Little Women – Review-ish

UNRELATED :: omfg, it’s the first of February… Mum and I just had a pinchy-punchy fight. I lost.
Pretty sure we looked like demented crabs clapping our fingers, circling each other and jumping back and forth.
I wonder if everyone at school has a sore arm, lol.
((We’re not abusive, it’s “Pinch-and-a-punch-for-the-first-day-of-the-month… and-no-returns-of-any-kind”))

I recently got my bedroom into wonderful order – I moved all my furniture, put in a tv, dvd, vcr and n64 (oh dear, I sound spoiled), emptied out my scrapbooking shelves and moved the shelves on top of my dresser to hold my books.
After all my books were unpacked and looking pretty (although a few were bent from being in boxes T-T), I thought I might read through the ones I haven’t read yet.
So, I have a collection of Goosebumps, Jean Plaidy, and H.G Wells to go through, along with randoms like To Kill A Mockingbird, Enemy Mine (which I just started last night), and you guessed it, Little Women.
My copy of Little Women looks like a library reject from a school in Victoria, for it’s filled with stamps and lil envelopes, and it’s held together with staples and sticky tape.

Anyway, if you haven’t read Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott yet, even though it’s an incredibly old book and the spoilers aren’t very exciting, don’t read after the jump!

I spent most of the awfully hot yesterday finishing the book.
I had read about 3 chapters of it some time ago – I think I stopped because the stapled spine pinches the pages very close together and sometimes you miss the last two or three letters of a word.
That didn’t stop me this time, although sometimes I held it so stretched apart to read I thought I’d rip it in two.

I read the short biography-ish at the beginning of the book, about the writing of Little Women, and about how it is based on Louisa M. Alcott’s  real family experiences.
Differences being, that the father was not in the war, but apparently was a man that tried to help unfortunate people, and lost his fortune helping out a friend.
Old Mr. Laurence represented their grandfather, and Laurie’s personality was a combination of two friends of Louisa’s.
The real Alcott sisters were named Anna, Louisa, Beth and May – The March sisters of the book were named Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
So Jo is the book version of the author.
Beth’s name stayed the same – Beth died in real life, and so I imagine this book is some kind of tribute to her.
I had thought Beth would die at the end of the book, but she didn’t, instead she recovered from her Scarlet Fever – I don’t know if this was because they wanted a happy ending, or if she dies later.
Perhaps she will, sadly, fall ill again in the sequel – Good Wives, also known as Little Women Part II (which I haven’t got).

As far as I can tell, my copy of the book is from 1978, and it was apparently originally published in 1868.
I like this edition because it has illustrations, just a few every now and then, like when Amy has to stand up for the rest of her class, and Jo gets her hair cut off.
I also liked all the cute little details in it, like the newspaper, which was printed out in the book like a real one, and the letters and poems and Amy’s Will.
I thought it was funny that Hannah’s letter to Mrs. March was, well, written out in an accent.
“Cal’k’late”.. heehee.
And Amy getting her big words confused was hilarious.

Jo and Beth were definitely my favourite  characters, as they’re probably supposed to be.
I loved Jo always going on about things being ‘unmanly’, and poor Beth was adorable.
A few things in the book were so sweet or sad I almost got teary.
The whole thing with Mr. Laurence and Beth was so cute, but I was sad when I read it because I still thought Beth was going to die.
And little Beth having to hold that baby while it died – all because of her stupid, selfish sisters.
Although, if they had gone, everyone would’ve gotten Scarlet Fever.

Now, on to things I didn’t like.
There are two things that bug me.
Number one… I don’t remember right now, so I’ll get back to that.
Number two… THE ENDING.

The very end of the book itself wasn’t bad, everyone was happy, whatever.
But I found Mr. Brooke’s proposal to Meg to be absolutely revolting.
It was just wrong, heck, it was sick and wrong.
I do not believe Meg was ready to get engaged, and I don’t think her parents should’ve approved – they even said themselves they didn’t want her to get engaged until she was 20.
But Mr. Brooke randomly assaulted her with his proposal, and she didn’t even love him yet, she just didn’t know what to do!
Him calling her ‘Margaret’ and ‘dear’ was completely inappropriate and pressuring – I liked him up until he behaved like that.
When he asked if she loved him, she said “I don’t know”, and when she said she was too young, he said “I’ll wait”… well, no, no you’re not, getting engaged to a 17 year old isn’t waiting.
Then he said that crap about “Learn to love me” – that’s not how love works! People might love anyone if they choose to, but it should be a gradual, natural thing, not something you’re trying to do, or feeling like you SHOULD do.
He, as Meg realised and was pissed off about, was completely assured that she would accept.
He was taking it for granted.
She DOES care for him, but she’s just not sure, and maybe doesn’t feel strongly enough.
She was telling him to leave her alone and not ask her again, although towards the end she was faltering, but if Aunt March hadn’t interrupted I think she might’ve rejected him – at least until she was older and surer of her feelings.
But then she accepted him, meekly and almost in a submissive and defeated way, just because she wanted to defy her aunt and be rebellious, and probably because she felt bad about saying contradictory things to him and her aunt – telling him to leave then referring to him as ‘her John’.
The ending of a proposal should be a overjoyed acceptance, with hugging and kissing, or a flat yet polite refusal, not a weak little “Yes, John” and then hiding her face in his coat.
That doesn’t sound very happy.
I’m with Jo on this one.

Back to number one, I really can’t remember what that was.
I got a bit frustrated when they talked about God, but that’s not really an issue with the book, it’s an issue with me, lol.
I really liked Mrs. March before she mentioned him, though… shame.


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