When I was a child I spent a lot of time alone. My parents were farmers and their days were spent either tending to the land or at their farm market 12 hours a day. Then, later, once my father became very ill I didn’t see them very often at all. I was either by myself on the farm or sitting in waiting rooms. Some days it seemed that’s all I was ever doing – waiting. So I turned to books as an escape from the desolate landscapes I so regularly found myself in.
I found power within pages of female voices that spoke to me, that made the world seem a little bit more human, that enabled me to recognize the voice within myself that was often diluted in a world of adults that were far too busy to notice a young girl growing up. While some of these books didn’t reach me until later when I was older I imagine many of these female writers would have impacted the girl I once was. The narratives of these women’s lives are beautiful, dark, and courageous. I hope this list finds other young, sad, literary girls wherever they are and enables them to find their own voice amidst the pages.
1. Chronology of Water – Lidia Yuknavitch
“You see it is important to understand how damaged people don’t always know how to say yes, or to choose the big thing, even when it is right in front of them. It’s a shame we carry. The shame of wanting something good. The shame of feeling something good. The shame of not believing we deserve to stand in the same room in the same way as all those we admire. Big red As on our chests.”
Chuck Palahniuk describes Lidia’s writing style as “straight no chaser” and there’s no better example than in her heartbreaking, uncomfortably raw memoir told in a series of vignettes. Her story touches on subjects of abuse, alcoholism, drug use, and all the dark corners of our lives we so often try to hide from. The prose is in your face, unflinching, and lingers in your head long after you’ve finished the book.