By: Rachel Bertsche
Can you smell the sharpened pencils in the air? It’s the delicious scent of another school year underway. Kids are cracking open new books and diving into the likes of Great Expectations or The Things They Carried or Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.
Though my school days are behind me, as the leaves start to fall (at least here in Chicago) I get the itch for new reading lists. A fresh literary start.
On my fall syllabus? The Hunger Games, of course (I’m so behind) and Freedom (I like to know what all the fuss is about) and whatever my book club demands of me. Currently that’s The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf. I could go on, but thinking too much about all the to-be-read books on my shelves makes me anxious that I should stop blogging and start curling up in my book nook, pronto.
So to usher in the new school year, something light, bookish and BFFish (my personal blog, MWF Seeking BFF chronicles my search for a new, local best friend… preferably of the Babysitter’s Club variety).
I present to you the literary characters (aside from the members of the BSC) with whom I would most like to be best friends:
1) Boy, The Giving Tree. Some say he’s selfish and greedy, I say he’s lonely. He loves his tree. He could use a BFF.
2) Jo March, Little Women. Or maybe Beth. For one of my college applications, I had to name which fictional character I most identified with. I chose Jo. But I wonder if we could really be best friends? We might be too similar. As much as I love her, I could see us bumping heads. I might benefit more from Beth’s warm heart… You know, before her gutwrenching end.
3) Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter series. She’s awesome. Half badass, half girly. Not as goody-two-shoes as Hermione, but just as brave. I can totally picture us whispering together in the corner.
4) Alice Cullen, Twilight. Whimsical, fiercely loyal, and loves to play dress up. That she can see into the future doesn’t hurt.
5) Harriet the Spy/Nancy Drew. I really wanted to be a child detective back in the day. Sadly, there were very few (read: zero) mysteries that needed solving in my hometown. But I would still very much like to be the sleuthy sidekick.
6) Lisbeth Salander, Millennium Trilogy. I would not want to be on her bad side. But she is crazy protective of her friends, could dig up dirt on anyone at anytime, and would be one of those never-a-dull-moment BFFs.
7) Skeeter Phelan, The Help. She’s passionate, determined, sneaky when she has to be. I think we could be good writing buddies. Read each other’s work, give honest critiques, take breaks to discuss Hilly’s horribleness.
8 ) Oskar Schell, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I’m aware that most people think Jonathan Safran Foer’s first book, Everything is Illuminated, is his best. But I fell in love with Oskar, and this novel, early on. He’s eager and vulnerable and precocious… and he’s just really funny. I mean, he plays the tambourine and invents things like talking teakettles. Who wouldn’t want to be his best friend?
9) Bridget Jones, Bridget Jones’ Diary. I was on the fence about her at first. Isn’t she kind of a hot mess? But as my very wise coworker reminded me, “You need a friend to get drunk with. And who’s more f’ed up than you are.” Fair point.
Did I miss anyone? Who’d be your literary BFF?
Rachel Bertsche is a web producer and a journalist in Chicago. Her blog, MWF Seeking BFF, chronicles her search for a new best friend after moving to the Midwest for love.
Great list. I would pick Jo March, but I think I would have the same issue as you. Perhaps Beth might work better 🙂
Theresa Milstein says
I'm with you on #1 and #9.
I'd have to pick Harry Potter. I really liked Evie in Paranormalcy. Muriel Pritchett in Accidental Tourist would be entertaining.
Meh, give me Hermione over Ginny any day. Although she is a huge know it all. But My top HP pick is Cho. She is probably a better friend than Ron or Ginny or anyone in the book.
And as for Twilight, I wouldn't pick Alice, although she was devoted she also 'kidnapped' Bella for her 'own good' for a Porsche. I think Jessica is a better friend than her.
But my all time favorite is probably Leslie Burke from Bridge to Terebithia.
Ron Weasley or Samwise Gamgee. Both true and loyal friends.
Mind you, Skullduggery Pleasant would be a good friend to have around in a tight spot.
Puddleglum, from the Magicians's nephew (Chronicles of Narnia).
It's more fun than you might think to have a good natured pessimist friend. Plus he smoked a pipe with such style.
And Biff as my husband just reminded me, he's hilarious! Biff is from Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore!
Chuck H. says
Only one choice for me. Rufo from Heinlein's Glory Road. He's a fighter, gentleman's gentleman, witty conversationalist, barber, cook and he has that fantastic foldbox full of the really good stuff.
I'd go with Tinker Bell. She looks all cute and harmless, but she can kick butt. Plus, having such candor is an awesome BFF quality. I need someone to tell me that I'm a silly ass once in a while. Not being able to share clothes would be a bummer though.
