Friday, February 26, 2010

Women in Bellairs' Fiction

What's Kate reading? Bellairs, again, as this prolific reader and blogger (who has reviewed more than a few Bellairs titles) has a new commentary on the female characters in John’s novels.

What's interesting to me is that between the three series Bellairs wrote - including now the Johnny Dixon books - there is an immense range of women from the practically nonexistent (to my knowledge, the only major female character in the Johnny Dixon books is his grandmother) through the controlled (Miss Ells [sic] is even "possessed" by an evil magician in Weatherend, though to be fair both Anthony and Emerson are as well, Emerson with far more disastrous results) into the powerful (Mrs Zimmerman and, to some degree, Rose Rita.)

Compare this to Bellairs's later series featuring Johnny Dixon. Johnny's best friends are a cranky and cantankerous old professor, who serves in the same manner as Miss Ells, and the tough and boisterous Fergie, who acts in the same capacity as Rose Rita - though male. To my knowledge, Fergie never goes through the same misgivings and worries about growing up, though frankly I've never read any of Bellairs's books that were as intensely personal as The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring.

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