I grew out of the American Girl series right before Kit was introduced. Quite a few things have happened to the company since then. They’ve added more stores to their single location, discontinued a few girls, and changed the titles of each new, six-part series. What hasn’t changed is how I love each individual American Girl. Well, not much.
Let’s get this out of the way: my favorite is Felicity! I love the clothes and customes of that era and always found it excited to see how she fared while her home was unsure of its own future (the Revolutionary War). Molly also has a special place in my heart, and I think I liked her because she was—-was-—the most current. I reread Addy a few years ago and loved her all over again.
For this summer, I reread Samantha. She’d been on my mind as of late, and I wanted to relive one AG series I already knew before delving into the more recent publications. She always seemed to be a bit of a princess for me, but I loved the customes of that era. I loved the frills of the fashions. I loved the wrought iron desks. One year, I begged my mom to make petit fours for my birthday. (They looked terrible but were delicious!)
This series especially introduced me to Dickensian themes with Samantha’s poor friend and multiple accounts of conditions in the city.
A specific line from the Samantha series also got me obsessed with iron fences.
The building looked as if it had been built out of blocks of dirty gray ice. It was surrounded by a fence of sharp black spikes. Samantha couldn’t tell if the spikes were meant to keep visitors out or the orphans in.
And the writing? It surprised me. It’s basic while vocabulary-building. It’s not as lame and pandering like some books I’m reading now. The characters aren’t moping around that they live in an outdated time. American Girl gives a really good perspective on what life was like beyond the drama. Needless to say, AG was my introduction to historical fiction, one of my favorite genres of books/films/music today.
Furthermore, Samantha (and Felicity) introduced me to tea time! My introduction to tea began around fourth grade and went horribly. My best friend Jess, who introduced me to AG, and I concocted some terrible mixtures of milk, sugar, and watered-down tea. We got used to it, though. Since then, one of my dreams has been to have a proper tea time in England.
Another dream has been to visit Williamsburg, Virginia and their live history museum. Or are they called Living History museums. Either/or.
The American Girls I’ll be reading next are Kit and Kaya, library reserves willing. (I’ve been waiting at least a month for one installment of the Kit series to come in. Summer reading programs abound in my city.)
I do have a little rant on AG, but I will save that for another post.