(PhD Candidate researching young people, sexting and online harmful behaviours)
Louisa May Alcott: Little Women - Alcott tracks the journey of the four March sisters; Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg. At the heart of the story is the struggle of Jo who is frustrated by the constraints placed on her as a woman. Jo is reluctant to conform to the stereotypical image of what a woman’s role is within society. Instead, she battles her way through a misogynistic world in an attempt to find her place within. A beautiful but challenging story that speaks to the importance of family, loss and female empowerment. Themes include, gender, society, stereotypes, religion, equality.
Law School further recommends
Kit de Waal: My Name is Leon - This novel opens with a heavy heart and the reader understands that all is not well with Leon’s family. Leon’s mother has a baby, the two brothers have different, absent, fathers. Leon and his mother are white and baby Jake is mixed race. Leon loves and cares for his little brother while their mother falls into a deep depression – life in a council estate in Birmingham in the early 80s is tough but Leon does his best. Despite Leon’s love for his brother, social services must eventually intervene. This deeply layered and rich book brings the reader through Leon’s experiences as he learns about Irish republicanism, police brutality and race riots. Themes include, race, class, social systems, police brutality, riots, mental health.
Julia Alvarez: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents - This book, like Little Women, centres on a family of sisters but the setting is more recent – the story runs from the 1950s to the 1990s. The Garcia family are forced to flee their homeland (Dominican Republic) and resettle in the US. Themes include, migration, family, class culture, oppression.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape - Staying with the genre of family and siblings this classic film from 1993 follows the story of Gilbert as he takes on the responsibility of caring for his mentally impaired younger brother, Arnie. Gilbert’s mother is so overweight that she cannot leave the home and so Gilbert has to take ownership of the responsibilities that come with being a carer for a family with some very special needs. https://youtu.be/X6sLIP3908w