Little Women by Louisa May Alcott tells the story of the March sisters all growing up during the United States Civil War. Together they share in adventures, love, and the changes that bring them from girls to women. The novel takes place over many years and we really get to know each sister and see where her journey takes her.
It’s an absolutely beautiful story, written with fantastic language, depth, and detail. I felt connected to the sisters from the first page and routed for them, celebrated with them, laughed with them, and cried with them.
The novel is quite a bit longer than I anticipated–over 400 pages. But the story draws you in and keeps you turning pages. I love the way Alcott gives each chapter its own tale within a tale.
I could picture myself among the sisters sitting around the fire, knitting and repairing socks and handkerchiefs, smiling at the gentlemen across the ballroom, sitting up with sick sisters late at night, making up games and performing plays, longing for travel and wealth. But ultimately understanding that family and friendship and love are worth more than anything money can buy.
I always fancied myself like Jo. We both love writing, reading, travel, and value family and friendship. I suppose this stems in part from me also identifying with Elizabeth Bennett and her fire, independence, and dreams.
But I found myself identifying with each of the sisters–and perhaps with Jo least of all.
I connect really well with Meg–the eldest daughter who dreams, most of all, of a family and home of her own. I can identify with her as she learns how to be a wife and mother, how to love sweet John Brooke and to show it too. I love her little home and the blunders she finds herself in there. I love their love.
Beth is so kind. Perhaps how I connect with her is how I want to be more like her. I want to live more completely for others and help others. I want to give selflessly and love fully. If, at the end of my life, I’m not rich or famous or popular, I want to feel like my life meant something in a small way.
I was most surprised to connect with Amy. I appreciate how hard she works to become a lady and to build real friendships with those around her. I appreciate her genuineness. I like that she works to be proper and polite, and then she is rewarded. I love that she goes to Europe and experiences a different world. And I love how she loves Laurie. Because he deserves a deep, satisfying love. She gives him that and keeps him doing the right thing.
Perhaps it all comes down to Laurie for me. I love his character. I love his fascination with the March sisters and the easy way he fits into their circle. I love that he doesn’t criticize their games or imaginations. He joins them. And really, I love that he loves Jo from the first moment he saw her. And I hate that Jo never could love him back that way. What I love most about Laurie is his sense of duty and his intense love for others. He makes his grandfather proud, married (perhaps) the true love of his life, and continues to be kind and charitable to the March family. He turns out quite well.
This story hit close to home for me with a house full of sisters all growing up together. I saw myself in this book and I saw my family and friends. I hope to be as good a parent as Marmee and as good a friend as Laurie. I hope to continue to love my family as well as Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy. I hope to build a home that is a refuge, a safe haven and a place where love abounds.