On the third Saturday in July, I bring you another guest post in the Re-living the Classics series. In Re-living the Classics, you send me your reviews of your favourite classic which I publish as guest posts.
Review of Little Women
Guest Post by Debolina
Do you remember what we did when we were young and did not have the likes of mobile phone, Facebook, iPads and others modern gadgets…we READ!
We still read, but somehow I feel the charm of reading evergreen classics like The Tale of Two Cities, Treasure Island, Pride and Prejudice, Gone with the Wind and others, will never stimulate a young reader’s mind today like it used to do for us. Reading books back then, was like creating a universe of imagination around us. The words were like moving pictures, which created and left memories and emotions in our hearts.
One such classic novel, which still lingers in my mind is the Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Four sisters, a mother, a backdrop of the Civil War and their relationships and dreams made a unique plot, depicting a modern-day woman, at least back in those times. It was like the first look at a ‘new woman’, who is ready to break free of the shackles of social prejudices and gender discrimination to make a mark for herself.
What is it about: The plot involves four sisters and their mother during the Civil War. The March family consists of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, Mr. and Mrs. March. Mr. March is off to serve the nation as a war hero. Mrs. March also visits him once in a while. The story deals with the lives of the four sisters- Meg, the beautiful eldest sister ad her admirers, who used to teach children in a family; Jo, the tomboy of the family and a talented writer, who helped her wealthy grandaunt; Beth, the musician, who meets a tragic end and Amy, the youngest with curly hair and a charming character. The author has beautifully crafted each and every character. As the story advances, new characters come into their lives- how they influence them and how they interact with them. As the story comes to an end, it summerizes the lives of the characters and where they stand at the end of the novel. This is based on the author’s real life and her family to a certain extent.
What I liked about it: I might have read the abridged version of the novel, but the first thing, which touched my heart is the simplicity of the characters and the story. It felt so familiar as if I knew the March family. There was no royalty or fantasy. It beautifully brought out the nuances of the life of a family torn between war and reality. It talked about love, passion, struggles, devotion, death, happiness and emotions. Being a single child, it brought forth the picture of siblings and their relationships. I imagined how would it feel to be part of the March family. It also spoke about the socio-political environment and the stature of women in the society, which was about to change. It was overwhelming to read about simple emotions of simple characters that I could relate to as a child. I was very fond of Jo in particular, because of her bold personality and of course her flair for writing. I remember this as one of my inspirations for writing. It left me with lovely memories of the characters, yet a desire to read about the next generation.
What it led to: The popularity of the book, encouraged the author to pen down sequels like Little Men, Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out (a sequel to Little Men). Little Women and Little Men have been made into several movies and television series. A 1994 flick starring Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst was a wonderful adaptation of the book.
About the Author: Born in 1832, Louisa May Alcott became famous as an American novelist. She was a support for her family, who had gone though several financial difficulties. She has also written under the pet name, A. M. Barnard. Some of her other works include A Long Fatal Love Chase, The Mysterious Key and What It Opened, Under The Lilacs, to mention a few. Her commemorative stamp was released by the United States in 1940.
Final Verdict: A lovely saga of sisterhood, womanhood, society and relationships. It is like a well-knit tale of loved ones and how family sticks together and help each other through happiness and hardships. A simple illustration of the tides and times through the eyes of an ‘all-woman’ family. A nice read for those, who like to read about family ties and chemistry among women, bonded by the love of sisterhood. Readers will surely love the flow of emotions and situations, which makes it an engaging storyline. Probably, one of those books, which a mother can handover to a daughter or a sister can gift her sibling or a woman can share with another.