Wednesday, October 9, 2013

First Week of October: Reading--Little Women PART TWO?!

After I finished Vein of Iron, I went to our library to look for another book and decided I wanted something pretty easy that could be read quickly. I remembered that the Little Women series had Little Men and Jo's Boys as well, so I picked up our copy of Alcott's collected writing to read one of those additions to the Little Women story.  I was surprised that I discovered Little Women part 2, or "Let's get them all Married so they can have babies and the story can continue". I'm not sure how I missed this--I grew up with Little Women dolls and the the book.  I was under the impression that the book ended with all of them teenagers--not 20 somethings looking for husbands!

Alcott's stories aren't the best in children's/young adult literature.  However, the charming story of the March Family is well worth reading, and if you, like me, did not realize there was a Part 2 to Little Women and have a rainy Saturday afternoon, I recommend picking it up to read.  Is it perfect? No.  Is it dull at some points?  Yes.  Does it sometimes make you roll your eyes?  Maybe.  But on the whole, you get more of the same March sister characters and get to see them become more well-rounded women.  Amy chills out and becomes less superficial, and Jo keeps her fiery spirit but learns to try to control it.  Of course, both of these characters do so through marriage--but whatever, I'm not going to get into some feminist rant, blasting Alcott for making her characters mature because of their relationships with men.  In fact, I don't think this is that bizarre or horrible--from my own experience, I became much more mature and well rounded through my relationship with my husband.

Tangent Alert! And with that, we'll say upcoming Spoiler Alerts....

The romance novelist reader in me got a little upset because of the ultimate pairings of the March Sisters.   We all hope that Laurie and Jo, being best friends and all, will grow up to be the most passionate of lovers.  But that doesn't happen, despite Laurie's multiple attempts and ultimate heartache.  Jo ends up with an old German professor and Laurie get's sloppy seconds with Amy.  Now ultimately this works out, the characters of Jo and Amy pair better with their ultimate partners, but I have to admit I was hoping for some passionate declaration of love on both Jo and Laurie's part.  This doesn't happen, and when you wake up and realize you are still reading Alcott and not Danielle Steele, you are ok.

Probably the most beautiful, if not predictable, part of the book is Beth's Death.  We all know she's too good for this earth, too sweet, too kind, too frail, too angelic in every sense of the word.  Her scare in the first part of the books was the climax and crux of the novel, and her demise and death in the second part is a growing up point for the sisters.  In a way, Beth dying is a way for them to see beyond themselves.  But Alcott's description of how Beth fades away is beautiful, peaceful, and sad--but not at all terrible or even heart wrenching.

A Note on Meg:  She is married from the beginning of the story and plays housewife.  She really becomes the "comic" relief of the novel--making us laugh with the attempts to be the perfect wife and hostess despite her inability to make something simple like preserves. See here for my attempt!

Expectations for Little Men and Jo's boys aren't high.  I'm sure the stories will be very similar to Little Women 1 & 2, and I wonder how far Alcott can take these characters and squeeze more interest out of them.

It's Fall now, so I've picked up Dickens. Updates later....

No comments:

Post a Comment