Rachel, Jo and Lisbeth=BFF-4-Ever

Today kicks off Memorial Day weekend, which in turn (unofficially) kicks off summer. Which means… drumroll…it’s summer reading season! I realized a few days ago that I have twelve—twelve!—plane rides scheduled between now and Labor Day weekend. So while many of you will be laying on the beach, Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest in one hand and margarita in the other, I will be getting my literary nourishment in the stale air and cramped seats of American Airlines. (All these scheduled trips are for happy occasions and I’m glad to be going, but twelve flights? It’s kind of hard to make local BFFs when you’re never local…)

On my summer reading list? Hornet’s Nest, of course, plus a mile-high stack of friendship books—both fiction and non—and whatever my book club demands of me. Also, Life After Yes by Aidan Donnelley Rowley, one of my very first blog friends. I could go on, but thinking too much about all the to-be-read books on my shelves makes me anxious that I should stop blogging and start curling up in my book nook, pronto.

So to usher in the holiday weekend, something light, bookish and BFFish. I present to you the literary characters (aside from the members of the BSC) with whom I would most like to be best friends:

1) Boy, The Giving Tree. Some say he’s selfish and greedy, I say he’s lonely. He loves his tree. He could use a BFF.

2) Jo March, Little Women. Or maybe Beth. For one of my college applications, I had to name which fictional character I most identified with. I chose Jo. But I wonder if we could really be best friends? We might be too similar. As much as I love her, I could see us bumping heads. I might benefit more from Beth’s warm heart… You know, before her gutwrenching end.

3) Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter series. She’s awesome. Half badass, half girly. Not as goody-two-shoes as Hermione, but just as brave. I can totally picture us whispering together in the corner.

4) Alice Cullen, Twilight. Whimsical, fiercely loyal, and loves to play dress up. That she can see into the future doesn’t hurt.

5) Harriet the Spy/Nancy Drew. I really wanted to be a child detective back in the day. Sadly, there were very few (read: zero) mysteries that needed solving in my hometown. But I would still very much like to be the sleuthy sidekick.

6) Lisbeth Salander, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and sequels). I would not want to be on her bad side. But she is crazy protective of her friends, could dig up dirt on anyone at anytime, and would be one of those never-a-dull-moment BFFs.

7) Skeeter Phelan, The Help. She’s passionate, determined, sneaky when she has to be. I think we could be good writing buddies. Read each other’s work, give honest critiques, take breaks to discuss Hilly’s horribleness.

8 ) Oskar Schell, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m aware that most people think Jonathan Safran Foer’s first book, Everything is Illuminated, is his best. But I fell in love with Oskar, and this novel, early on. He’s eager and vulnerable and precocious… and he’s just really funny. I mean, he plays the tambourine and invents things like talking teakettles. Who wouldn’t want to be his BFF?

9) Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’ Diary. I was on the fence about her at first. Isn’t she kind of a hot mess? But as my very wise coworker reminded me, “You need a friend to get drunk with. And who’s more f’ed up than you.” Fair point.

Did I miss anyone? Who’d be your literary BFF? Happy long weekend…


Filed under Famous Friendships

29 responses to “Rachel, Jo and Lisbeth=BFF-4-Ever

  1. I think my pick is Lee from Prep. (P.S. I tweeted this post. I love the idea. Have a great weekend!)

  2. Karen A.

    I love this idea, what a delightful start to the summer, and great ice breaker at any time. You always keep it fresh Rachel, thanks for presenting such thought provoking and fun queries.

  3. I wouldn’t want to be friends with the people in my favorite novels — making me wonder what attracts me to those books…

    But maybe Alexander from The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. Because he TOTALLY needs a BFF.

    • Alex, when I started writing this list I felt the same way… so many of my favorite novels have deeply flawed and damaged characters who I would not really want in my life. Children’s books, meanwhile, had SO MANY characters who are fun and totally BFFable (those above, and maybe Eloise or Ramona or Matilda…) It was a fascinating realization of why I love kids books…

  4. Skeeter for sure! Thanks for adding to my list of summer reading with some more recommendations.


  5. Husband

    What about the BFG?!?!? He’s big. He’s FRIENDLY. And he’s a giant.

  6. Ooo, fun post! I would like to be friends with:

    – Anne of Green Gables – I think we’d be bosom buddies.

    – Morrie of Tuesdays with Morrie – He was such a wise man, I think I would have gleamed a lot of wisdom from him. (not sure this counts since it’s non-fiction, though…)

    – Rebecca Bloomwood of the Shopaholic books – Yes, this are light airy reads, but she makes me laugh outloud. I don’t think she could be a BFF though because her ditziness might drive me up the way. But she’d be fun to shop with!

    And holy cannasta – 12 flights this summer? Yowza.

