HELEN'S HEROINES: Pip McCabe
Helen Redfern's weekly column on the fictional females she loves...
When I first discovered Freya North I felt a breath of fresh air had blown into the book shop. I was delighted. The characters she wrote about were feisty and fun. There was Sally, Chloe and Polly. Then the McCabe sisters Cat, Fen and Pip. Except for Fen, whom I struggled to like, just a little, I loved these characters and found it difficult to choose one for this week’s heroine. I settled on Pip though, maybe because of her clowning, possibly because of her work at the hospital as Dr. Pippity, or maybe I just warmed to her the most.
Pip is the eldest of the three sisters who each appear in a novel called rather straightforwardly by their first names. They also appear in each other’s novels and in the sequel about all three of them, Home Truths. The story goes that their mother ran off with a cowboy from Denver when they were very small, their Dad died, so their uncle, Django, raised them in North Derbyshire.
Pip studies clowning and acrobatics. She creates two personas. One called Merry Martha for children’s parties and entertaining and another called Dr. Pippity for her work on the children’s ward of a London hospital.
As the eldest daughter Pip takes on the role as the mother to the sisters. She doesn’t stand and wail when things go wrong, waiting for everyone to rush round and help like Cat does. She doesn’t do that irritating thing of contemplating one hand or the other when trying to make a decision, as Fen does. No, Pip is a self contained woman. She is the great-looker-afterer, requiring no looking after herself. Of course being like this does have it’s negatives (she admits to herself about being a little lonely on Sunday mornings) but personality wise these are the traits that I warmed to the most.
She proclaims she isn’t in need of a man. She has her own flat and mortgage, her career, her sisters and her friends. Her life is rich already. This is a romantic story though and however good it is to see that she doesn’t need one, it is lovely when she finds a goodun'. Meeting Zac adds to the richness rather than diminishing her in any way.
Pip swears, she drinks, she has a few neurosis’. But she doesn’t let life pass her by. She goes out and grabs her chances when she can. If she’s feeling blue and has no work on to take her mind off it, she dons her motley and slap and stomps off to the nearest shopping centre, raising money for charity in her bucket.
Whilst working at the hospital as Dr. Pippty she would spin laughs and weave smiles. She was told by a nurse that she had ‘brought into the ward the glorious sunshine and warmth of the high June day.’ Her fun and frolics spill out of the book and I feel like Pip is a mate, adding a little warmth and sunshine to my own life.