There are two paths in life to take: the one that is easy and the one which is right (and by nature is much more difficult).
In the 2004 TV movie, An American Girl Holiday, Samantha Parkington (AnnaSophia Robb) is a young lady growing up in the early 20th century. She has just moved in with her grandmother, Grandmary Edwards (Mia Farrow) and will soon begins lessons on how to be a lady.
She has also become fast friends with a girl next door. Nellie O’ Malley (Kelsey Lewis) is not the daughter of the neighbors, but a servant of the family. Can these girls remain friends in spite of the differences between them?
I recall liking this TV movie. It has moments where it becomes a little preachy. However, the message of doing what is right instead of simply taking the easy way out is timeless and ageless.
Stories of boys having adventures and stepping out into the wider world is nothing new. But girls doing the same thing is still, even in 2019, is still not told as often as boy’s adventure stories.
In 2005, An American Girl Adventure aired. Based on the books and the dolls by the American Girl company, Felicity Merriman (Shailene Woodley) is growing up in Revolutionary Era America. Felicity is enamored of a horse who she believes is being mistreated by it’s owner. In addition to her desire to free the horse, Felicity is watching her world being torn apart by politics. Some of those around her support those who would see America as a stand alone nation. Others support the King of England.
Like many young girls, I read and was thoroughly enamored of the American Girl books. As an adult, I enjoyed this television movie. I very much appreciated how independent and strong Felicity was, especially given the time period she is living in. But, I would warn that it would help to have some knowledge of the narrative from the books before watching this movie.
It’s no secret that many young girls are obsessed with all things pink, sparkly and generally princess-y. The question that many adults and many parents ask, is this obsession nature or nurture?
Journalist and writer Peggy Orenstein answers this question in her 2011 book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. To find the answer she is seeking, Ms. Orenstein not only writes about her own daughter, but about the cues and pressures from well-known companies such as American Girl, Disney and the world of child beauty pageants. She also talks about how the internet comes into play and the images that young girls see in various formats, whether they be in print on-screen or maybe, in their own homes.
What I truly appreciated about this book is how frank Ms. Orenstein is. Parenting is hard, but it is made harder by the very well executed marketing plans of companies that sells children’s toys and the mixed messages our children and our girls in particular are still receiving. But, she concludes, it is possible to counteract the in face-ness of the pink/sparkly/princess-y image that our girls are receiving and raise them to stand on their own two feet and think for themselves.