Tag Archives: eleanor & park

Lady Links, This is a Woman

Lady Links 11.15

(Reusing an old image here because I'm out of time. Also because CAKE.)

(Reusing an old image here because I’m out of time. Also because CAKE.)

~TIAW on Tumblr and Pinterest.
~And you know? You may want to check out my personal Tumblr blog, too, today. There’s some interesting stuff that may not make it over to TIAW for one reason or another. Also I am adorable and you need more of me in your life.
~Sometimes I think Rainbow lives in my brain.
~I hate stretching. I’ve NEVER been flexible. In second grade I got in trouble for not sitting cross-legged because it was really uncomfortable for me. I must have come out of the womb and refused to ever do yoga again or something. And yet, I’ve been feeling very stiff lately. Probably because I am about to turn 80. So I happened across this and I think I’m going to start some stretching and see if I can’t start feeling a little more 35 years old.
~What no one tells you about losing lots of weight. Your skin doesn’t necessarily snap back. But no matter what? We are all beautiful.

Giveaway!, This is a Woman

And the winner is…

Wow. Sorry I fell off the face of the planet for a few days. It’s just that last week we drove up to LA and that night Sunset Boulevard tried to pick a fight with my bumper (but my bumper was all nah, man, I’m a lover, not a fighter and we left with only a metaphorical black eye) and then I didn’t sleep that night (because that is how my brain rolls these days) and then the next day we headed home from Sonja’s house but first stopped at a local mechanic who we found on the Car Talk website who fixed my bumper with no wait and for free because they are awesome, and then we had to find a gas station and then we drove home but halfway home my tire pressure light came on so we stopped at ANOTHER mechanic who fixed or maybe “fixed” the issue but then the light kept coming on the whole way home and I read in my car’s manual but it just said to go to a Toyota dealership (way to be helpful, Toyota) and no one could really tell me if I was safe or if we were all going to die a fiery death because my tires all exploded at once or something so we basically just hobbled home taking a break every half hour or so and it took SIX HOURS to drive what normally takes two. So we had damn potatoes for dinner. BUT THE WEEK DIDN’T END THERE. BECAUSE COMIC CON. But I’ve already traumatized you with that massive run-on sentence so I’ll save my second Comic Con post for later. (Not that my Comic Con post will traumatize you. It won’t. I’m pretty sure.) Just know that I’m only now beginning to become human again and I apologize for the delay.

So. The winner is…

Elliott was all, "Why does she have to sign it if she MADE it?"

Elliott was all, “Why does she have to sign it if she MADE it?”

Ais, I’m gonna shoot you an email RIGHT NOW and ask for your mailing address so that I can send you the book.

Thank you to everyone who participated! I am going to look up all your suggestions for female characters and compile them into a post here to share with everyone. Just. You know. In a few days.

Review, This is a Woman

Brave, A Queen’s Story

In my giveaway (that ends today! go enter now!) of a signed copy of Eleanor & Park, I asked what your favorite unconventionally awesome female characters were. I am loving the answers! Some of them I am nodding along with and others I’m writing down to learn more about. Haley brought up Merida from Pixar’s Brave, and so, in honor wild red hair I thought I’d repost the review I’d wrote last summer. This was originally posted over at This is a Woman shortly after the movie was released, but not shortly enough that I actually remembered all the details. (Thank god I’m cute.)

PS. This week has been not only busy but also cumbersome with too much Oedipus Rex and multipletrips to the mechanic. I will try to get to posting some Lady Links for you, but I just can’t promise it. I’m sorry!


Last weekend I took my kids to the drive in to go see Brave. It was fabulous. If I’d been smart, I’d have taken notes. But as it turns out, it didn’t even occur to me that I should write about it here until this past weekend. So we’ll have to make due with my memory of having seen it only once over a week ago in a venue that is somewhat distracting (my kids seem to be allergic to each other and break out in the MOM, S/HE TOUCHED ME’s if they come within six inches of each other. Which. They do. When they’re sitting in the back of a small station wagon).


The movie is, as you are no doubt aware, the story of a spirited young girl with amazing hair, arguably the best accent on the planet, and amazeballs skillz in archery. She’s strong-willed in all the best ways and takes a stand against centuries-old tradition when it doesn’t suit her and what is best for her own life and personal growth.

Only. That’s not what this movie is about at all.

Well, OK. It is. But the story is more about Merida’s mother, Elinor.

It’s about a woman who grew up and had no qualms with the status quo. She was perfectly happy to grow up and be the queen she was expected to be, to live the life that was planned for her. She had zero desire to ever put her weapons on the table. In fact, she had zero desire even to own weapons of her own at all. She was not in touch with her inner Wild Woman in any sense.

And then she had a daughter who was the absolute embodiment of Wild Woman and who was physically, mentally, and spiritually incapable of being anything else. (We all need to have such people in our lives, whether not not we spring them from our loins.)

The story begins with various arguments between Elinor and Merida over what Merida should and shouldn’t be doing. After begging and begging her mother to hear her, Merida ultimately loses her shit and rides off into the night where she stumbles into a magic circle of stones, not unlike Stonehenge. Her horse refuses to enter the circle, but Merida is in her element here. On the other side of the stones, a path lit by will-o’-the-wisps appears, and she follows it. According to Wikipedia, a will-o’-the-wisp leads you from the safe paths. YES. Safety, in terms of the growth of our psyche is bullshit. Safety is what Elinor’s life has always been about. Safety is the opposite of what Merida lives for. Safety will never guide you forward spiritually or psychologically. Take the unsafe path. Follow the will-o’-the-wisps.

