I love the junior novels, but…

…sometimes they make me want to slam the book shut and throw it at the patriarchy.

Case in point:

“But that’s one thing I can say,” she cried. “I have never never been in love with anyone but you, Cliff. Not ever, not even a little bit.” Forgive me, George, she thought. I did love you in a way, but not like this, and I have to be able to tell him that he’s the only one I ever loved. (Mary Stolz, And Love Replied, 1958).

Mary Stolz is my absolutely favourite junior novel writer, but COME ON, MARY.

(Actually, Stolz’s letters back and forth with her friend and editor, Ursula Nordstrom, suggest that she’s actually pretty progressive, with some clear feminist tendencies. And, as sad as I am to admit it, this paragraph really does fit the somewhat manipulative nature of Betty, the protagonist of this particular novel, so it may just be an added aspect of characterization. But… it still rankles this twenty-first century reader).

/end rant.

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In which Maureen Daly supports my archival findings!

FOUND IT! (Which is to say: Daly’s archive didn’t lie about the early gendering of her fan letters):

“Daly recalls that in the first few years following publication, ‘All the mail was from boys, perhaps because of the attractive girl on the cover. Later, the girls started writing, too.'”

Thank you, now-obscure author interview from 1986!

To be clear, the archive suggests that girls *were* writing from the beginning, but I suspect that Daly remembered this version because the girls continued to write to her, whereas the boys stopped.


Source: Daly, Maureen, and Kimberly Olson Fakih. “The Long Wait for Maureen Daly.” Publishers Weekly 229.26 (June 27, 1986): 36-39.