shirley temple, in the ultimate kid mary sue

There’s a kid novel called “A Little Princess,” which was made into a film starring Shirley Temple. The plot is basically she’s a kid at a boarding school whose dad is in the military. Everyone thinks he’s dead and there’s no more money, so she basically becomes a live-in orphan servant who suffers epic abuse and never gets enough to eat. She sleeps in a room in a drafty, dusty, cruddy attic. All the little girls are byatches except like one girl. It’s like a fairy tale tragedy that really spoke to me at age eight.

At the end of the movie, she wakes up in morning and the camera pans across the room. It is packed with pastries, cakes, tiers of scones with clotted cream, croissants, cup cakes, petit fours. She blinks and yawns prettily as she wakes up. It’s a moment before she realizes that her room is filled with TREASURE. Once she wakes up, she starts gobbling the food, she invites her friend to come over and help her binge. The tyrannical headmistress storms and yells “what is the meaning of this!” etc. or something. Soon after, the father is revealed. He is alive! He is wheeled in with a bandaged head. He has been MIA because he’s been unconscious! Now that he’s back, tyrant school lady gets her comeuppance, little Shirley Temple hugs her father, cheek to cheek, weeps, her hair styled in perfect ribbons and sausage curls (and it’s pretty much the same hair throughout, ups and downs and all). The end.

Now THAT was a great ending for a kid story. The dessert deus ex machina? The wronged heroine proven wrong in teh end? So satisfying. But as an adult looking back, yes, I can admit, it’s the ultimate Mary Sue.

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