It’s the classic love story. Boy meets girl. Girl turns down boy. Boy marries girl’s youngest sister while they are travelling in Europe.
This post is, admittedly, way overdue. Sorry ’bout that. Seems to be a pattern with me lately, doesn’t it? “Stop apologizing, Catherine, and show us you’ve changed through your actions. Your apologies for late posts mean nothing to us now. We’ve heard it all before.” Yes. I know. And you are right to feel that way, dear readers.
But I’m here now, and I’m going to tell you about my experience reading Little Women (LW).
LW was a decent read. It flowed surprisingly well and was relatively easy to get through considering its length. I didn’t even have to resort to an audiobook for this one! Go me!
Much like my experience reading Jane Eyre, this one was a bit weird because I went into it with a lot of spoilers. This time, though, it happened by mistake. Somehow, I’d managed to avoid gaining any significant knowledge of LW in my life. Before reading it, I knew it was about a bunch of sisters and one of them (maybe all of them? I wasn’t sure) liked to read and/or write. That’s it.
Then the 2019 movie came out and the cast looked awesome so I ditched my traditional bowl-selection method and picked up LW. It had an introduction. I read it. I don’t know – blame it on my MA training. Pre-MA Cat would have blown past that shit. Post-MA Cat was all, “OoOoOoOo an intro – I should gain some critical insight about this book before I start reading it.”
So I read it, and it told me all the things.
***WARNING: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
Now that I’ve given you the spoiler warning I never had…
The intro told me:
- That Jo and Laurie don’t end up together
- That Beth dies (and how she dies)
Those are the biggest plot points, so I missed out on a lot of the tension and dramatic build-up that readers would have enjoyed. Oh well.
So, knowing the whole time that all of Laurie’s efforts were for naught and waiting for the death knoll to toll for Beth, I embarked on my reading journey.
It took much, much longer than I thought it would for both those things to actually happen. Beth first got sick early on in the book, and I thought, “this is it, this is when it happens.” Then it didn’t! And it was up and down like that for the rest of the book until she did die – I think I got desensitized to it all, because I knew where it would all inevitably lead. So when her death did come it seemed…I don’t know…overdue? Is that a cold thing to say? I wasn’t really moved by it. I’m a heartless monster.
But not as heartless as her family – how did they not tell Amy to come home when Beth was dying?!? My mom didn’t tell me to come home when my dogs died when I was a kid, and she didn’t tell me to come home when my cat died when I was in university, and I’m still upset about it. These people chose not to tell Amy that her SISTER was dying. But they did tell Jo. How do you defend that one to Amy? That’s cold, dude.
Then there was the moment I realized Alcott was building to Amy and Laurie getting hitched. I was unimpressed. What is it with these 19th century boys? Can’t have one sister so you marry the other? How did women agree to this? Oh right – money. It was the money thing. Right.
Nevertheless, modern reader that I am, it was Lydia and Wickham all over again.
I was glad that Jo stuck to her guns and refused Laurie. In the intro, the author explained that this was because LMA said she couldn’t do that to Jo – she was too independent and didn’t want the same marriage ending for her protagonist. But then why marry her off? I wish she would have become a cool spinster author.
Also Jo totally abandoned her lucrative writing career because this man didn’t approve of the kind of writing she was doing. Screw you, Snooty McGee. Writers’ gonna write. Rebels gonna rebel. If you don’t like a woman with some edge, go mary someone named Jane.
What can I say? Obviously the book was better. The book is always better. But I do love the cast of this movie.
The pacing in the movie was weird, and there was no chemistry between Laurie and Amy – that relationship seemed to come out of nowhere (although, this kind of happens in the book, too, so – maybe just a general criticism of the story rather than the movie).
Amy’s character has more backbone and strength in the movie. I appreciated that. The movie also seemed to take a more feminist approach to the story, changing some things (like Amy’s character) to fit that lens. I didn’t hate that. It was kind of great to see Amy yell at Laurier about marriage as an economic proposition when she was defending her decision to marry Richie-Rich-whats-his-face.
Beth’s death was sadder in the movie. I cried – I’ll admit it. I think it’s because I had less time to prepare myself for it (even though I knew it was coming).
Anywhoozles. I give Little Women 5 European elopments out of 7 spoiled batches of jelly.
Image source: Goodreads