The will-o’-the-wisps lead Merida to a witch. I want to give props here to Pixar for making a witch who isn’t a villain. It is so easy to make witches the bad guys. After all wise women, both in folklore and in real life, have for centuries been made out to be bad witches. It’s so ingrained in us now to consider them bad, that we have largely forgotten that once they were revered. In Brave the witch is the method in which Elinor learns her biggest lesson. Merida begs for help and is granted a cake to serve her mother which will help her to change her mind about Merida’s future. Only, the witch doesn’t say exactly how that change will occur. True wisdom and growth doesn’t come from an outside source changing your mind for you. That is oppression. Elinor lives oppression. She needed something to help her to grow from the inside. And the witch knew that.

So Elinor is changed into a bear.

Merida witnesses this and is horrified at what she’s done. Because she, too, is oppressed, even if it is to a far lesser degree. On a realistic level, she just totally screwed up her mom’s life and possibly caused her death. On a spiritual level, she caused that big change, and that, too, is scary.

They run off into the woods where they try to find the witch again and ask her WTF, but she knows damn well that she has to be gone. She leaves them a cryptic message, telling them they have to fix this on their own. Because if it was simple, no one would have learned anything, and Merida would have been even further ostracized.

In the morning, they find there is no kitchen staff out in the woods to fix them breakfast so here’s where the work begins.

Step 1: Elinor must rely on Merida for her very survival. She doesn’t have the first clue about surviving in the wilderness. But Merida, like Katniss, knows her way around a bow and arrow and so has a very good advantage out in nature.
Step 2: Elinor must learn to feed herself from what nature provides. She is still hungry even after Merida’s hunted breakfast, so Merida takes her to a stream and tells her to catch some fish so she’ll be able to feed herself for a lifetime.

Because how better to find your Wild self, than by being wild?

And then there are some adventures and some mending of a tapestry-family-portrait that I forgot to tell you about earlier (Elinor had been working painstakingly for years probably on this tapestry and Merida sliced it in two, separating herself from her family CORRECTION: Apparently I remembered it wrong, it was Elinor that Merida separated from the family in the tapestry) and some more adventures and time is almost up for Elinor. If she and Merida don’t fix this, like, NOW, she’ll be a bear forever. The whole town is out to get Bear-Elinor, and her own husband is at the forefront. Merida keeps shouting the truth, but no one listens. Suddenly, the actual bad-guy-bear comes in and pins Merida and Mama Bear Elinor takes over and KICKS HIS ASS. It is symbolic of love, of motherhood, of her final test in becoming who she is meant to be. And things are mended and she is herself again. Naked.* Isn’t that exactly what such an amazing growth experience does to us – leaves us totally naked, right in front of everyone? At least in front of the important people.

The story was more about Elinor than Merida. About her transformation, about her growth, about her journey to find her psyche. The story was about Merida, too. She grew in her own way in this movie; she stepped into her role as Wise Woman for the first time.

I hope there are countless more movies like this for our daughters (and sons!) to grow up with. And also for us to learn from.

*Naked in a Pixar/Disney way. She was totally covered. That doesn’t make it less important. Just less porny.

Giveaway!, This is a Woman

Win a signed copy of Eleanor & Park!

This book smells amazing.
This is my copy. Win your own.

I loved Gilmore Girls. For a ton of reasons. But one of them was that they had a character on the show – Sookie – who was overweight and it wasn’t even a thing. Imagine that. A fat person whose weight wasn’t the most important aspect of their character, and who wasn’t weird or overly awkward or stupid or gross. It’s almost like it was just a part of life to be around people of all sizes. Weird, right?


My friend Rainbow is an author. Recently her second book, Eleanor & Park came out. And there are a lot of things I love about this book – the characters are complex and realistic, the music is fantastic, the storyline is painfully beautiful. You can read John Green’s own review here. I really can’t add anything to it. Except to say that Eleanor, like Sookie, is fat and normal. Her size isn’t the issue in the story. It’s just an aspect of her like her red hair or her freckles or the way she dresses or her insecurity. Rainbow recently wrote this about Eleanor’s size. And if I didn’t love Rainbow already I’d have fallen head over heels for her right that second.

So there are a lot of reasons I love this book, but the main reason that I’m telling you about it here is because we need more stories out there in the world where characters are different in some way and it’s not the main thing about them. We need more fat characters who are just friends and people and not there for their fat hilarity. Fat characters who are funny and sad and full of love and fear and hope and cynicism. Who are not necessarily nice, but who you love with all your heart and you wish you could scoop up into a big hug and a nice, safe life. Who are complex like real people.

I want as many people as possible to read this book. Including you. So I am giving away a signed copy to one reader. Rainbow’s going to be in my neck of the woods this week so I plan to go to a couple of book signings (I may or may not be a groupie) and I’ll have a copy signed for you on Friday, once I know who the winner is.

Leave a comment here on this entry! I’d love to hear what other awesome female characters you love in books, movies or TV. Not necessarily fat characters, but someone who doesn’t fit the mold, who stands out as unusual, and who you find inspiring. So leave me a comment here telling me about a character you love, if you have one. If you don’t have one, then you definitely need to read this book so leave a comment either way! Make sure you include a valid email address so I can contact you.

When: Contest will end Friday at noon Pacific time, and I’ll announce the winner as soon as I can after that (bear with me as this is looking to be a very busy week).

What: One person will be chosen at random from the comments and will win a signed copy of Eleanor & Park, and probably some swag from Rainbow’s upcoming new book Fangirl (which I haven’t yet read, but I’m hoping I might get to do a giveaway for as well in the near future).

UPDATE: The giveaway is now OVER. But! Hey guess what! My friend Bethany is ALSO giving away a copy of E&P! Double your chances to win at her blog here.