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3BoT Vol. 21: Three Books about Independence

Thursday, July 4, 2013

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3BoT Vol. 21: Three Books about Independence | Faith Permeating Life

The first Thursday of every month, I share three related book recommendations with you. You are invited to link up at the end of the post with three recommendations of your own! Click here for more info about Three Books on Thursday.

Happy Independence Day to all my readers in the United States! It seemed appropriate that the books I recommend for today have some relationship to this holiday, but I've already recommended three books every American should read. So instead I'm going to seize on the theme of independence, and share three novels that each feature a character striving to achieve greater independence.

One housekeeping note: I am out of town for the Fourth and don't know if I will have Internet access (I'm scheduling this ahead of time), so if you leave comments and don't get a reply for a few days, that's why!

Here are three books exploring the theme of independence:

#1: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
It's been a long time since I've read this book, but I remember Jane as a character very passionate about being an independent person -- something not easily achieved for a woman in the mid-1800s. She stands up for herself when others treat her badly, and she insists on continuing to work and support herself even when events in her life make this no longer necessary. In her relationships with men she makes it clear that she does not want to be dependent but wants to be an equal partner. Jane also has a strong sense of morality that guides her decision-making, and she refuses to compromise her values even when it might serve her own happiness. Even today, female characters are often not portrayed as strong actors in their own lives, so I love having an example from 1847 of a woman who stands for independence.

#2: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
Marcelo is a 17-year-old who has just finished his junior year at Patterson, the special school he loves where he takes classes on things like navigating social interactions, something that doesn't come easily to him. His father, however, insists that Marcelo must learn to function in "the real world," and brings Marcelo to work at his law firm for the summer, on the condition that Marcelo must try to follow the rules of the real world or else be forced to attend the "regular" high school for his senior year. For the first time, Marcelo's daily surroundings are not designed with someone like him in mind. And when he discovers things going on at the law firm that don't seem right to him, he has to make some difficult decisions and compromises. (Note: Don't read this as an audiobook -- I had a difficult time distinguishing when Marcelo was thinking and when he was talking.)

#3: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Thirteen-year-old Anna is seeking a different kind of independence -- she's suing her parents for medical emancipation so she will not be forced to donate a kidney to her older sister, Kate. Anna was born specifically so that her cord blood could be used to heal Kate from leukemia, but each time the cancer relapses she is expected to donate whatever might save Kate. The novel raises questions about love, dependence, and the heavy expectations we attach to family ties. There is Anna's lack of independence in that she cannot make medical decisions about her own body; Kate's dependence on Anna for her continued hope of survival; and contrasting this, their brother, Jesse, who is extremely independent to the point of being considered a juvenile delinquent. You will probably hate the ending (I heard it was changed for the movie, which I never saw), but I still think the book is worth reading.

What books that deal with independence are favorites of yours?

Click here for other 3BoT posts, or check out my Goodreads account for more in-depth reviews and recommendations.

Please note that this post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you click on a book cover and make any purchase at Amazon (including but not limited to the books suggested here), your purchase will be supporting Faith Permeating Life. Thanks!


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