Re-Reading Little Women

by C. Margery Kempe

I re-read Little Women this weekend. One of those chance remarks on social media added to the luxury of my flexible schedule, led to me sitting down and reading it cover to cover. Despite reading it on the Kindle app on my iPad, it took me back to all the other readings of the book. As my friend Karen said on Twitter, it’s one of those “sacred books” that holds a special place in many hearts.

Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — how many of us have laughed and cried over their adventures since Louisa May Alcott published the first volume back in 1868? Countless numbers. I first read it in what I discovered later was an expurgated version that had all direct references to religion removed. For such an essentially moral story, the actual references to religion are few, but still jump out at me because of that novelty.

I suppose an awful lot of writing women first got their courage for the art from the lively adventures of Jo. Does “genius burn” for you, too? I always loved her wild tales for the Daily Volcano — I suppose my own racy romances and lately gruesomely dark crime stories are equally sensational thrillers. Unlike Jo, I don’t feel guilty about my lurid tales or feel they put me in any kind of moral jeopardy.

But I sighed and cried all the way through the book: the impossibly kind family especially Marmee — always understanding, always so wise — the painful lessons of poverty, the envy of those who had an easier time of it and the ambition for a better life — and yes, finding true love. I think there was an extra level of interest for me in the idea of sisters, having only brothers. Sometimes I really longed for a sister or two to confide in.

What are your Little Women memories? Who’s your favourite character? Did you sigh for Laurie — or for Professor Bhaer?

Black Rock Pier, Salthill, Galway

About C. Margery Kempe

A writer of erotic romance: see my website, for a taste of my work including free stories, book trailers and more.
This entry was posted in C. Margery Kempe, Characters, Emotions, erotic romance, inspiration, Kit Marlowe, What Are You Reading?, What inspires you?, Writer's Life, Writing Topics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Re-Reading Little Women

  1. Jenna Jaxon says:

    I sighed for both Laurie and Mr. Bhaer! I remember reading the Abridged version and being so excited to find the Unabridged! More was better. I always identified with Jo–because she was how I wished I could be. I’m actually still ticked that Jo didn’t end up with Laurie–I guess Jo was more mature in the end than me, though I certainly understand the charms of an older man. 🙂 Thoroughly wonderful book! Excellent post!

    • cmkempe says:

      I know what you mean! They both have their appeals and I suppose, not being one to deny myself anything, I have had fun over the years, but now I see a lot of Herr Professor in my Scotsman.

  2. Don’t hate me … but I never read it (she said, hanging her head in shame). But it must be wonderful if after reading it and re-reading it you still sigh and cry. I will add it to my list of classics to be read.

    • cmkempe says:

      Move it to the top of the list, Gerri. There’s something essential in Little Women that informs the whole field of women’s writing since the 19th century. I’d be very surprised to find that you don’t love it.

  3. My daughter has a Madame Alexander Little Women doll collection, including Marmee–in fact, she had called me Marmee, her special name for me.
    A friend of mine, Gabrielle Donnelly, wrote a book about a new generation of Little Women, the imagined lives of their descendants. It’s called THE LITTLE WOMEN LETTERS. Well worth the read!

  4. This book is a classic, but alas, I’ve only seen the movie. =( It is a movie that I will always love, however, and now that you bring it up, I can’t believe that I haven’t read the book! In anycase, thank you for this peek down memory lane. I need to hunt down a copy of Little Women now. =)

    • cmkempe says:

      Oh dear, I hope not just the most recent one! The waifish Winona was sooooo wrong for the part. Katharine Hepburn probably made the best Jo, but none of he movie versions quite caught it. OMG I saw a bit of surely the WORST adaptation yesterday: a made-for-American-TV version with Susan Dey as Jo. Simply dreadful!

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