Brooklyn Ann says
Louis de Pointe du Lac from Interview with a Vampire. The guy seriously needs a buddy to cheer him up. Same goes for Professor Snape from Harry Potter.
Um…and Jane Eyre… and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.
I want friends I can talk with for hours.
Samwise Gamgee, I totally get it. He'd go to the ends of the earth to help you out. And how come Molly Weasley gets no love? I think she'd be the ultimate shoulder to cry on, and I'd bet she'd make you a cup of tea while she helped you solve the problem that made you cry to begin with.
What a great way to look at the characters in books. There are lots of characters that I love but not many that I'd be BFF. Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice- she is passionate, loyal, has a great sense of humor you would never be bored.
And Mary Clare from Saint Training by Elizabeth Fixmer. Just new on the shelves. She is a passionate girl with a big heart.
Having just moved to Boston, I find myself in desperate need of a BFF too. If I could pick one out of a book it would be Cassandra from I Capture the Castle, because she's observant and insightful, but also likes to joke. I'd work a bit to make her get used to to having more fun, but I think we'd get along well!
What a fun article – your site looks fun, too.
I like the idea of thinking of characters in books – and who you would actually want in your own life.
I think Anne, from Anne of Green Gables. She would be a lovely friend.
Bridget Jones would be loads of fun.
I'd like to be friends with Dumbledore. Fascinating conversations, and he can do magic too. Not a bad think when you're in a scape to have a friend who can wave a wand and get you out of it.
Fun topic – thanks.
I recently moved to Arizona from England and am in desperate need of a BFF – one who understands British humour! So I'd have to pick Elizabeth Bennett… fantastic sense of humour and Alice Cullen would be a great shopping buddy!
Mitch Wallace says
Pennywise from Stephen King's IT.
Mo Fuzz says
I'd have to go with Justine from the book of the same name.
Bryan Russell (Ink) says
Hal Incandenza, from Infinite Jest. My tennis game would totally improve.
Chase March says
I agree with you on # 2 – Totally.
I think I'd like to add Holly Short and Atermis Fowl to my list too.
The Red Angel says
All the March girls have such defining characteristics, but I dont think I could be BFFs with any of them, sadly. 🙁 Beths tragic end tears me to pieces already and I would hate to have to go through her … end… in real life. Meg is too practical for me. Jo is a little too wild, plus she has a temper like me so we would probably fight a lot. xD And Amy is so divine and beautiful and talented I would envy her from left to right. D:
Hmm, I am surprised to realize this, but I think I'll have to pick Alice! 😮 She has a bubbly nature and always seems to be in a good mood (you know, whenever she's not killing bad guys or seeing unfortunate events in the future). I think she would be the most fun to hang out with. 😀
Kate Lacy says
My BFF would have to be Fever Develin of the Phillip DePoy northern Georgia Blue Mountain mysteries. He's caught between myth and ghostworlds and this old ordinary human existence. I know how he feels some of the time!
A.C. Tidwell says
Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. The guy just seems to enjoy the follies of others. He's be fun to people watch with in a mall somewhere. And Oscar de Leon from Oscar Wao would be great too.
The Frisky Virgin says
All of your choices are fantastic!
From Harry Potter, I'd have to say Luna Lovegood: She's fiercely loyal and she never lets anything or anyone make her feel bad for being who she is…I think there is a lot to be said for her outlook on life. 🙂
Noriko Nakada says
Once you finish The Hunger Games I'm sure you'll add Katniss Everdeen to your list.
Joshua, from Madeleine L'Engle's Arm of the Starfish. He was so awesome… I literally cried when he died!!
Anyway, I don't think Beth's death was gut-wrenching! I just read that part, and it was just a very slow death.
Terin Tashi Miller says
Jake Barnes. Wicked, wry and biting sense of humor. Yet, a definite under current of decency, and consideration for the truly sad, lonely, and tragic–not the pathetic.
And he knows all the best, cheapest alcohol in all the places, plays tennis rarely, and can keep his mouth shut. The perfect fly-fishing companion as well as drinking buddie and literary confidant.
Of course, he's also a journalist, like me–so we'd have much to comiserate over, and in similar ways…
Great post. I'm hoping my literary BFF isn't too old. ROFLMAO!
Thanks for posing this interesting question and sharing your thoughts in this guest post.
The female protagonist I most admired and enjoyed was Leslie from Bridge to T. I wish I'd had a BFF like Leslie when I was at school. She was sweet, kind, loyal, brave, adventurous, generous, fun, powerfully imaginative, talented, refined and thoughtful. And yet she was an outcast. I liked this, too, but in her case it didn't ring true as I think in reality a girl like this would be one of the most popular. I mean, what's not to like?
