Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Little Women

I speculate that like most modern, American girls, I had seen the most recent version of Little Women (1994 Winona Ryder, Christian Bale) but had never read the classic novel. I finally read it and I really liked it. I had actually forgotten whether or not Jo ended up with Laurie so I was able to read the book as a real first-time reader. Warning: stop reading now if you'd like to read it and not have any details spoiled. I found it very refreshing to read about characters choosing spouses not just with passion and romance, but with intellect and reason. Granted, I'm still a stupid girl of the modern day who has been infiltrated with love stories where both boy and girl make decisions based on nothing but twittering, undying, rip my stomach out through my belly-button emotion, and consequently I found myself wanting Jo to ease the poor pain of Laurie and except his offer as they seemed to have such a wonderful friendship. However, after the initial blow (as is the case with most "not-to-be" romances) I was glad to see each happily partnered with better people and felt satisfied with the ending. Although, I have to wonder how Laurie fared throughout life living so near his first love. That little detail would have had to be more than a little inconvenient.

In the back of my book there was a short little biography of Louisa May Alcott and after reading it I happened to google her and learn a little more. My more literary friends may know this, but if was all new to me. I had never known that Alcott was associated with so many other prominent literary figures, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau. I was also saddened to learn that she didn't want all her women happily married off. She wanted Jo to remain single by choice as she had throughout her life. It's also speculated that Alcott may have been gay and that consequently Jo may have been as well since Jo is to represent her - loosely. She is quoted as saying in an interview

I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man's soul, put by some freak of nature into a woman's body ... because I have fallen in love in my life with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man.

Interesting, eh?? If in fact she was gay and intended for Jo to be as well, the ending of her book seems very believable. Anyhow, Alcott wrote Little Women at the request of her publisher who asked her to write a story for girls. Given that she had to be asked to write such a book AND that she didn't even like the way it ended she was still able to create an amazing story for girls with such great morals!! An easy read and a must for all modern, American, educated about literature through movies girls.

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