When I spied this list of cool literary siblings on Largehearted Boy’s Facebook wall I was all, “hell yes I love arbitrary lists of the bookish variety. Pop Culture Nerds love nothing more than to argue about inconsequential things that are somehow vitally important to our sense of self.
So I perused the list where I was shocked and appalled that the best all time literary siblings ever were not on the list: Beezus & Ramona Quimby. Then I got to the point where they included third cousins who are not, obviously, siblings and I was all “this is total bullshit” and decided to make a much better list of my own.
Since “cool” is such a vague, weird thing to define. I went with interesting. Interesting is much easier to prove and, well, judge.
With that parameter in place, I will tell you right now that my list will not include Franny and Zooey. While Franny and Zooey are pretty cool, they can be kind of wind baggy and boring blowhards too. Besides, you have to admit that the entire Glass family should be on the list. And, well, frankly Franny & Zooey are an obvious choice. Besides if we’re going with Salinger sibs, I’d pick Holden & Phoebe anyway.
So here it is: 9 literary siblings who are much more interesting than Franny & Zooey
9. Peter & Farley “Fudge” Hatcher: Sure Fudge is kind of an asshole that eats Peter’s turtle and generally wrecks havoc wherever he goes, but that’s a little brother’s job is it not? Besides Peter’s totally chill and handles it all with tremendous grace. Plus he’s smart. So give it up for the Hatcher Boys.
8. Chris & Catherine Dollanganger: We’re now entering the incest part of our list. Chris & Cathy, along with their twin sibs Cory & Carrie were shoved into an attic by their greedy, whack-job mother after their father dies. They were stuck in the attic for years and they developed a completely creepy love affair that ended up with them spending their lives posing as husband and wife rather than brother and sister. It seemed romantic when I was 12, but is downright gross now. Still, when I was a kid Chris & Cathy were definitely the bomb digs.
7. Franny & John Beery: A Franny made the list, that has to count for something, right? Franny and John. . . oh Franny and John, the incestuous (at least for one very long day) middle children in The Hotel New Hampshire. Franny’s a rape-survivor, feminist, actress who eventually marries a high school sweetheart and John is the brother who loves Franny and eventually raises her child. They’re messed up and totally lovable.
6. Jessica & Elizabeth Wakefield: Probably the most famous literary twins of all time. Take that Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.
5. Hal & Orin Incandenza: Does this need any explanation? If it does that means you haven’t read Infinite Jest yet and you should just get on that already.
4. Lux, Therese, Mary, Bonnie, and Cecilia Lisbon: The beautiful, doomed Lisbon sisters managed to capture the minds and hearts of all the boys that lived in their neighborhood. Oh delicate, ephemeral Lisbon sisters, we hardly knew ye in The Virgin Suicides and yet I think everyone who reads the book is a little in love with you.
3. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March: I admit I have a soft spot for the March girls. Growing up my sisters and I were always compared to the March girls. As a kid I was always Meg but I’m more of a Jo now. Sister #4 hates it that we always made her be Beth. Sucker.
2. Arty & Oly Binewski: Arty is the Aqua Boy who forms a cult, and Oly is the hunchbacked albino dwarf sister who adores the shit out of him. They’re two of the “freaks” created by their weirdo parents to perform in the family freak show. Oly seems to love her charismatic brother blindly, so much so that she manages to impregnate herself with his child. But when it comes down to it, Oly can see that Arty is a little off his rocker. If you haven’t read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, you should. It’s one of my ten all-time favorite books.