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I detested Pollyanna. I also choked on "What Katie Did" and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm." I can add the "Five little Peppers" and (much later) "The Tanglewoods Secret" (Patricia St. John) to the roll call along with many other evangelical preachy girly books.

 

The do-goodiness and fake virtue just killed me.

 

I read a whole heck of a lot of approved "Christian" reading when I was young. The Maxwells have almost certainly not read these books because fiction = bad in Maxhell. I had more freedom.

 

I still love to mine these old novels for small evidences of insurrection. Even the sanctimonious Katie goes to school (What Katie Did Next) and the Patsy books and Daddy-long-legs (Webster) have girls going to college. Anne goes to college too, but I see Anne of Green Gables as a positive revolutionary. Until she sadly dwindled into being Gilbert's wife in later books. Alcott also has a place here. She tried to break boundaries.

 

Laura Ingalls of "Little House" breaks all boundaries -- but we already have threads for her.

 

Please discuss and add to the roster other turn of the century or earlier "Girls" novels. Thanks.

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I hate Pollyanna. The whole "Glad Game" thing. I just wanted to smack the little brat. Sometimes it is okay to be upset in life. I also hate Rebecca but I can't actually remember whether I have read that all the way through. I know I have started it multiple times but I don't know if I actually finished it. Stupid Rebecca.

Also Elsie Dinsmore: fundie-favorite. I read the first one (the original version not the shiny new versions) and Elsie was an insufferable twit and her sitting on Papa's lap sobbing gets really old. Then there is the racism. :angry-banghead:

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OMG! I can't believe that I left Elsie Dinsmore of the above list. Oh, yes. She fits the profile.

Keep them coming ...

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OMG Elsie Dinsmore is the WORST! I read all...17, 20, 50000 of those books growing up and each one was more f'd up than the one before. Horrible. The level of tyranny and manipulation (husband-against-wife, not wife-against-husband) portrayed in the marriages in those books was just...terrifying. Not to mention rampant emotional and physical abuse portrayed as totally rational and even GODLY behavior.

:angry-banghead: :angry-banghead: :angry-banghead: :angry-banghead:

I hated Pollyanna too...but less because I didn't care enough either way. Wasn't there a sequel? I seem to remember liking that book better.

I loved Little Women, Little Men and Jo's Boys growing up. Rebecca never made much of an impression either way, though I remember reading a series of three extra-christian Rebecca books...

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Disney movies on demand had Pollyanna on and my oldest watched it for the first time. She hated it. I had forgotten how insufferable the little brat was.

The original Boxcar Children book was full of perpetually cheerful children who never did anything wrong. And of course they had a super rich grandfather. :roll:

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There were a number of sequels to Pollyanna; one was written by Eleanor Porter, but most of them by other authors. I must admit I liked the film Pollyanna, but mostly visually and for the performances by the supporting players. I loved Aunt Polly's house and wanted to live in a house like that, but then I love Victorian homes. Hayley Mills was good, but I didn't like her character. I preferred that rapscallion, Jimmy Bean.

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I never read the book, but I remember the old black and white movie with Haley Mills. Can't say that I hated her, but she was pretty annoying.

I loved the book Cheaper by the Dozen, the Mother was unusual for that time period, working alongside her husband, then taking over his business. I read as an adult that one of the children was mentally challenged, something they actively hid in the books and movies.

The only Box Car Children book I read as a child was the first one. About 15 years ago I found a whole set of reprinted Box Car Children titles and bought them to read to my son. I can remember one book where the children were sending a telegram to Grandfather, and trying to get the message across in 10 words, because 11 - 15 words was an additional charge. My son was about 6 at the time, and immediately piped up, why didn't they just call him. I had to explain how long distance calls were only used for emergencies and were extremely costly, if there was phone available to make the call. He was completely flabergasted by the whole telegram thing - pay by the word, waiting hours for it to be delivered and the fear that came with the arrival of a telegram, was it good news or bad?

I love reading these book for the glimpses of everyday life back then..

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The Disney version of Pollyana with Hayley Mills was in glorious Technicolor. If you saw a back-and-white version of Pollyanna, it must have been the 1920 silent version with Mary Pickford. Like I said, I loved the Disney movie visually.

ETA: There's a reference to Elsie Dinsmore in The Man Who Came to Dinner. Sheridan Whiteside mentions her somehow, but I forget the context exactly. It's not complementary, that's for sure.