  7. Iorick Byrnason/Lyra Silvertongue and pretty much any good character from His Dark Materials
    Peter Parker – Spider-Man
    The Lorax
    Geryon – Autobiography of Red
    Katurian – Pillowman

    And I totally second what was said above about characters in great novels not being such great friend material. Although I did get two adult characters into my list.

  8. You are right on with Skeeter Phelan. Just finished this book.

    Just read the Oh the Places You’ll Go to my daughter, I think Dr. Seuss would be a great best friend.

    Have a great holiday weekend. Happy Reading.

  9. 1. Anne of Green Gables – finally someone who would understand me and frolick through the wildflowers beside me

    2. Elizabeth Bennet – in our era she would be one sassy chick

    3. Charlotte A. Cavatica (Charlotte’s Web) – who doesn’t need a spider who takes care of them! Sal-u-tations

    4. Luna Lovegood – she definitely needs a BFF

    5. Ginny Weasley – she is pretty cool

    6. The Little Prince

    7. Anais Nin – worldly and feminist, what a great combo (I recognize she is a real person, but she also is a literary character)

    7. Hermione – but only after I loosened her up a bit

    8. Nancy Drew – even though she is a little too good at everything

    9. Benjamin the Donkey (Animal Farm) – I’m a cynic at heart too

  10. katieleigh

    Oh, I love this idea. Love it.

    Let’s see…here are mine:

    1. Anne Shirley – she’s so fun and creative
    2. Lena Kaligaris from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – we’re both the dreamy artistic type. (This is why we’d need her other friends, to shake us up a bit.)
    3. Betsy Ray from the Betsy-Tacy books. She’s so imaginative and fun.
    4. Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle. I love her wit and creativity, but she’s also a deep thinker.
    5. Oh, I love the girls in the BSC. I’d love to be friends with all of them.
    6. Vianne Rocher from Chocolat. She might be hard to be BFFs with because she’s always moving around – but I find her fascinating.
    7. Jo March. I love her.
    8. Any of the Harry Potter main characters – they are just awesome.

    I think I could be friends with Skeeter too – oh, there are so many. Great list!

  11. Becky

    Sara Crewe – from “A Little Princess,” the book, NOT the movie

    Trixie Belden – loved Nancy Drew, but Trixie had more angst (“Does Jim like me?” “Why can’t I be tall and willowy like Honey and Di?”)

    Melanie Hamilton Wilkes – from GWTW, a TRUE friend, regardless

    Sookie Stackhouse – your life might be put in danger, but sexy vampires and werewolves…. (brain candy is awesome!)

    Rose Campbell – from “Eight Cousins,” by Louisa May Alcott

    the list could go on and on…. LOVE THIS POST!

  12. I second Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture the Castle!
    And Laura Ingalls, of course!

  13. Another vote for Anne Shirley 🙂
    But I love the rest of your list, though Lisbeth scares the crap out of me!

  14. Ana

    great game! but most of mine are already taken
    I echo the Anne Shirley. And Skeeter.
    Ramona Quimby, Harriet the Spy.
    Jo March & Elizabeth Bennet.

    I’ll add in any number of sassy but warm women in Maeve Binchy books (love me some cheesy Irish chic-lit!)

  15. I think I might be the only person who finds Anne Shirley kind of annoying. Maybe because I didn’t read the books until I was 27.

  16. AmyK

    Fried Green Tomatoes and The Secret Life of Bees have vibrant women characters who take good care of each other and support each other. Them’s good people 🙂

  17. Harriet, my favorite girl! And I have to love Miss Bridget Jones, too. If only for her giant knicker incident 🙂

  18. I’m thinking Juliette from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

    Oh, and Nancy Drew, of course.

  19. How about Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?
    I always wanted to curl up with her on the fire escape with a pile of books from the library and some pink peppermints. I think she could use a friend too.

  20. Leigh

    I would have to add to the list: Ave Maria from Big Stone Gap, Elinor Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility, Cannie from Good in Bed, and any of the March sisters (of course).
    Great discussion question! Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. Isabel C.

    Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice because if you couldn’t talk to her about boy problems, who could you talk to?
    Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and more because she is so different than my other friends, fiercely loyal, and incredibly smart.
    Julia Flyte from Brideshead Rivisted ]because I would love to be invited to the house and to see the dinners and the hunts and what really went on with the characters, but also because she is strong, willful, and ultimately, cool.
    Shug Avery from The Color Purple because she is so empowering. She gives her friend the strength to stand up to a history of oppression and a marriage of abuse. A good friend is one that empowers you.

  22. Meg

    I would love Skeeter as a BFF, too! Her character was incredibly inspirational and multi-faceted, and I have a feeling we could talk a lot about writing, men and philosophy. Some of my favorite subjects.

    And Oskar as a best friend? I’m totally with you. Our pairing might look strange to the outside, but I’m willing to go with it! Jonathan Safran Foer is brilliant. I think I liked Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close even more than Everything Is Illuminated, though that’s a close one.

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