365 Days of Women Writers

Women writers only – no boys allowed

Day 22: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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I started reading this when I off sick with the lurgy this past week and I’ve been pecking away at it bit by bit on the Tube this week and finished it up this morning. (It was quite a lot longer than remembered.)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read the book and I was surprised to find that I had completely forgotten the second half except for the general sense that Amy marries Laurie, Jo marries the guy with the beard and Beth dies.

It quickly became apparent why I’d blocked out the second half – it has double the moralizing and half the charm of the first section. Instead of the March girls earnestly trying to conquer their faults, we have some tedious moralizing about how Margaret was a spendthrift and spent too much time and attention on her children and not enough on her husband.

Even Beth’s death is a bit of a yawn and not nearly as affecting as when she has scarlet fever. There are some good bits, particularly between Jo and her future husband, but all in all it is rather a slog.

The first half is still lovely (even with the moralizing.) The ridiculousness of the limes, the burning of Jo’s book and the fall into the ice (which rings very true in Jo’s impulsive failure to tell Amy about the thin ice), Jo’s haircut, the gift of Beth’s piano and the sad bits – when their father is ill and when Beth gets scarlet fever.

I like all their rough edges which a mostly worn away by the second half. And that’s a pity

Written by Chance

October 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm

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