I am not a forgiver-and-forgetter. I hold grudges. I have a Rolodex of been-done-wrongs. This is relevant for this blog because most of my grudges are literary. I’m re(re-re-re)reading perhaps my favorite Madeleine L’Engle book, The Arm of the Starfish. L’Engle taught me so much as a young reader about being human, about being brave, about caring for the fall of the sparrow. I love how we meet her characters in different books, sometimes years later in their lives. We met Meg in A Wrinkle in Time — awkward, loving, easily frustrated, dumb in some ways but smart in others, especially in math. She’s interesting, faceted, lively. She appears in The Arm of the Starfish as an adult, and I’ve never forgiven L’Engle for what she did to her. Kept her barefoot and pregnant, essentially. She has seven children under 12 years old, spends her time darning clothes, and overseeing the household. Supposedly she “knows everything about her husband’s work and has helped him.” Big woop. Thanks for nothing, Madeleine. Birth a strong female character and then stick her with the dishes. I love the book for what it is, love L’Engle for what she’s written, but will never forgive her for Meg.
Other umbrages: I have never gotten over that Louisa May hooked up Laurie with tiresome Amy instead of Jo. Never.
I have never recovered from reading Ol’ Yeller.
Did we HAVE to have that rabid dog stumble down the street in To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper? Creeps me out to this day.
Couldn’t the Shire have been left alone, John?
I love Mole but I cannot imagine what came over him that he grabbed the oars from Ratty, losing that wonderful picnic basket. I’m mortified for him to this day, Kenneth.
At any rate, this rant is just to put all you authors on notice: Don’t mess with me.