Good to see World Book Day still went ahead this year, my social media has been filled with kids dressed up as their favourite characters, I even spotted a headteacher on Sky doing an interview about the ‘big return to school’ dressed as Harry Potter.
World Book Day wasn’t a thing when I was at primary school, I imagine my mum is eternally grateful for that small mercy. Today though I did think about who I’d dress as, because why should kids have all the fun?
My first thought was Scout Finch from ‘To kill a mockingbird’, but on reflection I more or less live in dungarees at the moment so that seemed pointless.
Maybe Dolly Alderton (not strictly a character, Everything I know about love is memoir so it counts) would be a shout, I wouldn’t mind spending the day in a long blonde wig and I do like her style.
Or perhaps, the tiger from Life of Pi.
I got some great suggestions on Facebook, Scarlet O’Hara, Moominmamma, Miss Marple Elizabeth Bennet. Ideas that were in keeping with a year of being slovenly, Sophie from the BFG (don’t have to get out your nightdress), The Twits. And pictures of some fantastic outfits Mrs McGonagall, The Morrigan, Professor Trelawney and Professor Snape (that was used an excuse to be grumpy in meetings all day – an excellent strategy).
I struck upon Miss Havisham from Great Expectations because, why wouldn’t you want to wear a wedding dress and act like a vengeful witch all day?
I could just imagine reading the news in a fancy, expensive dress. The looks of bemusement as I stop for my morning coffee. Granted going to the toilet would be a bit of pain and the lift could be problematic but I’m sure I could work that out as I spend the day giving withering looks and put downs in my beautiful wedding dress.
And let’s not forget Miss Havisham is a great character, though the 21stcentury feminist in me does have a few problems with her…
First things first, I think we can all agree there are better ways to get revenge, dragging two children into the mix isn’t the best way to go about it. There are also more productive things to be vengeful over. For instance, the dude who ALWAYS mansplains and talks down to you for one or just the patriarchy in general.
What about the scumbag who cloned your card.
Or the chavs who stole my car 13 years ago and set it alight, so I had to walk past the sad charred remains of my beloved vehicle on my way to the train station to get to work. I don’t care that the gang were eventually caught, I want my revenge.
Or the person who borrowed a book and never returned it. All valid reasons for plotting vengeance.
Every time I’ve read Great Expectations or watched an adaptation, I always feel sorry for her, because clearly she does not have good group of friends. I kind of want to grab her hand and give her a good talking to, here’s how it’d go:
“Look, Amelia, love, don’t you think it’s time you took the wedding dress off and, maybe considered going outside for a bit?
“Why don’t we get a bottle of wine, put our glad rags on and head out? We can talk about you being jilted at the altar and how the whole thing was cooked up with help from your half-brother if you want, or, you know, we could just have a good dance.
“I’m just not sure holing up in here is the best use of life and mate, you’re a strong, independent woman with a load of cash. At least Compeyson hasn’t taken all your money.
Have you thought about kicking the crap out of Arthur? I’d say that’s the bigger betrayal here and you might feel a bit better afterwards.
“Picking on poor gormless Pip seems a little bit cruel – aside, from the part where he turns into a raging snob, cuts out his family and abandons Joe Gargery; at this point I think he may be fair game – but on the whole, Pip doesn’t deserve this leave the poor lad out of your weird revenge plot.
“And as for Estella, it’s hardly in keeping with the sisterhood to use her to get your revenge. Do you really want her grow up cold and unloving? I know you wanted to protect her from a broken heart but I’m not sure you’re going about it in the right way, and I reckon it’s going to end up backfiring on you.
“So come on Amelia, why don’t we forget this bat shit crazy quest for revenge – because, it is out there – and go and have some fun.
And while I’ve got your attention….please, for the love of God, throw that wedding cake away, it’s disgusting”.
If someone had just given Miss Havisham a good talking to then a whole lot of mess could have been avoided, to be fair had that happened, Charlie D wouldn’t have had as a good a story.
As characters go she’s fascinating, she’s horrible, reclusive, twisted. She’s hell bent on revenge and crushing men – or poor, gormless Pip at least – and she’s by far the most engaging character in the whole book. I’m always a bit sad when that blasted dress catches alight and she’s consumed by the flames, a bit like my aforementioned car come to think of it.
Let’s be honest it is the baddies who are most fun to read about, they’re unapologetically themselves, they’re the ones that keep a story interesting and as fancy dress costumes go (the original point of the post), it’s the baddies who give us the best options, so on that note I’ll see you next world book day – I’ll be the one in the wedding dress, acting like a witch and getting away with it because hey, I’m in character.
Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm