Giving props to my fellow literary bloggers, I stumbled across a new blog by Wayne Gooderham, Three Score and Ten. Gooderham is chronicling the average human lifespan by featuring literary quotes about each age, from conception to 70. There will two quotes per age–one for men, the other for the ladies (because 15 is way different when you’re a girl). 70 seemed like a good age for Gooderham, he said, since “three score and ten” sound official and properly biblical enough.
According to Gooderham, the intention for the project is to:
view the different male and female literary characters as if they were a pair of individuals, following their progress through life as they are shaped by experience and decisions are made, talents are blunted and youthful hope turns to resigned despair and failing talents – or perhaps even growing maturity and contentment. At very least, death (spoiler alert: the project doesn’t end happily).
Gooderham has even set himself some ground rules: all the characters have to be fictional, can only be from novels or novellas, and from books he’s finished. Plus, he can only use each character once during their lifetime, and the quote has to say how old the person is and reveal something about that age–whether psychologically or physically. For birth, Gooderham spotlights Marmaduke Clinch from Martin Amis’s London Fields and Rebecca Juna Angstrom from John Updike’s Rabbit Run. Check out the blog each week for more.
So what do you think? Can literature chronicle our lives, or have you ever felt an affinity with a literary character as they come of age? (But please, let’s avoid Holden Caulfield for as long as we can.) I can’t say I’ve felt this way recently, but I distinctly remember desiring an American Girls 9th birthday party, since all the American Girls turned 9 during the book series. I don’t remember feeling as if Felicity, Abby and I were blood sisters, but I’m sure I felt there was a bond between our 9-year-old selves.