Her Story: Ladies In Literature – The End (For Now)

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-four authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

It’s rare that I find myself at a loss for words. In a life spent celebrating them, devoted to them, and even defined by them, words have been the one, true constant in my life. Yet as I sat down to write this post, with a heart heavy at the conclusion of this series, yet bursting with gratitude and love for all that it has accomplished, that is precisely what happened.

With over 8,000 views over the course of June alone, the Her Story: Ladies In Literature series was warmly received, warmly embraced, and far more successful than I ever could have dreamt possible. But it is not this number itself that excites me, but rather the touching and personal feedback that I encountered through tweets, direct messages, and emails from readers and authors alike over the past thirty days. The twenty-five stories shared – stories of secrets and insecurity, addiction and anxiety, grief and faith, hope and triumph – inspired others to share theirs in turn. To feel heard. To feel understood. Many readers, myself included, saw themselves reflected in the posts shared this month and in the characters so long deemed ‘unlikeable’ for daring to show an ounce of humanity, a smidgen of failure, or an ounce of fallibility. From an adolescent spy to a middle-aged shopaholic, the characters discussed demonstrated that ‘strength’, a concept all-too-often strictly defined by the size of one’s weapon or the power of one’s physical might, can often be found in the most unlikely and unexpected of places.

To Becky, Alison, Lauren, Dahlia, Nicole, Charlotte, Shannon, Nisha, Ashley, Mary, Melanie, Meredith, Jennifer, Katie, Ami, Michelle, Kelly, Mackenzi, Helene, Heidi, Marcy, Stacey, Stefanie, Kathryn and Corey: Thank you. It was your voices, your courage, your truth and your participation that made all of this possible. There are no words strong enough to convey the immense level of respect and affection I have for each and every one of you. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourselves. Thank you for being you. I would strongly encourage my readers to pick up the work of these twenty-five clever, creative and inspiring authors at your first available opportunity. After all, you never know where you just might find your heroine.

Haven’t had a chance to read all (or any) of the Her Story: Ladies In Literature series yet? Never fear! Below, please find a list of all twenty-five posts for your perusal. Happy reading!

“I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have the body confidence I’d like to have. If you call me “fat,” you’ll hurt my feelings. A lot of women I admire find that word empowering. I’m not there yet.

If I’d grown up knowing Willowdean, I think I would be.”

Read the rest Here!

“I’m forever indebted to Matilda for showing me what intelligent, dedicated girls can do. And now that I write stories for a living, I get to move worlds with the powers of my mind every day, just like her.”

Read the rest Here!

“Every time she defeated a troll, stood up to a bully, started a campaign to save an elf, or followed her heart, she surprised herself. She didn’t go to Hogwarts knowing she’d defeat the ultimate evil. She went there to learn. She didn’t want to be a hero. She just was.”

Read the rest Here!

“Ruby Oliver went through teen girl BS, and asked for help, and talked about her feelings, and forced herself to be honest, and found her happy ending by being true to herself, her mind, and her heart. Oh, and she rocked fishnets like a boss.

If that’s not a damn strong girl, I don’t know what is.”

Read the rest Here!

“Life back then was physical and rough, and the frontier was an unforgiving place. Yet, through all of her adversity, Sarah remains strong. She stays true to herself and survives. Most importantly, she succeeds.”

Rest the rest Here!

“I think the reason I’m drawn to contemporary fiction, both as a reader and writer, is that it features realistic characters for whom everyday life is perplexing (or sometimes even harrowing) enough. The stakes aren’t always literally life-and-death, but for sensitive souls they can definitely feel that way.”

Read the rest Here!

“Secrets had shaped me and I bore their weight. And then I met Lily and felt an instant kinship to this literary sister. But Lily never ran from her family’s secrets. She ran toward them. Head on. Each step sure with grace and dignity.”

Read the rest Here!

“She sets an example that I try to follow to this day. Say what’s on your mind, love family, and never, ever, ever apologize for the person you are and were meant to be.”

Read the rest Here!

“Lennie was fierce, even when she felt weakest. Fierce in her mistakes. Fierce in her love. Fierce in her grief. And, eventually, fierce in her living.”

Read the rest Here!

“Let’s not forget that Harriet is also kind of a dick. Mostly, she keeps it to herself, but she can be very unkind, rigid, rude, and bratty. As a young reader, I was able to admire Harriet while acknowledging that she was flawed.

Like me. Like all of us.”

Read the rest Here!

“She was a bold thief, a cunning liar, and above all, a girl who owned every bit of her intelligence even when her peers dismissed her because of her lowly social status. When I read how Becky made fools of those people, I was smitten.”

Read the rest Here!

