- The Weasleys (Harry Potter): We all wish our families were more like the Weasleys. And maybe we’re the Percy of the crew, but we would never admit to it. As a whole, the Weasleys get along with each other well, which is a small miracle considering the sheer number of people co-existing in a tiny house. They deserve a blog post of their own, so for the sake of brevity I will simply pick a favorite and be done with it. It is hard to pick just one, but Ron is the best Weasley and I would defend him to the death.
- The Rostovs (War and Peace): Tolstoy once famously wrote in Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Drama and arguments might make for better reading, but the Rostovs begin the novel as one of the happiest families in all of literature. They have their share of money problems, mostly because they are generous to a fault and love to entertain their friends and sometimes gamble too much. The Count and Countess encourage their children’s happiness. Vera is proud and snobbish and the only one of her siblings not to really fit in with the group, Nikolai refuses to use family connections to get ahead, Natasha is bursting with life, and young Petya longs to be brave. Not all of the Rostovs get a happy ending, but over the course of the novel they grow and change in interesting ways, still a happy family, but a more complex family that has known real suffering and is stronger because of it.
- The Bennets (Pride and Prejudice): I adore all things Jane Austen, but my favorite of all of her fictional families is the Bennets. Mrs. Bennet is a bit pushy and Mr. Bennet spends too much time in his library disconnecting from his “silly” daughters, but somehow they did a great job of raising at least two of their five daughters. Although lacking the brother they so sorely need, the Bennet girls value love over money. Jane is at times too kind, Lizzy too judgmental, but they are completely supportive of each other. Lydia and Kitty are off in their own little world, leaving Mary to her piano and books, but as a family unit, they are nearly perfect.
- The Finches (To Kill a Mockingbird): I will not hear talk about the “sequel”, thank you very much. Scout is a young girl who fights against all things feminine while growing up in the South. But really my favorite character is her older brother Jem, who understood more about the trial and the background behind it than Scout did and dealt with it in a way that is impressive for a teenager. Their father, Atticus, struggles to raise them by himself after the death of their mother, and sometimes his sister helps for the sake of Jean Louise. The Finches are always there for each other when it matters most; even young Scout unwittingly saves Atticus from angry townsfolk in the scene outside of the jail. And Atticus will always be there waiting when Jem wakes up.
- The Marches (Little Women): Is there any young writer who does not secretly wish they were Jo March? Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are probably the most famous sisters in American literature. The four have quiet adventures in their small New England town. Their father is mostly absent, away fighting in the war, but Marmee is more than capable of taking care of the family single-handedly. My least favorite sister by a long margin is Amy, but the three others more than make up for their often horrible sister. I always wanted to be like Jo, but I am honestly more of a Beth, and as I grow older I am learning to appreciate that.