Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

SpudCoverThe two best works of fiction I read recently both have 13-year old main characters. (Spud- John van der Ruit; Roepman – Jan van Tonder) Thirteen also happens to be the age as my oldest nephew and niece. (They are not twins – two of my brothers became new fathers in the same year.)

Spud is hilarious. Roepman is much more serious. But both books deal with boys growing up, with the good and bad of leaving childhood behind for manhood. The theme IS “Boy meets World”. I’ve read several books by that theme, and could even remember more than one TV series on that idea.

But – I cannot remember that I ever read or watched a good “Girl meets World” story.

Is it just my selective reading/ selective memory, or are there really no/ very 41841806_0_Img3few “Girl meets World” stories?

And why would there be so few of them? Is growing into a woman not seen as so exciting and bitter-sweet and big and mysterious and wonderful and multi-faceted as growing into a man?

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Comments on: "Where are the stories in which girls come of age?" (7)

  1. I think they are out there, though I’m not up on more current realistic teen literature. (I prefer fantasy–how about Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series?) But “Roll of Thunder, Here My Cry” comes to mind. There’s a less dramatic but strong theme in “Mama’s Bank Account.” And one could argue for “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a coming-of-age story, though Scout is still quite young, yet it still deals with that kind of theme.

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  2. The last few Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” books definitely are coming-of-age, girl-meets-world books. But it’s not surprising there are a lot fewer of these than boy-meets-world books, since the mentality that girls don’t “meet the world,” but stay home in the “women’s sphere” is long-standing, and in some ways still carries forward into today’s world.

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  3. I know they are out there. The Mother Daughter book club was a recent series I enjoyed. Anne of Green Gables, is old but certainly iconic. I read lots of coming of age books when I was younger. I would guess these books often fall into the young adult/teen market since girls that age may be more likely to read them. And certainly girls stories tend to have more “romance” in them. But to some degree that is reality, dare i say- most, young teenage girls have a lot of crushes and romantic notions. In fact as a teen there were a lot more “girl” stories available than “boy” stories. Though I think that has changed over the last 2 decades.

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  4. You are right that some books does have girls in them who start as children, but are adults by the end. But in the books I mentioned here, the boys gets to deal, first-hand or second-hand, with a variety of topics and issues and losses of innocence about what people are really like. The books also mentions sexuality, and wondering/ thinking/ talking about it, in a rather frank way.

    I have never seen girl growing up books with the same degree of frankness. We are not really told, in for example Anne of Green Gables, any of these things. (Not that I expect that of Anne of Green Gables – it seems another kind of book altogether.)

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  5. May I suggest The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman? It’s not coming of age per se but the lesson taught in this book, that the heroine can try and fail but giving up is the worst thing she can do, is a valuable book.

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  6. On Thanksgiving we watched an incredible girl-coming-of-age story. “Whispers of the Heart” by Hiruko Miyazaki. I think I’m spelling that right. He’s a world-famous producer of animated films such as “Spirited Away,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Ponyo,” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” He nearly always does stories about strong young women.

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