In our favorite books, some women announce themselves with a bang, exploding onto the page and never dimming their strength and shine. They meet their challenges head-on, refuse to see their vulnerabilities as weaknesses and above all else, are survivors. Bridget Jones comes to mind when we think of female protagonists like this; so does Ramona Quimby.
And some women in our favorite books achieve the same strength of character and passion with a quieter, more subtle determination; a less bombastic way of existing in the world that is no less worthy of our time or attention. Olive Kitteridge navigates her world this way; Scout Finch does too.
When we move beyond the walls of fiction, we get even more studies of strong and kind and resilient and brilliant women whose stories can inspire our own. Whether they weave through life with a quiet determination, an acerbic grit or land somewhere in between, these women can all be seen as inspirations and as role models—as well as endlessly engaging characters in the new releases we’ll be recommending to the other fearless women in our lives.
Tooth and Nail by Linda D. Dahl
Linda Dahl did not fit in as a young surgical resident in New York, her new job challenging her sense of self and belonging. But after watching a boxing match with her husband one night, Dahl became fascinated with the sport. Using boxing as a way to connect with colleagues and patients, Dahl’s success grew, leading her to her dream post: ringside physician. Recounting her experience as a fight doctor, Dahl provides behind-the-scenes stories and a look at the perseverance and strength it takes to be a rare woman in the male-dominated world of professional boxing.
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim
Haemi Lee is sixteen years old and living in a refugee camp with her mother and brother after the North Korean army invades her town. Though she has dreams and passions she wishes she could pursue, she marries a man she does not love in order to protect her family and their future. As Haemi becomes a wife and a mother, we see the ways she quietly fights to stay true to herself and her heart while doing whatever she must to survive.
Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride
Sarah McBride is a barrier-breaking activist fighting for the rights of LGBTQ people and this book transcribes her journey from a frightened, closeted teen to one of Washington’s most powerful civil rights advocates. Through personal struggles and very public moments, McBride’s fierce strength, honest vulnerability and unceasing drive usher her forward in this moving and inspiring memoir.
When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
Jessie Sloan is trying to put her life back together after the death of her mother, but is plagued by insomnia, grief and then another shock when she finally is able to apply for college and is told her ID is not valid. As she tries to unravel the mystery of her identity, Jessie must also unravel the things she didn’t know about her mother. Wading through one answered question after the other, Jessie moves with an admirable resolve and bravery.
Who inspires you? Let us know in the comments!