This week is a freebie, so I've compiled a list of my Top Ten Literary Mean Girls.
9. President Coin from Mockingjay. Talk about ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’. It’s like: Dear Citizens of Panem, would you rather be poisoned by cyanide or arsenic?
8. Hatsumomo from Memoirs of a Geisha. What a rotter. She makes Chiyo/Sayuri’s life a misery from the moment they meet, all because she’s terrified that someone prettier might have encroached on her territory.
7. The Marquise he Merteuil from Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Most of her meanness comes from her living in a time when people were terrified of women having an interest in sex, but still. She was pretty horrible.
6. Jane from the Twilight series. Baby-faced sadist.
5. Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. Mean and racist, too, which is always a great combo. Now, all together: ‘I must not tell lies....’
4. Catherine Earnshaw from Wuthering Heights. Mean as a box of rats and as dumb as paint to boot. One third of the only decent love triangle I’ve ever read. Treated everyone meanly, especially the boy who was supposed to be her soulmate, and eventually deigned to marry the rich boy for his foppish looks and bottomless cash pit. Nice.
3. Scarlett o’Hara from Gone With The Wind. She hates all other women and they hate her right back! Where do I start on the meanness? Stole her friend’s boyfriend, her sister’s boyfriend, owned slaves, exploited convicts, tries to steal a married man, mean to all her husbands, ignores her children... I’ll tell you what, though: if I was ever in a monumental fix, there’s no one I’d rather have by my side!
2. Caroline Bingley from Pride and Prejudice. Gratuitously nasty. Yet so fashionable.
And my top mean girl is...
1. Sam from Before I Fall. She's such a horrible bully in the beginning. I mean, she paints a nail varnish line across the threshold of her room and forbids her family to cross it (although I thought her parents should really have grown a pair and said, ‘Pffft. Don’t think so, love.’) And she and her equally-mean friends literally bully a girl to death. But the beauty of this book is that by the end Sam’s redemption was so complete that I absolutely loved her. Now THAT is the mark of a great writer. Making you love the mean girl.
What about you? Who are your top mean girls?