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I've read Elsie and hated it; read Rebecca of Sunnybrook and it was tolerable. Lots of descriptions of household chores as I recall, a lot like Little House books. My son was all over the Boxcar Children last year (2nd grade) but read Junie B. Jones along with them. Now he's reading Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and all the Beverly Cleary I can find, so I don't guess the Boxcar kids did him much harm. (Junie B, on the other hand, resulted in a few discussions about the difference between things that kids do in books versus things you can do in your own real-life classroom.)

I don't think I ever read Pollyanna, but I did see the Hayley Mills version. It was a syrupy Disney movie.

What about the Mandie books? There are some newer things, too - the "Brio Girls" from Focus on the Family (I think).

Then there are a couple I saw in the donation box at the library last week. I need to find them and get a picture for posterity. Reprints of public-domain books, nothing I've ever heard of, but the whole back-of-the-book blurb was about how their ministry was reprinting these books that upheld the values of our nation, or some such drivel. It was something I could just picture a fundie-preacher reading out loud at a meeting, with appropriately-timed lectern thumping. I have got to find those again, it was impressive. Also irritating, because there was nothing about the plot or anything, no way to tell if this thing is worth buying or reading at all.

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I've read Elsie and hated it; read Rebecca of Sunnybrook and it was tolerable. Lots of descriptions of household chores as I recall, a lot like Little House books. My son was all over the Boxcar Children last year (2nd grade) but read Junie B. Jones along with them. Now he's reading Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and all the Beverly Cleary I can find, so I don't guess the Boxcar kids did him much harm. (Junie B, on the other hand, resulted in a few discussions about the difference between things that kids do in books versus things you can do in your own real-life classroom.)

I don't think I ever read Pollyanna, but I did see the Hayley Mills version. It was a syrupy Disney movie.

What about the Mandie books? There are some newer things, too - the "Brio Girls" from Focus on the Family (I think).

Then there are a couple I saw in the donation box at the library last week. I need to find them and get a picture for posterity. Reprints of public-domain books, nothing I've ever heard of, but the whole back-of-the-book blurb was about how their ministry was reprinting these books that upheld the values of our nation, or some such drivel. It was something I could just picture a fundie-preacher reading out loud at a meeting, with appropriately-timed lectern thumping. I have got to find those again, it was impressive. Also irritating, because there was nothing about the plot or anything, no way to tell if this thing is worth buying or reading at all.

Ahh the Mandie books. I spent a good chunk of my fundy childhood reading them. Mandie annoyed me. She seemed to be a spoiled brat who got away with everything, broke the rules constantly because she thought she could, and as I recall she seemed to run away a lot. Plus, the relationship her long-lost mother had with her bajillionaire uncle squicked me out.

And I am sorry, but the Uncle Ned character would have been assassinated in that time period. How many times did someone catch her sneaking out of her house or boarding school to meet an old Indian in the middle of the night?

Count me in as someone who hated the character of PollyAnna but loooooved that Victorian house. I always laughed when she first came to the house and the maid led her past room after beautifully decorated room, and then she placed Pollyanna in the attic room. I would have KILLED for an attic room in a house like that. I thought Pollyanna had lucked out that her aunt didn't want her around. :D

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I honestly liked What Katy Did - sure, it got a bit preachy, but I was always into the melodramatic illness stuff (see: Beth in Little Women), so it was totally my slice of cake. And Katy was interesting enough herself. But yeah, stuff like Elsie Dinsmore is more or less irredeemable.

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I didn't know Pollyanna was a book.

I liked both of the versions I saw as a kid, the Haley Mills one and the one that was reimagined in the 80s. The one in the 80s I think was a TV movie and started some of the women on the Cosby show. It was probably awful but I liked it a lot at the time.

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I've read Elsie and hated it; read Rebecca of Sunnybrook and it was tolerable. Lots of descriptions of household chores as I recall, a lot like Little House books. My son was all over the Boxcar Children last year (2nd grade) but read Junie B. Jones along with them. Now he's reading Big Nate, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and all the Beverly Cleary I can find so I don't guess the Boxcar kids did him much harm. (Junie B, on the other hand, resulted in a few discussions about the difference between things that kids do in books versus things you can do in your own real-life classroom.)

I don't think I ever read Pollyanna, but I did see the Hayley Mills version. It was a syrupy Disney movie.

What about the Mandie books? There are some newer things, too - the "Brio Girls" from Focus on the Family (I think).

Then there are a couple I saw in the donation box at the library last week. I need to find them and get a picture for posterity. Reprints of public-domain books, nothing I've ever heard of, but the whole back-of-the-book blurb was about how their ministry was reprinting these books that upheld the values of our nation, or some such drivel. It was something I could just picture a fundie-preacher reading out loud at a meeting, with appropriately-timed lectern thumping. I have got to find those again, it was impressive. Also irritating, because there was nothing about the plot or anything, no way to tell if this thing is worth buying or reading at all.

