Her Story: Ladies In Literature 2018 with Laura Pohl

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as twenty-six authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!


About Laura Pohl

Laura Pohl is a Brazilian YA author. She likes writing messages in caps lock, quoting Hamilton and obsessing about Star Wars. When not taking pictures of her dog, she can be found curled up with a fantasy or science-fiction book. She makes her home in São Paulo, where she graduated in Literature. She is the author of The Last 8 (Sourcebooks, 2019). When not writing, she likes reading science fiction and fantasy, and enjoys deep discussions about conspiracy theories and alien life.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookTumblrGoodreads

I was born a girl who loved monsters.

It’s an odd thing, to love a monster. They are cruel, terrible things which have no reason and no regret, but I loved them all the same. When reading stories, I liked the monsters best. They were the opposite of heroes — flawed and broken and afraid, and for me, it was easy to understand why they were the way they were.

I grew up reading stories about men who were flawed.

They were allowed to make mistakes, to fail and rise yet again. When they were heroes, they triumphed. When they were villains, they had another chance. They were allowed to navigate a grey world that I never got to see. And more often than not, they defeated the monsters.

When I got older, I understood why I loved the monsters.

Monsters are inadequate. They are not like heroes and villains, they were something else. They do not get classified, they do not fit, they do not belong. Monsters are fear and madness, they are horror all in itself. They don’t always have teeth and claws, but they will always be feared. They take what is not given to them, and they do not apologize for it.

When I looked in the mirror, I used to see a monster.

Monsters are opposite to perfection. They’re warnings of what you should never become. The world taught me that being a woman was being kind and loving and comprehensive. It meant understanding and it meant forgiving. The women I saw in the pages were not like the heroes — they were perfect, living in a world of black and white.

I was not like the women in my pages.

The first time I read about Amy Dunne in Gone Girl, I was expecting to see the other women. There was nothing wrong with them, but they were not my reflections. They were not my mirrors. They were something other, a perfection that wasn’t attainable. A pedestal only achieved through hard penance which I do not possess. I cannot be counted among their numbers because I could not be like them. I am not perfect.

Amy Dunne was a monster.

She was petty, and bitter, and vengeful. She was intelligent and smart and ambitious. She didn’t back down from what she wanted, and she was never afraid. She was wrong, yes, but she was also right, and you could admire her but also fear her. Amy paid her dues, and she got what she came for. She was what every other woman in the pages was not, and she was not reprimanded for it. She was what she was. An unapologetic monster.

Amy reminded me of why I loved monsters.

They were not perfect, and they were not right. They were only what nature made them — a force to be reckoned with. Amy was flawed and strong and weak, she was something I’d never seen before. She was tired of everyone imposing on what she should become. Amy saw the women in the pages and she refused them. She reminded me that women could be terrible and that they could be monsters. And if they could be monsters, they could be anything at all. Just like my heroes. Just like my villains.

Amy Dunne is a monster, a hero, a mirror. A woman.

I feared her for what she meant for me. Reflecting yourself in a monster means that you become monstrous. But Amy allowed me to learn — what we fear is a part of who we are. Amy let me know that there is something great about monsters, and that they do not need to fit inside the cages designed for them. Amy saw the cages, and she refused to fit in them. She taught me that flawed means human, and that is fine. She gave me freedom to be the worst version of myself, only so that I could achieve the best. Women are not limited to only a few emotions. We are forces of nature, too.

I’m not afraid of monsters because they freed me.

I have learned to look at them and see the flaws and love them for it. I can see their difference and otherness, and I embrace it. I began loving them again, not as something to be vanquished by heroes, but as a part of myself. That it wasn’t always about good or bad, and that I too, was allowed in a world full of grey that often demanded my teeth and my claws, and that I shouldn’t be afraid to use them. The monsters did not care what others had to say. They simply were.

Amy taught me about being a monster so I would be a woman, and I love her for it.

Title The Last 8
Author Laura Pohl
Pages 384 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Science Fiction
Publication Date March 5th, 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

A high-stakes survival story about eight teenagers who outlive an alien attack, perfect for fans of The 5th Wave.

Clover Martinez has always been a survivor, which is the only reason she isn’t among the dead when aliens invade and destroy Earth as she knows it.

When Clover hears an inexplicable radio message, she’s shocked to learn there are other survivors — and that they’re all at the former Area 51. When she arrives, she’s greeted by a band of misfits who call themselves The Last Teenagers on Earth.

Only they aren’t the ragtag group of heroes Clover was expecting. The group seems more interested in hiding than fighting back, and Clover starts to wonder if she was better off alone. But then she finds a hidden spaceship, and she doesn’t know what to believe…or who to trust.

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