The series you loved, book by book. Join Allison Horrocks and Mary Mahoney as they explore the wild world of American Girl fandom. In each episode, Allison and Mary will dive into an American Girl book from their (and perhaps your) childhood. Using their knowledge as professional historians and finely tuned instincts as amateur pop culture critics, they’ll take you back to a very different time—the 1990s.
Upon completing the six canon Felicity books, Mary and Allison turn to fan fiction. In addition to reading some fans’ stories that fall within the Valerie Tripp timeline, they investigate alternative narratives, including a Men in Black II crossover. Inspired by the wild world of Felicity fic, the hosts pick up their own proverbial quill and imagine a few other Felicity plots. This episode also includes Olsen twin news and an Ann Rinaldi bombshell.
You Say You Want a Revolution-Changes for Felicity
If times are a changin, why does so little happen in this book? During this final Felicity saga, friendships are tested, grandfathers and town frenemies fall ill, and a foal is born. While reflecting on this journey we’ve taken with Williamsburg’s fave redhead, Mary and Allison question not only her development arc, but the redemption of Jiggy Nye and the absolution of Felicity’s grandpa. Last but never least, we find ourselves reeling over recent news on the collapse of the British empire (see: cheating rumors of Prince William) and America’s favorite not-a- girl-not-yet-woman Britney Spears.
In book five, it’s the summer of 1775 but the spirit of 1776 is heating up along with the temperatures in colonial Virginia. Mrs. Merriman is pregnant, Mr. Merriman is having financial troubles, and Felicity is her usual spirited self - so the family of course takes a road trip to grandpa’s. But this journey through the woods includes a lurking Ben, who’s broken his apprenticeship and leg. Felicity will have to make some tough choices about loyalty and dependence and we’ll navigate how we feel about a woman photographing a black hole. We also take a look at a recent visit to Mount Vernon and the racial politics of portraying servitude in AG.
Typically the magazines we talk about are Us Weekly and People but in this episode, Mary and Allison get into the Williamsburg gunpowder plot of 1775. Book four features Felicity’s birthday and the knowledge that as she enters her double digit years, she’s fully prepared to blow the whistle on loyalists. As we explore Felicity’s new 10-year-old level interests (gardening? the guitar!?) we weigh what it means that she’s an Earth sign & a Taurus. Last but not least, we look back at the history of children’s birthday parties. https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-perks-long-distance-friend https://www.bustle.com/p/which-american-girl-doll-you-are-based-on-your-zodiac-sign-3267558 https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-new-age-of-astrology/550034/
There’s a governor’s ball and Felicity WILL dance (and cry along the way) if she wants to in Felicity’s Surprise. In unpacking this third installment, Mary and Allison discuss the extent to which the title character’s surprise is not just a new dress or doll but the extent to which “woke” Ben wants her to be domesticated. We also trace the feverish dots between Mrs. Merriman’s illness, The Yellow Wallpaper, and Theranos. If you didn’t see the Elizabeth Holmes/Felicity Merriman connection coming, hold your horses–there’s also a colonial Williamsburg/Bachelor Nation tie-in. This is one we couldn’t wait to drop. Great analysis of Golden Girls and chronic fatigue syndrome: https://nursingclio.org/2018/09/25/golden-girls-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-the-legacies-of-hysteria/ Holiday Magic is Made by Women, and it’s Killing Us: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/emotional-labor-holidaysn5a1ec905e4b0d724fed5588a
Loose lips may sink ships, and in Felicity Learns a Lesson, we learn how loose tea and teeth can bring down an empire…or just a bratty imperialist. In this episode, Mary and Allison question Felicity’s bonafides as a friend, whether Ben Franklin was an influencer, and the importance of the Yorktown tea party. We also connect the Fyre Fest debacle to colonial politics and ask a vital question: who’s looking out for Ashanti?
In their very first episode, Mary and Allison talk about their origin story, attending American Girl Live! as thirty-somethings, and Valerie Tripp’s masterwork Meet Felicity. While exploring the world set out in the Felicity books (1770s colonial Virginia) they question the title character’s exclusive devotion to freeing a local horse named Penny. Last but not least, they address an important petition on American Girl dolls and representation. Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/american-girl-dolls-american-girl-will-not-make-a-doll-with-down-syndrome