First of all, happy international women’s day! Even though this is a nice occasion, you should celebrate being female every day of the year. Why? Well, for starters, we don’t have to experience beard stubble, recessive baldness and mustache. Just kidding, some women have those too. 🙂 Anyway, there are so many reasons being a woman is amazing, and you know it!
Now, if you don’t feel that amazing (sometimes many of us don’t), there are many powerful women out there, in our world and history, fictional or real, who can change your mind. And there’s no better way to honor this day than by reading a novel written by a powerful female like yourself. I know you thought of The Handmaid’s Tale straightaway, but there are more amazing novels worthy of your feminine attention. Read more about these amazing women:
Who: Grace Marks
What: Based on a true story of a young Irish servant, Grace Marks, this novel explores the circumstances in which a woman of a low position and heritage has found herself after being convicted of murdering her employer. Grace spends a total of 30 years in an asylum and a prison, enduring humiliation, torture and abuse. Whether she was truly guilty or not is on you to decide.
Who: Henrietta Lacks
What: A nonfiction account of a poor African American tobacco farmer, buried in her thirties in an unmarked grave. Then why do we know anything about her? Because her cells, today known as HeLa cells, were taken without her knowledge and consent and were then used in groundbreaking medical discoveries like developing the polio vaccine and important advances for in vitro fertilization and cloning. Until now she’s been virtually unknown, but finally her story is told.
Who: Esther Greenwood
What: Semi-autobiographical, this novel follows Esther’s descent into a mental breakdown. A talented and successful young woman battles with a severe depression, slowly sinking deeper day-by-day, losing grip on reality. Unfortunately, Sylvia Plath did not emerge victorious from her own battle, and The Bell Jar can shed a little light on what she was really going through.
What: Racial segregation, poverty, rape, loss, unwilling marriage. All this on the back of one single woman. This is the story of Celie, of her utterly difficult life and fate, and how she managed to take charge of it, and completely change it around. Her story is told through a series of letters written at first to God, and then to her loving sister Nettie. This novel is very harsh and hard to read, but definitely worth it.
Who: Ada Lovelace
What: The story of Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of the infamous poet Lord Byron. Ada was separated from her father by her controlling mother, in hopes that she will not follow the same scandalous path. Ada’s mother, an educated and religious woman, forbade all forms of imagination, instead rigorously educating Ada in mathematics and science. Years later, Ada wrote the first computer program – that is, an algorithm designed to be carried out by a machine, and made important contribution to modern computer science.
Who: Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March
What: Loosely based on Alcott’s early life, the tale of these iconic four sisters is one every young girl should read. Through their adventures and hardship we learn to appreciate the complexity and strength of friendship, life, family and love. War, disease, poverty and death plague this unfortunate family, but they show us that incredible strength can be found at the worst of times. Like it was with power rangers, every little girl had to be one of the March sisters, I was always Jo.
Have you read any of these novels and what do you think? Which other female-authored books do you think are a must-read? Feel free to leave a comment and happy reading!