Who would be your literary best friend?

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There are some books that you read and you just wish that the main character was real, as you have developed such a strong connection with them. In fact, you know that you'd be best friends forever!

There are several characters like this for me. As I grew up, it was Jo Bettany from Elinor M. Brent-Dyer's Chalet School series, Alanna from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet, Carol Ryrie Brink's Caddie Woodlawn, and Ruth Sawyer's Lucinda Wyman. Most recently it has been Elizabeth Clarry from Jaclyn Moriarty's 'Feeling sorry for Celia' and, heartbreakingly, Tessa in Jenny Downham's 'Before I die'.

However, the one person who has stayed with me since I met her on my 10th birthday is a certain red-haired, free spirit named Anne Shirley. I always admired her independence and self-confidence, and wanted so much to share in her adventures and exploits. I envied her having her long red hair cut off after a disastrous attempt at dyeing it, as I had long, weighty plaits of red hair too. And now I am a mother, I understand Anne's behaviour and comments made after being told of her son Walter's death in the fields of France during World War I.

So who would you choose as your literary best friend? Has it changed over time, or have you continued to add characters as I have done? I look forward to reading about your literary best friends too.

Fiona Mackie