Were You a Disobedient Girl?

Book Discussion

Margaret Dilloway's How to Be an American Housewife starts with Shoko declaring "I had always been a disobedient girl." The second part of the book, told from Shoko's daughter Sue's perspective, starts with Sue's declaration, "I had always been an obedient girl." It made me wonder, am I disobedient? Or am I obedient?

Shoko was disobedient when she defied her nanny -- a good thing as she was trying to kidnap her and her brother. Her disobedience saved them. Shoko, by her own admission, wasn't a fool. She knew when she absolutely had to listen and when she didn't. She wasn't going to just blindly agree to everything. She wasn't willing to do what she was told when she felt it was wrong or somehow not in her best interests.

bad girls

Image Credit: Luis Villa del Campo

Sue simply wanted her mother to love her. Shoko did, but she didn't always show it easily. Sue tried hard to do things just as well or as better than her mother expected her to. She tried so hard to be good. If she were good, everyone would be happy. She'd be happy. Maybe.

Was I obedient? The answer probably depends on who you ask. My teachers would tell you that I was obedient ... except for those times I wouldn't stop reading a book in class. My step-father, if he were still alive, would probably tell you I wasn't. My mother would probably say it would depend on what you were asking me to do.

If you ask me, I'd say I was more Shoko than Sue. I wasn't exactly disobedient, I was defiant. I choose not to pay attention to things that didn't serve what I considered to be my best interests. Also like Shoko, I wasn't a fool. I knew there were lines and I toed them closely in class. I sought to defy other's expectations of me. I had higher goals for my life than they had for me. I like to think that I succeeded.

Were you a disobedient girl like Shoko? Or obedient like Sue?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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