Sunday, October 18, 2009

Little Women
It was one of those books I swear I read years ago. But while channel surfing a month ago I came across the 17th film version of Little Women and had the urge to read it "again." I was even thinking of making it my book group choice, until I realized it was 475 pages long.

Anyway I picked it up at a bookstore (I also swore I owned a copy) and jumped in.

Hmmm.... First off, I can see why it's a classic. It's quite charming, sweet, and engaging. In a mad dose of PMS I even cried a bit (and if you tell anyone I'll break your arm). But in spite of the fact that, as a movie fan, I've seen every adaption it was surprisingly annoying. I'm just too cynical to believe anyone is that damned good. Every one of the March girls is so self-sacrificing, selfless, reverent, brave, thrifty and every other Boy Scout virtue that after awhile it began to wear on me. Sure they have their moments of petulance, rebellion and ego. And yes none of them are perfect. But it's hard for my modern, atheistic mind to deal with their goodness. It's also difficult for me to let go of my 21st century belief that the highest calling for any woman is to be a wife and mother.

In spite of all that I enjoyed the book and am glad I finally read it. But It was hard to relate to the concept of these spirited girls al l giving up their dreams to marry and have children. And they didn't even really give up, the just sort of realized that their true happiness lay in marriage and motherhood.

I suppose in their generation it did. And, in fact, that was how my antediluvian mother raised me, which is, perhaps, why I had such a strong negative reaction to their fates. But the strange fact is even knowing from all the movies that Jo gives up writing to marry her Professor, it still disappointed me.

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