Friday, 15 July 2011

TOP FIVE: Here come the girls

I got the idea of

‘Top Five Girls In Books I Want to be Friends With'

from my (actual) friend Suzy. She also had a suggestion for the book boyfriends, which was

Arthur Dent from The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams ‘mainly because he wears his dressing gown so much, and I really like my dressing gown.’

Thanks Suzy!

Now I don’t know about you, but I make friends with people in my head.

This goes for real people who would love to be my friend if only we had actually met. One example is Louise Rennison. I know we would be great friends. Sadly, when I did get the chance to meet her, I had just run from Oxford station in order not to miss the talk she was giving at the old Ox Lit Fest and so had sweated into my own eyes, which meant I nearly ran straight into her in a half-blind frenzy. She said ‘Hi’ and I went ‘HELLO!!’

She was talking to the person behind me.

So my great friendship with Louise Rennison remains in the future. 

There are also lots of girls in books that I would like to be my friend.  

1. Georgia Nicolson from the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison.

Louise Rennison scores another number 1 in my lists, well done Louise! (PLEASE BE MY FRIEND).

In case you've been living in a hole for the last ten years without access to funny books and don't know Georgia, she is a vair funny diarist who has some fabby adventures with her Ace Gang and occasionally on the rack of Lurve. She has a best friend Jas (more like a dog than a friend), a mad sister who lobes her, and plenty of lurve interests (SG, Lurve God and Dave the laugh).  

Now, my hairy little pallies, if you aren't with me on this one then I will assume that you prefer the company of people like Nauseating P. Green (who likes pretending to be a dog) or that you prefer being all aloney on your owney. Either way, I am ignorez-vous-ing you. 

Georgia and I would have a marvey time inventing new Viking disco inferno dances, riding our pretend horses down the street (mine would be called Raven) and waiting for Sex Gods to pop up unexpectedly (oo err).

BFF rating: 9/10 – good for dancing and giving advice from the cakeshop of Lurve, but might ask if she can practice snogging on my leg (while I wear a false beard) because her boyfriend is away.

2. Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are the March sisters. Jo is the second oldest. She wants to be a writer and is a bit in lurve with the boy next door, Laurie.

I always wanted to be Jo, but as her friend I could have intervened in her life to the good of all concerned.

For example: I would have said ‘Jo, don’t leave your manuscript just lying around like that where it could be BURNT BY YOUR EVIL SISTER’.

And I would have said ‘Jo, you must marry Laurie, not the old professor man, because Laurie is very nice (and looks a bit like Christian Bale) and, if you don’t, he will marry the evil sister who BURNT YOUR MANUSCRIPT.’

Although I would have stopped Amy burning it in the first place so saying that wouldn’t make any sense. I would also have stopped Amy from spending the family’s money on LIMES, the idiot.


Jo and I, as well as being best friends, would become writers together and all live in a house with Laurie and his recently discovered identical twin brother, Christian.

This is me walking the grounds of the house while Jo and Laurie chat.

This is a family visit at Christmas.

BFF rating: 9/10 Would have lots of fun writing together and cutting off our hair to give to the poor. Loses one point for annoying sister.

3. Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mary Crawford is not the heroine of MP, that's Fanny Price (no laughing at the back)*. Mary is Fanny's rival for the heart of Edmund Bertram. Unlike Fanny, who's quiet, serious and worries herself about morals n' that, Mary's a bit immoral, a bit scandalous and goes around stirring things up around Mansfield Park with her equally scandalous brother, Henry. 

Now, Fanny is great, but Mary is just much more FUN. She gets involved in the theatricals (acting, so pretending to be someone you're not, and doing it where there are MEN around could be seen as a bit dodge in Austen-land), flirts with the boys and has the best lines, e.g.:

Certainly, my home at my uncle's brought me acquainted with a circle of admirals. Of Rears, and Vices, I saw enough. 

(Carry on Austen anyone?)
I have a sneaking feeling that Jane Austen wanted us to be Team Mary rather than Team Fanny as Jane herself had a rather good sense of humour (I have read all her letters - I am a loser. Jane would def be No. 1 in the list of 'Girls I would be friends with if they weren't dead'.)

BFF rating: 7/10 Good for innuendo making and probably knows where the best balls are (ooh err), but might seduce the man I’ve been in love with my whole life. Although, seeing that he is my cousin, maybe she’d be doing me a favour. 

* I might have laughed at the bit where it says ‘Oh mother, you haven’t seen your own dear Fanny in years’...

4. Magda from the Girls in Love books by Jacqueline Wilson

Ellie, Nadine and Magda make up the trio of bezzies in Jacqueline Wilson's Girls series. 
Nadine's a bit of an angsty goth, Magda's pretty, cool and likes the boys, Ellie's the more normal one who's a bit uncool.

I like to think I'm normal and a bit uncool and so would definitely follow Magda around. She'd be there for chats and trying to go underage clubbing, while Nadine was mooning around like a big moon over her latest 'intense' boyfriend.

It could be tricky being friends with Magda as everyone would fancy her and she might sort of kiss your boyfriend  in the fourth book. But she's really nice and funny and always sticks up for her friends. And her hamster died so you can't be that mean to her.

I attempted to befriend Magda's creator, the great Dame Jackie, at Hay Festival this year. I waited to get a book signed (for a competition winner, not myself, as I mentioned loudly in the queue so I wasn't mistaken for a child. Which has happened.) I thought I'd say something like 'Hello, Jacqueline. I just wanted to say thank you for all you've done. I grew up reading your books. And the talk just now, well it was great. Really great. Goodbye.' 

Unfortunately while she was signing, I forgot to speak. So all I had time to do was turn around as I was leaving and shout 'THANKYOUITWASBYE'. 

BFF rating: 7/10
Lovely girl, lots of fun. Tell her if she kisses your boyfriend you'll murder her hamster. 

5. The Stephensons in the (Un)ladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson series by Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis's Kat Stephenson series is about the Stephenson sisters, who live in Regency England (that's already enough for me, but it gets even better...) and can do MAGIC.

The sisters are Kat, Angeline and Elissa. Kat is 12 and goes around doing unladylike things (not Austen-style unladylike things like 'walking through a field', but things like punching a snobby woman on the nose). She is a Guardian and is being taught to use her magical powers to guard Society, but her time is often taken up with the more pressing matter of sorting out her sisters' love lives. 

Angeline is 14, a witch, and probably my favourite. She casts love spells, has a tendency to be violent towards her sisters, and gets involved with rakish men. Elissa is 16 and very nice and proper (a bit of a Fanny or a Jane Bennet).

I basically want to be their friend because it would be like being like going to Hogwarts in a bonnet.

BFF rating: 10/10 Did you not hear me? HOGWARTS IN A BONNET

So, who would you like to be friends with? Do tell me. Or you can just keep telling me about men you fancy. That's fun too!


  1. Love this Liz Bankes. Amazingness. My choice would be Dorkus and Emma from 'Lark Rise to Candleford' as they seem quite wise. And also Fanny from 'Under the Greenwood Tree' although she might be a bit too boring and nice.

  2. Although she is called 'Fanny' so....

  3. Haha, 'Hogwarts in a Bonnet!' Will have to check it out.
    Also I love the picture of you casually strolling through the woods while Jo & Laurie have the all important chat. I am so with you. Amy was a she-devil! I held a grudge against her for the longest time (probably still resent her) and thought Jo forgave her way too quickly. Love your blog! Found it through Ari/Bonnie :)