a scene from the trojan women (1971 film)

9 Books that Represent Women Better Than Female ‘Lord of the Flies’

 

The recent news that William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is getting an all-female remake has, predictably, infuriated a large swath of the internet. Though we maintain our neutrality in this trying time, we do suggest that it never hurts to get lost in a book that honestly explores what women trapped in the throes of war and abandonment truly go through. This is for all you TV and film executives out there–call us! 

 

  1. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

 

the dovekeepers cover

Image Courtesy of amazon.co.uk

 

During the first century of the common era, a war between the Jews of Judea and their Roman overseers broke out, with one group of rebels holding out for years on the sparse mountain of Masada until the bitter, bloody end. Hoffman find her way into the lives of these long dead people by inhabiting the minds of four women—spurned daughters, grieving mothers, fearless warriors, crafty magicians—who forge a path to survival by leaning on each other and themselves.

 

  1. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich

 

the unwomanly face of war cover

Image Courtesy of Penguin Random House

 

Alexievich, born and raised in the former Soviet Union, has won vast acclaim (and a Nobel Prize) for her intimate oral histories of  critical moments during the long years of communist rule. This 1985 history—only recently translated into English—covers the experiences of the Soviet women who went to war against the Nazi invaders in the brutal days of WWII. They went in girls, mothers, wives; they came out forever marked by what they saw, who they lost, and the camaraderie they had to form to pull through.

 

  1. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn

 

Y: The Last Man cover

Image Courtesy of DC Database

 

Don’t let the title fool you: The Last Man is practically all about the ladies. After a mysterious affliction wipes out virtually every living thing with a Y chromosome in one night, women from all walks of life must find a way to remake a planet newly bereft of half of its population. Some play nice, grabbing the baton of leadership or hunkering down for a scientific solution to the extinction; others play mean, embracing radical violence and cold militarism in the vacuum left by the men. In any case, they do not lose their minds and start worshipping a rotting pig’s head.

 

 

  1. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

half of a yellow sun cover

Image Courtesy of Penguin Random House

It’s the early sixties, and twin sisters Olanna and Kainene represent the new Nigeria: newly independent, vibrant, and endlessly complicated. But when their beloved country is torn apart by a vicious civil war, the sisters must tap into reserves of strength they never knew they had in order to sustain their families and save their own lives. But how much can be lost before the war is over?

 

  1. Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly

 

ten days in a mad house cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks

 

Nellie Bly was already on her way to becoming trailblazing reporter in 1887 when she decided to feign insanity in order to investigate the rumored inhumane conditions at a New York City’s women’s mental asylum. The ruse worked perfectly, and Bly was forced to endure the spoiled food, busted sanitation and icy baths that were the norm for unlucky patients. Bly’s exposure of these practices led to a public outcry and brought the brave reporter lasting fame.

 

  1. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

 

the mists of avalon cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks

You’ve probably heard of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table: strong, gallant men who went on gallant quests and lived by a strict code of chivalry. But there were women then, too, and Bradley takes pains to make their stories known. Queens, priestesses, and harpists, they influence the prominent men around them while charging their own way into the annals of mythic British history.

 

  1. The Trojan Women by Euripides

 

trojan women cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks

 

This one’s an oldie—it was first produced in 415 BCE—but we swear it’s a goodie. While the boys of The Lord of Flies flee a nuclear war created by a patriarchal society, the titular women of this play must pick up the pieces of their city after its total devastation by the Greeks, mourning lost loved ones and fighting through ongoing horrors like slavery and rape. Walking on bare ground when the rug’s been snatched underfoot is never pleasant, but these women, royal and commoner alike, do what must be done .

 

  1. Eclipsed by Danai Gurira

 

eclipsed cover

Image Courtesy of AbeBooks

 

The Second Liberian Civil War was a true hell on earth, especially for the vulnerable women whose bodies were commandeered for the purposes of either sexual slavery or deadly militia service. Eclipsed, by Walking Dead actor/noted playwright Gurira, follows 5 women (4 of them “wives” of a Commanding Officer) wedged between these two unsavory choices. With no good options in sight, the only certain outcome is devastation.

 

  1. Paradise by Toni Morrison

 

paradise cover

Image Courtesy of Amazon

 

In an abandoned mansion in an isolated part of Oklahoma, a group of women form a society completely at odds with the male-dominated town of Ruby not too far away. The two communities quickly clash, sometimes violently. All the while, an even greater threat lurks, threatening to consume them all.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of Cinemagraphe.