Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For the Girls

In honor of International Women's Day I thought I would share a few novels that feature great female protagonists. Here are three of my favorites, in no particular order:

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

Naomi Nickel is not your average Mennonite. She is a 16-year old malcontent who consistently pushes the limits of her cult-like community. A community that would not seem out of place featured in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Her family is slowly disappearing one member at a time into the abyss of excommunication and Naomi is not sure she wants to join them. It would mean leaving her father behind. The whole thing is wonderfully quirky and more than a little sad.

Even Cowgirls get the Blues by Tom Robbins

Sissy Hankshaw has giant thumbs and she`s okay with that. For her it is a matter of fate. What would a girl with sausage sized thumbs be fated to do? Become the world's greatest hitchhiker, of course. Her highway odyssey eventually leads her to the Rubber Rose Ranch, a western-themed feminine hygiene spa that has been taken over by the all girl staff and converted to a "real" ranch for cowgirls. In typical Tom Robbins style, the pages are bursting with playful language and philosophical musings.

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neil

This is the coming of age story of a little girl named Baby. Sounds sweet and heartwarming, right? Only if your little black heart is warmed by things like heroine addiction and prostitution. Needless to say, this is not a story about a spoiled little girl who cries because she doesn't get a pony for her birthday. Baby is in and out of foster homes, is taken advantage of by drug dealers and eventually starts selling her body for heroine. It is the kind of story that we are always seeing the end results of on the evening news. Tragedy of the "how could this happen" variety. But there is redemption here as well and a character with more strength and determination than any macho male super soldier.

What would a hopeless guy like me do without all the wonderful women in my life? Where would any of us be without the contributions of intelligent, nurturing women? We would probably just sit around scratching ourselves and fighting over the best brand of nacho dip. Not the kind of world I want my daughter growing up in, that's for sure.


  1. The only book I had heard of is the Cowgirls one, which I haven't read. They all sound rather interesting and I'm thinking should be added to my TBR list. Happy International Women's Day! Cheers!

  2. Glad I could offer some suggestions Nadia. Happy reading!