The Boxcar Children book 1 was just the worst. It terrified me as a kid, because all i could think was, they're out in the woods living in a boxcar, dirty, scarce food, tetanus danger, etc etc. But i do have a chipped blue fiesta cup that i keep around because of Benny's cup. And i was always curious about how they washed dishes with sand... the weirdest thing was how the series transferred from living in a boxcar and getting found by their grandpa at a foot race that the oldest brother won, to becoming a mystery series. Just, didn't make any sense.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were much better. And The Three Investigators was the absolute best lol. And YES Beverly Cleary. She wrote another Ramona book in 1999! I'd never read it and found it at the library last year. That was like discovering the Holy Grail. :lol: It's awesome. She's babysitting her little sister in one scene and Roberta gets her head stuck in the kitty climbing tower... so Ramona has to sing Roberta's favorite song to get her to stop crying so she can help her out. And her favorite song is Three Little Kittens (including the meows). I nearly died laughing.

Elsie Dinsmore, just no. I couldn't choke those down. i wanted to read the whole series on principle, but it was just so annoying. Especially how her dad thought playing the piano on Sunday was wrong. And the major creep factor of her marrying her dad's old friend. :shiver: Another super-moralistic series is the Uncle Arthur's bedtime stories. My mom read those to us growing up. First, the illustrations in our copy were in silhouette. Nothing ruins a good book like horrible illustrations... Then, the stories. One boy sassed his mom and ran off to play and came back to find out she had died and his last words to her were mean. wth? So traumatizing.

The Ralph Moody books (Little Britches, etc) are golden, and so are the Old Squire's Farm books. They're very similar to Little House - real life experiences of kids around the turn of the century, but basically from a boy's viewpoint.

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oh and the Beverly Cleary Ralph S. Mouse books and movies lol My 4 year old loves the Ralph movies from the early '80's, esp. the camp one. I'm so glad that she'll be free from propaganda like the Elsie and Pollyanna books. I might even let her read the Babysitters Club (which were a BIG NO-NO to us as preteens). :lol:

The A Mighty Girl website has great recommendations for all the new releases. amightygirl.com/books/fiction/action-adventure

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I've been stuck halfway through a copy of "stepping heavenward" for ages.

My copy was actually a Christmas gift to my great-grandmother from HER parents. Trust me when I say that I've read more than my share of Christian lit (and that I actually didn't hate Polyanna or REbecca of Sunnybrook farm--and I had to read through assignments from the WCTU book list [yes, they do still publish a list] every year growing up) but this? this is torture: http://www.amazon.com/Stepping-Heavenwa ... 1577483421

I mean, it's written as a 'diary' in parts, yet the writer can't mention her pregnancy for her 2nd or 3rd child until a month after the kid is born. WTF?

And it's 'oh look, the 16 year old is headstrong but is eventually in love with the old doctor who she marries, and isn't it perfect she decided not to marry the younger men? the girls who did came to ruin!'

And the 'heroine' marries into the Maxwells. REally, dear-old-dad/FIL is a humorless patiarch who believes happiness is an antethma to christianity, so dad and the SIL, who is also humorless and pushy, move in and make the heroine's life miserable for several years and she never mentions that this is a problem...until after one of her kids dies.

It's just awful. awful awful awful. Please, someone else read it too :lol:

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is that the one where she's preggo and the spinster sister of her hubby helps her clean out the closets and she throws a fit about it and later admits she was too immature to realize that was important before a baby came? ugh. That one struck me as some cheap writing from the turn of the century that should never have become a classic. Give me Christy any day over poorly written books like that. :lol:

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Stepping Heavenward is the one about impetuous Katy who ends up marrying her doctor, becomes a surrendered wife, loses a child, births several more in circumstances of extreme nobility and selflessness (i.e. she doesn't scream!), suffers in a saintly fashion while her horrible in-laws gloom and fuss, and ends up a saintly invalid unable to do anything much but lie and look sweet on a couch a la Cousin Helen in 'What Katy Did'.

Notable to me for being the book Meredith Hammer raved about before she married her Stephen-President-In-Waiting. Meredith was all over that book - the surrendered wife bit is just up her street. Also notable for some of the dialogue in it: (I paraphrase) Katy to husband, after he's neglected to look at her or speak to her much as he's so busy simultaneously doctoring and saving souls: 'You keep my heart so hungry . . .' and Husband 'I did not know I kept your heart hungry. Do you expect me to be telling you I love you and petting (non-sexual sense) you all the time? Isn't it enough that you know I love you because I married you?'