Tess Cox says
Elinor Dashwood–to be in her confidence would be an accomplishment
Eowyn–Shieldmaiden of Rohan: would love to fight beside her
Nancy Drew–my first female hero who inspired me to write as a young girl
Btw, I was assuming that BFF = Best Female Friend?
Jeannie Moon says
Elizabeth Bennett. I love her attitude.
Chase Holland says
Great idea for a post. My list…
1. Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove): My favorite literary character of all time. He'll make you laugh, quote some Latin, and then save your life.
2. Chili Palmer (Get Shorty): Think of all the cool people you'd meet just by hanging out with him. And if you get in a jam, he'll do all the talking and get you out of it.
3. Ron and Hermione (duh): More like family than best friends, and I mean that in a good way.
4. Billy Parham (The Crossing/Cities of the Plain): John Grady Cole gets all the attention, but Parham is a more sensitive soul.
BFF = Best Friend Forever…
Great guest blogging!
I'd pick Eliza Bennett, Scarlett O'Hara (never a dull moment), or… Jesus would be a very cool friend. The Bible's a book, right?
Of course, there would be agonizing days. But talk about a Best Friend FOREVER…
Caroline Starr Rose says
Francie from A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. I've always felt we'd get along!
I'm thinking 'Stella in Great Expectations. My BFFs always come with extreme challenges to overcome.
Wendy – I think BFF stands for "best friends forever". That's what I've heard, anyway. 🙂
My dream BFF is Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich's series – but I would be using her to get to hang out with Grandma Mazur.
Mystery Robin says
I always thought that Ellen Olenska and I would be great friends, and I think she needed a good friend. Also, Jay Gatsby – he really needed someone to tell him to move on already, Daisy wasn't good enough for him. And Elizabeth Bennett – I'd have loved her. 🙂 Although, I might have been a little jealous of Darcy, so that could have soured the friendship a little. I hope I'm a bigger person than that.
Maria Kenney says
Anne from Anne of Green Gables. She's all passion and no foresight. I would probably feel a bit dull next to her, though.
Tara Maya says
Raistlin from Dragonlance. Sure, he'd stab me in the back on his dark and twisted path to godhood, but he also does cool slight-of-hand magic tricks.
Flora MacIvor from Waverly (one of two sane characters in that whole book– but she managed to be so cool). Or Trillian, from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Or a BFF-triangle with Ismael and Queequeg (two of my favorite literary characters ever!) from Moby-Dick. Or Esperanza from The House on Mango Street.
I completely agree with your #3, Ginny Weasley. I would add:
1) Augustus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)
2) The Little Prince (The Little Prince)
Tricia J. O'Brien says
Fascinating question to ponder. I'm not sure I'd want to hang around a lot of characters I love in books, but the one that came to mind with this question is Thursday Next of the Eyre Affair series. Smart, tough, funny and she has the real inside scoop on all things literary. And, as her BFF, maybe she'd take me into all my favorite books.
D.G. Hudson says
Obi Wan Kenobi, Jedi master. He's especially good at getting people to do as he commands.
At first, Rachel, I thought you meant which 'literary' (as opposed to genre characters), but from your examples, I see you use the term in a general sense. Harry Potter and Twilight don't qualify for 'literary' status no matter how popular they may be.
Interesting post. It brought back the memory of having to read Great Expectations in school. That was the start of my reading by author — if I liked the voice, I'd read all I could find by that writer.
Kate Thompson says
Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet, because she's sassy in a time that it wasn't cool to be sassy. Stieg Larsson's Mikael Blomkvist, because I think we could write beautiful true crime together. Tolkein's Pippin, because I like fresh produce, to. Oh! And I can't forget Dan Brown's Robert Langdon, because I think he'd be a really excellent research buddy 🙂
Sorry about the delete. Fumble fingers. As to the question, Gandalf or Old Tom Bombadil 'cause they're cool. From Harry Potter, Snape 'cause I got a thing for bad boys who know their way around a cauldron.
Wild Runner says
Is it just me or does everyone who reads Twilight want to be BFFs with Alice? She's so much more interesting than pretty much any other character in that series.
Personally, I'm really into The Song of Ice and Fire right now, so I'd probably choose Arya Stark… in a few years. Or else Princess Julia/Fisher from Simon R. Green's Forest Kingdom world.
Or Princess Cimorene from Dealing with Dragons.
Joshua Peacock says
The Hobbits and I are buds.
So I wrote this book... says
Has anyone mentioned Enzo from Garth Stein's, The Art of Racing in the Rain? He's not only man's BFF, but he'd be mine too!
I'd have to say Alice Cullen, too. I just get the warm fuzzies all over when I think about Alice being my new literary BFF and all the fun, happy stuff we could do.