I started reading Little Women for a read-a-long on readitswapit forum. After watching a new BBC adaption I was tempted to read it again because I had forgotten some of the book. I love the film starring Winona Ryder, I’ve watched it more than I’ve read the books because when I was a child I could never get into it. I’ve had my copy of Little Women for years it pre- dates publication dating in books, bought it quite cheap from a boot sale. The first time I read it I didn’t realise that Little Women and Good Wives were two separate books! I got to the end and wondered where the rest of the story was, so I bought the mismatched Good Wives paperback.
It’s hard to explain the feeling reading classic books like this give you, they are both uplifting and sad. Maybe it’s because they are true to life and you can feel so much for the characters and they leave you feeling hopeful.
Little Women and Good Wives tells us the lovely coming of age story of the March sisters and their friends. When I was younger I thought I was a lot like Beth-shy and I had a keyboard (though never had any skill)- but Jo was always my favourite character and Laurie. (I am more like Jo because I am also a writer and I have a temper which I have learnt to manage.)
Each character has their own identity and you can’t help but love them all. I do feel that the emphasis on religion puts me off, but need to remember that in the time and country that this was written in religion was a lot more prevalent than today.
In Little Women the girls are trying to behave well and bear the absence of their father who is at war, they learn lessons about themselves about their bad habits/qualities. They seem to always be trying to improve themselves or to help others to live better and sometimes when one character is lecturing another it can be preachy, morally not religiously. Not all of the book is like this though, (the parts where Jo tries to master her temper show the loving relationship between mother and daughter and there are other instances) sometimes I wonder if the author wrote this to deliberately teach children how to behave, other times I just love the story and it doesn’t bother me.
Some of the advice in the story is not good advice, when Jo starts writing stories about crime and fantastical stories the author seems to think that this is not the way to go but today many people write this type of story. However I need to remember again when this was written and maybe the stories were not stories like I enjoy today but silly stories.
Other than those two faults I can’t really criticise this story. It begins with the sisters when they are children about to blossom into young woman and we follow each one in her journey to adulthood. It ends when they are all adults and have found their paths in life. Reading the book has made me appreciate the tv adaption more now I know how faithful it was to the book (I forgot that Jo actually does take Beth to the sea). The film had to shorten things to fit it in, sometimes not for the best but I will still enjoy it, especially since it encouraged me to read the books.
I have Jo’s Boys and Little Men but they are abridged children’s books. I also want to read Anne of Green Gables as I read it when I was young but never all the books. The next classic book we’re reading is Bleak House.
Tried so hard not to give any explicit spoilers!