Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Briefly: November's Re-Read

I'm re-reading Little Women - for the first time ever. I read it at age 10 or 11, and never went back to it. I'm not sure why; I think it may have been a little religious for my taste?

The fun part so far is that I assumed everyone was a Jo, everyone loved Jo the most, and everyone wanted to hang out with Jo - but now, in my (ahem) old age, I'm seeing that in fact, no - Jo is not the only way to be. That's something new to contemplate. The ways I was Jo, or am, and the ways I'm not, or wasn't - it's the classic standby in literature for young women that divides a personality into characters, giving us a lens through which to grow. That never stops being enjoyable, no matter how old I get, and it's nice to get Alcott's lesson almost two decades after it was intended!

The other bonus is that I don't really remember what happens (other than a few major events), so it's a combination of nostalgia and discovery - a more pleasant November re-read, I can't imagine.


  1. Oh, I loved Little Women so much as a child that I re-read it every year for many years. I think that child-you was on to something though, because Jo really IS the hero of that story, and I did want to be Jo, loved her the most, wanted to hang out with her, etc. The problem is that I knew I was NOT Jo and it made me sad. Other than a love of reading and writing, I had nothing in common with her. I was not a rule-breaker or a tomboy or impulsive or any of those other things Jo embodies. I was much more like boring Meg. Where is the children's book where the practical, timid, and obedient child is the heroine? (Hmmm...Jo=early type of manic pixie dream girl?)

  2. Jen- Maybe Austen's Persuasion is the triumph of the timid, obedient girl?

  3. Hmmm. I think I have read Persuasion. But I don't recall much about it. Is that the one where she just waits patiently and eventually the sea captain comes back to her? I went through a spurt where I read all of Austen one after another, and now things have blended in my mind. Plus--I'll be honest, in spite of my little rant above--the timid, obedient girl is not generally the one who is most interesting to read about :)

  4. Yeah, pretty much. She doesn't exactly wait patiently though. Really she gives up and resigns herself to being depressed about how young and foolish it was for her to have listened to her "friends" in the first place when she broke off her engagement to him so long ago. "all the privilege I claim for my own that of loving longest when all hope is gone." Eventually he does come back and eventually they get up the courage to admit to each other that they're still in love. Anne Eliot is actually my favorite Austen heroine besides Elizabeth Bennet of course. And Wentworth is a much more admirable man than Darcy I think.