I often wonder about Meredith, and how true Katy's life seem to her now.

To be fair to Katy's husband, he does apologise in spades and do better, and he also tells Katy to stop making a martyr of herself sewing his shirts late into the night, but to send the sewing out to be done, so she has more energy to have fun with the children. He also apologises for inviting the horrible in-laws to live with them, and says he can't believe how miserable and insecure and passive his dad's become, and how bossy and unsympathetic his sister is. He does at least develop as a husband in the book and become a bit less of an obliviously academic prat.

Pollyanna - overdose of sugar. Saccharine melodrama and totally vomit-inducing.

Rebecca Rowena Randall - ditto - and as for the creepy Mr Alan Ladd, he's another weirdo, drooling over pre-pubescent girls.

Strangely, I never felt that way about Edward Travilla. He defended Elsie and stuck up for her with her horrible controlling father for years: in the books I think he comes across as a kind person. Also, he didn't pick her up as a wife as soon as she was old enough. Elsie did get away (to visit bloody tiresome Aunt Wealthy, honestly, Martha Finlay managed to create some characters you really love to hate!) and have an (abortive) love affair before she married him, so she had a bit of freedom first - and Travilla took, technically, spoiled goods when he took her, since the evil conniving lover-who-got-kicked-out stole some kisses. (Shock, horror, she disobeyed her headship!) Fundies don't like Travilla because he makes it clear he doesn't expect Elsie to obey him. Shame he dies early - clearly, because he's too good for Elsie, and she has to be returned to the nominal jurisdiction of her beastly father. I was sad when he died, because at least it meant Elsie, dim as she was, wasn't being perved over by her disgusting father. Don't forget also, that in one of the most famous English novels of all time - Jane Austen's Emma - there's a May/November romance at the heart of the book. George Knightley has known Emma literally since she was a baby: we learn that he actually held her as a baby, and he's been waiting since he was seventeen for her to grow up . . . presumably celibate all the time, although one wonders of course, whether there were any affairs during that time.

Other aspects of the Elsie books, the racism e.g. - well, I could go on for a long time there . . .

Katy in Susan Coolidge's book - I know it's a classic 'redeemed by illness story, but a least she had some fun, and wasn't too saintly. And I liked the rest of the family, and what they got up to. What Katy Did At School and What Katy Did Next are rather better, since she's not ill any more.

The Jean Webster books - read these, and seen the really appalling film of Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron doing a ballet routine. Dear Enemy - its advocacy of eugenics makes me feel slightly ill, and if I were Sally, I would steer well away from a man who had his first wife institutionalised for something that reads remarkably like PPD!

Anyone read these?

The 'Daisy' books by Elizabeth Wetherell, aka Susan/Anna Warner: Melbourne House, Daisy, Daisy in the field.

Queechy, Wych Hazel, Gold of Chickaree, The Wide Wide World by the same?

Ministering Children? The ultimate English evangelical 'pious deaths and prop up the class system by ensuring that only the deserving poor are looked after' book?

Anything by Charlotte Yonge: The Daisy Chain, the Pillars of the House, the Heir of Redclyffe (which Jo March is crying over in one scene in Little Women)?

I have a collection of about three hundred tract novels. They have to be read to be believed, some of them. The American ones by and large focus on the 'mature man falls for pure young maiden, and let's incidentally bash the English and drool over romantic Scotland' themes, and the English ones focus on how important it is to stay in that station in life to which God has been pleased to call you, and to respect your social superiors.

I also have a lot of the Pansy (Isabella Alden) and Grace Livingston Hill books.

Hmm - Pollyanna though - she's just too sweet.

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I love the Three Investigators!!!! I need to go find some to read again. They were some of my favorite books.

Mandie could get away with murder. No matter what she did she could just pray and everyone forgave her for breaking the rules.

I stopped reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm half-way through.

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Ugh Elsie Dinsmore I think they books do get slightly better. Horace is less of a bully. But she still promotes male authority. She felt it was disrespectful calling her husband by her first name. I havent gotten to the part where Travilla dies yet. I am on Elsie's Motherhood now. It's like the train wreck you cant stop watching. I feel Finley was trying to live a fantasy through Elsie like some of the other do good Christian writers. Really? How many people could relate to Elsie? She was filthy rich.

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Jeez I feel like I missed out on Elsie Dinsmore! I might have to take a speed reading course to read them though becuase I have such little leisure reading time and I'm a slow reader. Fascinated though.

I liked Little Women, Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables was my absolute fave.

Anyone ever read "Go Ask Alice"? That would be a good fundie read!!!

Edited to add I read the Flowes in the Attic series in Jr. High.

