I loved Natasha Farrant’s guest blog about families last week (I loved her book After Iris, too!), and it made me think about how obsessed I am with families in fiction, both as a writer and as a reader. My Kat Stephenson adventures are all about Kat and her squabbling, loving family, and my latest WIP is tentatively titled Family Magic, which…well, you can pretty much take it from there, can’t you? 😉 Even my last WIP (currently out on submission), which was supposed to be my family-free book, turned out to be all about created families, after all.
But I can’t help it. As a reader, I’m irresistibly drawn to family books. And I wondered: which are your favourites? Here are some of mine:
- Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes: Oh, how I love the Fossil family! I could endlessly re-read Pauline, Petrova and Posy’s adventures, trials and tribulations as they fight to find their places in the world of theatre, aviation, ballet…and their own family.
- Hilary McKay’s Saffy’s Angel (and all her other Casson family books): This book is one of the biggest reasons why I write for 9-12 year-olds now. On my very first reading, I fell head-over-heels in love with it the wonderfully quirky, jumbled, semi-dysfunctional but totally loving Casson family, in all their eccentric splendour. I can’t count how many times I’ve re-read it.
- Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women: This is the only one on the list that I discovered as a kid…but oh, did I fall in life-long love with it. I love all four sisters – particularly headstrong, angry, stubborn writer Jo. Oh, did I want to be Jo, as a kid! As an adult, I can see the didacticism in some of its writing (which was entirely typical of 19th-century children’s books) – but I just can’t care. I still adore the whole March family, with their big dreams, their terrible fights (oh, that awful moment when Amy actually burns Jo’s manuscript!!!), and their deep, abiding loyalty to each other.
- Susie Day’s Pea’s Book of Best Friends (and Books 2 and 3 in the series, too – I just finished reading Pea’s Book of Birthdays, which might be my very favourite in the series): Oh, do I love Pea and her sisters and their wonderful, dizzy mum: “Marina Cove”, newly-bestselling author of the fabulous Mermaid Girls novels. (If only Susie Day would actually write the Mermaid Girls novels, too! I want to READ them!) Pea and her sisters struggle to find their place in a new city, alternately helped and hindered by their mum’s new fame, and with a succession of fascinating au pairs to guide their way through their very funny (and occasionally heartbreaking) adventures. Long may this series continue!
What about you guys? Which fictional families are your favourites?