“Anne has a way of viewing the world that makes it shine a little brighter. She makes it seem full of hope and promise, even in the darkest of times…I could go to bed stressed and angry and heartbroken and wake up with a sense of resolve. With hope. Her optimism and wonder helped me get through one of the hardest periods of my life.”

Read the rest Here!

“It’s my hope that another ten-year-old girl meets Anastasia – with her messy hair and hidden freckles and large round glasses – and finds in her a confident, smart, and hilarious friend.”

Read the rest Here!

“She also taught me that my looks, my bank account, or even my brain wasn’t the most important part of me. She taught me that my heart was. That being kind and tenacious mean more than being smart.

Maybe that doesn’t resonate with some people, but it did with teen me.

And it still does.”

Read the rest Here!

“I felt sparks within my gut. Sparks that inspired the desire to move, to fight, to want more, to do more. And to be a “something” because I didn’t know I already was. When I think back on this time and this book, I am grateful. I am in awe.”

Read the rest Here!

“She’s scared. She’s anxious. She gets angry. She falls. But she also gets back up again, and again, and again. She ultimately realizes that she has to do what’s best for her. And that’s something I’m still learning — that, while loyalty is most definitely important, we also need to realize when it’s time to choose what’s best for us and our own lives.”

Read the rest Here!

“I found for the first time a reflection of so many things I could relate to: What it’s like to be in a friendship that doesn’t feel equal. To fall for someone you worry is too good for you. To obsess over every small thing someone says to you. To notice and feel trapped in the world a way no one else around you seems to…It was the first time I read a book that felt like it had been written by someone who understood particular, important parts of me.”

Read the rest Here!

“You can’t spot Strong Female Characters by the weapons they carry. But you can spot them by the way they fight with everything in them. Body and soul. They fight to survive. They fight for the things that are theirs. They fight for the people they love. They fight to atone for the things they do wrong. They fight to be better, and fight for what matters, and to be exactly who they are.”

Read the rest Here!

“She was the friend and role model I needed and I found her just when that need was the greatest. This book restored my faith in myself at a time it desperately needed restoring.”

Read the rest Here!

“And who am I? I am flawed and imperfect and sometimes unlikable. But like Lyra, I am myself. There is no one else I’d rather be.

Here’s to all the unlikable girls. May you never become perfect. May you always be yourself.”

Read the rest Here!

“In a story with slips of magic and cursed beauty, Petey was solid and self-possessed. She was the ugly one in town, yes, she’d heard that. She’d also heard them, under their breath, wanting her if they could have her. And she took all of this in, and she didn’t give herself to them. Not to the Rude boys. Not to the town. Not even to Finn, at first. She protected herself.”

Read the rest Here!

“She represented what I hoped my daughter would one day be. Someone who can carve her own path, and bravely face the consequences of her wrong choices with a desire to do better. Someone who isn’t afraid of life, but strives to live it to its fullest.”

Read the rest Here!

“So thank you for being the heroine of your story. The one you had no intention of sharing with the world. Because of it, you opened my eyes and inspired my soul. And for that, dear Anne, I thank you.”

Read the rest Here!

“I understood a girl who felt different from the kids around her. I totally got why Mary preferred her own company and didn’t mind spending hours alone. I knew Mary. I empathized with her, not despite but because of how unlikeable she was. And because I trusted her as a protagonist, I joined her on a dangerous journey I would’ve never had the courage to embark upon on my own.”

Read the rest Here!

“Evie is a hero because she gave me hope that I can access more compassion, that I can understand some part of something I’ve always struggled to understand. Darkness and light don’t always exist in perfect balance, but hope is there anyway. Tiny, dim, hidden, but there.

I’ve always had hope. But Evie helped me locate a part of myself I didn’t think I had. Forgiveness.”

Read the rest Here!

4 responses to “Her Story: Ladies In Literature – The End (For Now)”

  1. What a fantastic series, Jen! I was so proud to be a part of it with all of these amazing women! Thank you so much for hosting and for your vision of what this could be. I loved every single post.

  2. Frasier says:

    I adored everything about this series. I know how near and dear it is to your heart, but I would adore it anyway because ladies rock.
    Frasier recently posted…Mini Reviews (II)My Profile

  3. What a gorgeous series, Jen. I loved reading every single post and appreciated the differences in the heroines and the different periods in our lives when we met them. Also, you do such an amazing job at making your site and posts BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for having me as a part of this series. : )

  4. Holly J says:

    I LOVED this event so much and loved reading these posts. I hope you do it again! It was wonderful.
    Holly J recently posted…Blog Tour and Review: Faking Perfect by Rebecca PhillipsMy Profile

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