Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.
Friday, April 06, 2007
So, finally: Knitting. What I like about it is that it's about female friendship, and even female friendship at or after midlife. A rare topic, it seems to me. Sometimes I imagine rewriting novels like Middlemarch by emphasizing female friendship: could Dorothea have befriended Rosamund? (I'm afraid not, but what if?) Maybe Mary Garth could have linked the two, given them all common cause. Something I like in YA novels lately is the recognition of the importance of friendship, of peer relationships that aren't romantic or familial but nonetheless formative. But I don't think we really know the narrative arc of friendship. Unlike romance, it doesn't have quite the same tension, potential conflict, resolution. Unlike a parent-child relationship, it doesn't have a trajectory of separation and individuation. So a friendship novel may be one in which "nothing happens." It seems to me appropriate that a novel about a "women's craft" is also one about women's friendship; one thing I'm learning as I cruise the knit-blogosphere is how tightly connected many crafting communities are. Just read a few entries over at Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's blog if you don't believe me.