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Jeez I feel like I missed out on Elsie Dinsmore! I might have to take a speed reading course to read them though becuase I have such little leisure reading time and I'm a slow reader. Fascinated though.

I liked Little Women, Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables was my absolute fave.

Anyone ever read "Go Ask Alice"? That would be a good fundie read!!!

Edited to add I read the Flowes in the Attic series in Jr. High.

I read Go Ask Alice and one or two of the other books by the same woman. Their truthfulness seems a bit iffy.

Not fundie so much, but Lurlene McDaniel seems to have made a living writing books about kids with terminal illnesses, back in the late 80s to judge from the cover illustrations. I came across a big group of them last week. Kids with brain tumors, leukemia, cancers of all sorts, babies with AIDS, and more. Is it just me, or does it seem like those would have a limited audience? Or maybe it's just that I read one too many post-apocalyptic end-of-the-world books last fall, and need something cheerier for a few years.

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I read Go Ask Alice and one or two of the other books by the same woman. Their truthfulness seems a bit iffy.

Not fundie so much, but Lurlene McDaniel seems to have made a living writing books about kids with terminal illnesses, back in the late 80s to judge from the cover illustrations. I came across a big group of them last week. Kids with brain tumors, leukemia, cancers of all sorts, babies with AIDS, and more. Is it just me, or does it seem like those would have a limited audience? Or maybe it's just that I read one too many post-apocalyptic end-of-the-world books last fall, and need something cheerier for a few years.

Did they ever say Go Ask Alice was a real diary? I had assumed it was fiction. I never new there were other books. I was such an avid reader I missed those books too. My mom worked at a book store and when they had an overstock of books they would strip the covers (maybe to send to publishers) and she would bring shopping bags of books home. I also read some pretty smutty bodice rippers. Later she opened her own bookstore but it was short lived as we could not compete with some new company called Amazon or something like that. Imagine buying books without holding them in your hand and flipping through them! Who would of thought it. :P

Those Elsie books have good reviews by the way nothing less than four stars. I think I saw a free kindle edition on Amazon for those interested.

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Did they ever say Go Ask Alice was a real diary? I had assumed it was fiction. I never new there were other books. I was such an avid reader I missed those books too. My mom worked at a book store and when they had an overstock of books they would strip the covers (maybe to send to publishers) and she would bring shopping bags of books home. I also read some pretty smutty bodice rippers. Later she opened her own bookstore but it was short lived as we could not compete with some new company called Amazon or something like that. Imagine buying books without holding them in your hand and flipping through them! Who would of thought it. :P

Those Elsie books have good reviews by the way nothing less than four stars. I think I saw a free kindle edition on Amazon for those interested.

Go Ask Alice was originally released as "by Anonymous" and marketed as non-fiction, supposedly the diary of one of Beatrice Sparks' patients - as was at least one of her other books, Jay's Journal, which I think I also read. Snopes and Wikipedia both have articles about the deception. The few I read really felt like over-the-top After School Specials or something. :roll:

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I love the Three Investigators!!!! I need to go find some to read again. They were some of my favorite books.

Mandie could get away with murder. No matter what she did she could just pray and everyone forgave her for breaking the rules.

I stopped reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm half-way through.

Wasn't it cool how they were just average kids solving mysteries that could really happen? :D And that secret junkyard hideout, so awesome lol

We also grew up reading the Miriam's Journal books by Carrie Bender (amish) and the Christmas Carol Kauffman (mennonite) books. Some of CCK's were a little bit traumatic with girls who made "bad" choices (non-fundie) ending up in terrible situations. :roll:

Anne of Green Gables -- I'm so glad that my dd can enjoy those movies. They did an excellent job with those imo. Almost nothing fundie parents can judge, so a lot of our friends growing up loved them. We didn't get to see a lot of movies once our family became super strict, but those and the Jane Austen films were allowed. Somehow i guess our parents thought going to college was okay for girls in the 1900's. If the pro-girl messages of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women were put in novels with a modern culture setting fundie parents would ban them.

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I never read Elsie Dinsmore, but count me in the Pollyanna haters club, too.

I did read all the Mandie books, and I remember enjoying them. Then I grew up a little and got bored with them. Also loved Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and The Little Princess (and the Shirley Temple movie).

Anyone else read the Elizabeth Gale series? I was obsessed with those books, and identified so strongly with Libby. Actually, now that I think about it, my favorite books were those about girls who were orphans or motherless (also loved the original Nancy Drew series). As an adult, I realize that my relationship with my mother was so dysfunctional and terrifying that I felt motherless, so that's probably why I liked those characters so much.

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