I will be the first to admit that I read the Twilight series when it came out when I was in high school, and quite honestly, I regret it. The series has a poor plot, no strong characters, and the writing was horrifying. The same can be said for the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. I could barely make it to page five in the first Grey book and I wanted to vomit. These trilogy books lack in strong female characters for the female readers to look up to.
Now, when I have a daughter, she will be encouraged to read and be encouraged to let her imagination run wild just like my parents did with me. She will be encouraged to read anything she wants — and I know some of you will automatically say, “reading Twilight will be better than reading nothing at all”. And to a point, I would agree with you. However, before my own daughter goes to a second hand bookstore and finds a beaten up copy way in the back and forgotten (that is the future I see for both of these trilogy books), I would hope that she has been introduced to strong, relatable, female characters before then.
The following list is not complete, because it is an ever growing list of my favorites. These strong, relatable, everyday ordinary ladies are everything and everyone — mothers, daughters, teachers, students, warriors, scholars, princesses, Queens, sorcerers, gypsies, and adventurers. They are perfectly flawed and at the same time they are perfect. Keep in mind, some of these stories have happy endings, and some of them have sad endings. Not all stories are created alike.
1. Nory Ryan from Nory Ryan’s Song
2. Anne from Persuasion
3. Lucrezia Borgia from The Vatican’s Daughter (also a real person)
4. Morgan Le Fay from Mists of Avalon
5. Christine Bolz from The Plum Tree
6. Esther Greenwood from The Bell Jar
7. Janie May Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God
8. Ultima from Bless Me, Ultima
9. Lucie Manette from A Tale of Two Cities
10. Emma from The Forever Queen
11. Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
12. Antigone from Antigone
13. Maria from For Whom the Bell Tolls
14. Natasha from War and Peace
15. Calypso, Penelope, and Athena from Odysessy
16. Helen, Athena, Thetis from The Iilad
17. Cordelia from King Lear
18. Jane from Jane Eyre
19. Dorothea Brooke from Middlemarch
20. Sonia (Sophia) from Crime and Punishment
21. Moira, Offred, Serena Joy from The Handmaid’s Tale
22. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables
23. Celie from The Color Purple
24. Marguerite Johnson from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
This is just a short list of strong, quirky female characters that any woman at any age can relate to. Keep in mind, this list goes on for miles. I had to pick the top twenty four that I thought were not only my favorite, but also that I could relate to on different levels. Check out each story, and see the strength and the trials that each of these characters must face. You will certainly find yourself relating to them more than you would ever have thought.