|Image from IMDB.com|
I have to admit when I think of Little Women the first thing that came to mind was the movie. I've never really thought about picking up the book before, I think the length (500+ pages) always scared me off. Yet knowing that I've enjoyed so many of the books that the ladies at The Midnight Garden have selected thus far, I knew I was up for the challenge. It just took me a little longer then I expected.
If you haven't read Little Women or seen the movie, you should know that there are some spoilers below. Go read the book.
First off, I'm very glad that I read the book. To have missed this would have been sad. What a wonderful story filled with sisterly affection, motherly love and seeing these girls move into being women. The differences between the movie and book are glaring. So much of the charm of the story is lost by having their scenes cut out of the movie. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but reading the book I really learned so much more about the family and these four women. The early parts of the story where the girls are discussing how to make Christmas special for their mother, bringing their breakfast to a neighbor and the beautiful relationship that develops between Beth and Laurie's grandfather over the piano. Things I know I would have missed entirely had I not read the book. I'm usually the type of person who tries to think of movies and books as two entirely different things, and not compare the two, but in this case the book is so so much better.
Beth was the character that I most enjoyed. Shy Beth, who was so caring and kind a lover of music and the one who kept the peace in the house. I loved reading about how she overcame her shyness and went to thank Laurie's grandfather for the piano. I was so saddened by her death in the story, you could see how Alcott drew from her own experiences when writing these chapters. It was so difficult to read her and Jo's conversation before she died. Amy on the other hand was one of the characters that I didn't care for very much. I still can't wrap my head around the idea that her and Laurie ended up together. It bothers me that Laurie thought he could replace one sister for the other in his heart. Something about that just doesn't sit right and doesn't ring true. That doesn't mean that I think that he and Jo would have worked out, they really are so much alike, but no Amy doesn't work for me. Of all the girls, Amy seems to have grown up the least. She never really changes in the story in a dramatic way. Yes, she realizes that women shouldn't marry for money, but it's all superficial things. For goodness sake, Laurie's nose is "a comfort" to her? I know that I would have enjoyed reading Little Women in high school, it has a romantic appeal to it that I would have devoured. With quotes like "I never knew how much like heaven this world could be, when two people love and live for one another" and "Love is the only thing we can carry with us when we go.." Such a wonderful story.