While growing up, I found constant escapism in reading. Whether it was The Hunger Games series or my first time reading Pride and Prejudice, I believe there is simply nothing better than falling in love with words on a page. There have been so many authors throughout my life that have influenced me in so many ways, with many of them being exceptional women with so many empowering stories. So with that in mind, here are just a few female authors to celebrate this Women’s History Month (and all year long):
As previously mentioned, I will never forget my first time reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. There are few who compare to her writing style and ability to portray a main female character caught in a battle between conformity and individualism, pride and forgiveness. Elizabeth Bennet is a character who shaped my adolescence, only to be later joined by Jo March (continue reading for an explanation of obsession with the March sisters). Other characters who Austen created include Emma Woodhouse, Anne Elliot, and Catherine Morland, each of whom deal with their own internal struggles and external strifes with overcoming societal expectations of womanhood.
Louisa May Alcott
There are many people, like myself, who grew up reading Little Women with their female relatives. You understand the story (for the most part), get confused by the dialogue, and think “how could she refuse his proposal? I would NEVER!” (this is still a thought I get from time to time, but, I mean, don’t we all!!?). Yet, it wasn’t until later in my adolescence that I grew a newer, more mature appreciation for this beautiful story. It isn’t a story of “boy doesn’t get the girl” or “sisterly struggle”, but a story of love, loss, and more than anything else, individuality. Each sister paves their own way, a way in which they want to live, despite the push and pull from others around them. When each is told how to live their life, they appreciate the advice but continue on their own path. I am determined to believe that Alcott created these characters as an outlet for every little girl to see themselves in, and not necessarily in a static way. One day I could be a Meg or Beth, next day an Amy, but almost always I am a Jo.
I just recently familiarized myself with Tara Westover’s work, and believe me when I say that her writing is unlike any other I have read. It is so real, as if you feel that you are living life alongside her. Her memoir Educated describes her youth while growing up in her Mormon family. She explains her struggle with understanding the world around her, while being prohibited from attending school or engaging in activities outside of home. It is so empowering to read this story of a woman who fought against her current position and pursued an education despite all adversity. If you are looking for a read this month, I would highly, highly recommend this one!
Another female author I absolutely adore is Dolly Alderton. Her most popular memoir, Everything I Know About Love, is a book that I hold so close to my heart. Whether you are reading her words or listening through an audiobook, it feels as if Dolly is your closest relative giving you the most meaningful advice. Every word to each story is so purposeful and conveys her message in such a unique way. She discusses many important topics that young women face throughout their adolescent years, such as failed romance, body image, relationships with drugs and alcohol, social acceptance, and so much more. Everything I Know About Love is an audiobook that I basically have on repeat!