A loooong time ago I read a “kids version” of Little Women. I fell in love with the book and have seen the movie more times than I can count (although, not as many times as Wizard of Oz). Amazon often gives kindle deals and for the most part a number of the classics have remained free on Kindle over the years. I downloaded Little Women a few years ago with the intentions of reading it again. Finally, I decided this would be the year.
I forgot how long the original book was! It did not move nearly as fast as I thought it would, but I was okay with that. I always looked forward to my short bit of time each day eavesdropping on the day to day lives of Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy.
Meg is the eldest of the “Little Women” and very much holds the older sister or young mother role throughout the whole book. At the beginning she is a nanny for a local family & spends her days working. During a period of time when their mother is away she took over as the motherly figure in the family. Throughout the book we get to see Meg evolve into a mother & wife. She learns the ins and outs of motherhood along with how to keep the house neat and tidy for her husband, Mr. Brooks.
Beth is the third in line of the March women (I’ll get back to Jo later) and while she is the quiet one, she is also one of my favorite. Beth never truly gets the chance to grow up like the other girls. She is quote in the book as saying
“I’m not like the rest of you; I never made any plans about what I’d do when I grew up; I never thought of being married, as you did. I couldn’t seem to imagine myself anything but stupid little Beth, trotting about at home, of no use anywhere but there. I never wanted to go away, and the hard part now is leaving you all. I’m not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven.”
This is one of my favorite quotes of the book. As morbid as that sounds, it sums up Beth’s character and her thoughts about seeing her sisters happy. She is worried more about the others than herself and I think that is why she is one of my favorites.
Amy, the youngest March girl, starts out the book acting like a spoiled brat. Then again, she’s 13 when the book begins. As Amy matures throughout the book, she befriends Aunt March who ultimately takes her to live abroad for a few years. Always an artist, Amy is often found painting or trying various types of art. After almost accepting a proposal from a young man named Fred, Amy realizes that it is more important to marry for love vs. money. A surprise twist to readers, in the end Amy ends up marrying a young fellow who readers come to know and love throughout the book.
Then there is Jo. In my opinion Jo is really the true main character of Little Women. I envision her telling the story throughout the entire novel, which I’m pretty sure was the point since she is the family writer. Jo is a free spirit & refuses to fall into the steps that society believes to be “proper” for women. When Amy worries about money, Jo corrects her. When Amy talks about marriage and love, Jo looks the other way. I think in the end Jo really is my favorite character in the novel. Her free spirit sets the tone for the changes that were not many years after the novels time period. Out of all of the sisters, Jo is the one who deals withe most with Beth & her young life. She teaches Jo a lot and gives Jo a reason to look to the future & find her calling in life. Jo eventually does settle down & realizes what true love is after years of debates of love vs. friendship.
Readers also get the chance to fall in love with Theodore Laurence (also known as Laurie, also known as Teddy) as the book goes on. Jo befriends him early in the book and while the book does focus on the four “little women”, Laurie plays a major role in all four of their lives. From escorting Meg through a party she was uncomfortable with to befriending Amy in Nice during a homesick spell Laurie is one of my favorite characters (second only to Jo) in this book. Readers get to watch him mature and learn the difference between love and friendship as they watch him go through heartbreak, loss and learning to love again.
As the novel ends the “little women” are no longer little and they all have families of their own. Louisa May Alcott takes us through the lives of these women through good times and bad. We learn what it is like to fall in love, be in love with the idea of love and what it is like to experience heartbreak and rejection. Each of these women is unique with their own story to tell, but all together they make a family.
Finishing the novel I could just picture each of them running around with the children exactly as they are described. This truly is one of my favorite books & one that some day I might just have to pick up and read again.
This was my fourth book (yes fourth, my third book is a secret…. for now….) from the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. It qualified for the book with 500 pages or more.