspective on life to people who haven’t been through it, but I found so many similarities between these characters and my own life.
7. Joanna from Jaye Robin Brown’s Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit
This is a book I’m currently reading about the queer daughter of a pastor. Not only do Joanna and I have those two things in common, we both seem to have quirky personalties as well. She seems like she’d be a great person to hang out with.
8. Jane Eyre from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
Jane and I are honest, dignified people who love learning practical and impractical things. She also struck me as someone who was quite skilled at avoiding gossip, and I truly respect that about her. I try to act just like her when a conversation begins to turn in that direction.
9. Lily from Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Lily had such a sweet, gentle personality. She reminded me a lot of how I behave when I’m trying to make a good impression on people. Her strong creative streak also reminded me of myself.
10. Shasta from C.S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy
Fair warning: this book contains some language and descriptions that modern audiences would rightfully describe as xenophobic. I believe you can love a story while also acknowledging its flaws, and I’d like to think that C.S. Lewis would have written it very differently if he’d lived in our era.
With that caveat out of the way, I’ve always enjoyed the way Shasta reacted to the thought that talking horses might really exist. He was skeptical at first, of course, but he accepted it a bit faster than other people might have. I think I would have done the same thing at his age! His wary sense of adventure also reminded me of myself.
We enjoy them…but we also would be perfectly content to sit at home and eat dinner instead. Ha!