When my children were young, I walked them to and from school every day. Our mornings were like those idyllic ones you’ve seen on television: a hearty, healthy breakfast homecooked by moi; walking the short path through the woods while observing nature; me waving cheerily as my sons ran off to their classrooms where their little minds were stimulated and challenged; no one every forgetting a book report, diorama, or &^%! field trip form on the kitchen table. (Hush. That’s how I’m choosing to remember it.)
About once a week, my older son—a social butterfly like his mother—would run out at the end of the day and happily announce, “I made a new friend today!” His standards of friendship—also like his mother’s—were low. I don’t mean this in a bad way. If the lunch lady gave him an extra scoop of spaghetti, she was his friend. A six-grader saying, “Hey, kid,” meant they were blood brothers. New classmate—potential pal. Kid on the next swing—compadre! Some were fleeting acquaintances and others remain friends to this day. His outlook, also like mine, was to embrace each new friend as one with the potential for a long and productive relationship.
This past weekend, at the Crime Bake conference, I made a lot of new friends and hope they will all turn into long and productive relationships.
I had dinner with a delightful array of Potential Friends for Life. One PFL and I discussed books. (I know, duh, it was a mystery writer’s conference, of course we discussed books.) But this particular PFL and I talked about pleasure reading, and the non-mystery authors we both loved. At some point, she said, “Email me a reading list” which set my PFL meter pinging towards Sure Thing.
A little later, I began to talk about Iconic Child Narrators. I say “began to talk” because I ordered a Mimosa, and the band began to play, and the next thing you know, I was the second person in conga line. We never got back to discussing Iconic Child Narrators. To make up for the topic interruptus and because the subject is close to my heart, I decided to compile a short book list of my favorites and share it here. Soon—like, next week—I will devote a post to why the Iconic Child Narrator is important in literature.
That gives y’all a week to read all of these. And, yes, if you notice, they are all Southern.
Scout, from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
Ellen Foster, from Kaye Gibbons’ Ellen Foster
Will Tweedy, from Olive Ann Burns’ Cold Sassy Tree
Clover, from Doris Saunders’ Clover
Porter Osborne, Jr., from Ferrol Sams’ Run with the Horsemen
Frankie, from Carson McCuller’s Member of the Wedding
Jess, from Fred Chappelle’s I Am One of You Forever
Daisy Fay, from Fannie Flagg’s Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man
Buddy, from Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory
Who am I missing? I don’t mind a Yankee Iconic Child Narrator invading the list. I’ve just spent a wonderful weekend in Boston, with writers from everywhere. Good storytelling knows no boundaries.
Tell me about your favorites.