flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread
And some other stuff, clearly. ‘A Little Princess’ was one of my absolute favourite books as a kid, even with its painfully Victorian outlook, for fairly shallow reasons. I loved the story, don’t get me wrong, but mostly, it was that the heroine sounded like meeeeeee. Dark hair, big green eyes, skinny and gangly (pre-puberty), super imaginative and lost in a dream world, teased by the cool kids but with a small circle of awesome friends . . . When my aunt and uncle gave me a huge doll with blond hair and blue eyes like Sara’s, I naturally wanted to name her Emily. It was like those books you get at a mall kiosk where they insert your child’s name and picture into the story as the hero, but even better, because it already existed.
still, when I re read my old favourite, I didn’t choose too badly. The very different prin child cess culture of the book is really pretty great — the idea that what makes you like a princess is being kind, and brave, and generous, and being able to rise above your circumstances. It’s not about being pretty or rich; Sara does start and end rich, but the time in the attic in between is awfully rough, and she’s never more of a princess that when she gives away her rolls to a child even hungrier than her, or stands up to Miss Minchin. That’s a princess culture I can get behind.