More adventures, less boys.
March 11, 2010
I grew up loving the ‘adventure’ books by Willard Price. Partly because I read absolutely everything with no regard for quality, and also because, just as I inherited school stories from my Mother, Trixie Belden’s from my sister and antiquated encyclopedias from my Father; I hoarded and gloated over my brother’s ‘boy’ books too.
If you haven’t read them, they are amazing. Two brothers, one Dad, not a woman in sight. They catch wild animals for zoos, fight wicked hunters and outwit native practitioners of heathenish beliefs and witchcraft.
As a girl, living mostly in my beautiful and egocentric imagination, I was the younger sister of Hal and Roger, accompanying them on their adventures, riding elephants, and hiding when they inevitably got kidnapped by white hunters only to rescue them from being burned at the stake. I was the smart one, who could smell a villain miles off and had an instant rapport with the local people and animals.
While I now realise that Price’s novels were fiction, I also know that there is something seriously wrong with the world when I can’t think of a single novel or series with such flamboyant and exciting adventures for girls or women. We get domesticity, relationships, intellect if we’re lucky. Adventure stories for women often lie in deeply serious biographies (e.g. Joy Adamson), or in travel narratives which focus on interior dialog and development rather than experiences in novel environments.
It would bring me great joy to relax in my armchair with a glass of wine and a wild romp replete with snakes, heathens, tropical disease, danger, and a heroine to sort it all out. So if you are writing one, can you send it to me? I promise to read it.