Thursday, November 14, 2019

Little Women by Louisa May Allcott (audiobook)

genre: fiction

Jo.  Meg.  Amy.  Beth.  I don't even remember how old I was when I first heard my mother tell me about those four little women, sisters whose lives and loves are the heart of this classic.  I know my mother gave me the book when I was a girl myself, I remember how it looked and felt in my hands, but I remembered the movies more and so I'm glad I took the time to delve into the text once again.

Little women is a story of family, more than anything.  About how truly interwoven our experiences are but also about how just because you ARE in a family, it doesn't mean that things will come naturally or easy.  The entire book is filled with didactic teachings for how to be a "good little woman," how to be obedient and kind, how to work and how to appreciate what you have.  The March family's poverty is a major theme and how the girls grow up dealing with that poverty helps us understand their character - and how it changes as they grow.  Of course, we can't forget Laurie, the beloved boy next door whose antics and boyish ways keep things exciting.

It IS a good book.  There is solid writing and the characters are SO fleshed out, they really are like real people.  Marmie is always there with advice and care and the secondary characters, too, have flaws and strengths that add to the story.  The preachiness of it rankled me a little - I don't remember that from my early readings.  But I can forgive it that because it also really gives us a picture into a time and place so different from our own, and yet, when it comes to relationships and trials, not that different.  And even though I KNEW what was going to happen to Beth, it still crushed me and I think that Alcott's writing in that chapter is beyond superb.  It is astonishingly beautiful and powerful to me.  It is the people in this story and the love that ties them together that has made Little Women stand the test of time.

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