Tag Archives: Little Women

Thoughts on the New Little Women Trailer

Little Women is one of those books. It is the literary gateway drug that for many young bookworms (myself included). I remember reading an abridged version of the novel when I was around eleven or twelve. I loved it then and almost thirty years later, that love has blossomed into a life long affection.

The trailer for the reboot written and directed by Greta Gerwig was just released earlier today. Stepping into the iconic, universal and beloved roles of the March sisters are Emma Watson (Meg), Saoirse Ronan (Jo), Eliza Scanlan (Beth) and Florence Pugh (Amy). Supporting and sometimes bumping heads with the March girls are Marmee (Laura Dern), Laurie (Timothée Chalamet ) and Meryl Streep (Aunt March).

As a friend stated on Facebook, about this trailer and the film’s potential success, ” If anyone can top Winona’s Jo, is DEFINITELY Saoirse”. I have an incredible amount of love for the 1994 adaptation, but if this version can top that love, I will love this film forever.

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Little Women Play Review

Little Women is one of the true classics of American literature. Louisa May Alcott‘s 1868 novel has been the favorite of many readers (myself included) since it’s debut 150 years ago.

A few weeks ago, Little Women, written by playwright/actress Kate Hamill premiered at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City.

Stepping into the roles of the iconic March sisters are Hamill (Meg), Kristolyn Lloyd (Jo), Paola Sanchez Abreu (Beth) and Carmen Zilles (Amy). The narrative of the play follows the narrative of the book: The March sisters are growing up and coming of age in Civil War era Massachusetts. Meg is responsible, but also yearns to be fit in. Jo is the rebellious tomboy who dreams of becoming a writer. Beth is shy, preferring the company of her family to the company of strangers. Amy is spoiled and impulsive.

This play is brilliant. As a fan and a playwright, Hamill understands how to adapt a beloved classic for this generation. She has also hit on certain underlying subjects within the narrative that have been overlooked in the past.

One of my favorite aspects of the play is the non-traditional casting. In choosing actors that are not all Caucasian, this adaptation speaks to all of us, regardless of skin color.

Though I will warn the some purists may have some issues with the choices that Hamill made as a playwright.

I recommend it.

Little Women is playing at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City until June 29th. Check the website for showtimes and ticket prices.

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Best Books Of 2018

I’ve read quite a few books in 2018. Below is the list of the best books of 2018, at least from my perspective.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama: Mrs Obama’s autobiography is insightful, down to earth and one of the best autobiographies that I have read in a long time.
  2. House of Gold by Natasha Solomons: House of Gold was described by another reviewer as a Jewish version of Downton Abbey. I couldn’t think of another description if I made it up myself.
  3. Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A modern-day Pride and Prejudice set in New York City, this Jane Austen adaptation feels old and new at the same time.
  4. We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters by Elizabeth L. Fox: The story of a marriage during World War II told in a series of letter that will make you believe in love.
  5. My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
  6. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
  7. American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives by Anthony Atamanuik and Neil Casey: Based on the character created by Anthony Atamanuik on The President Show, it is a what if story in regards to the fictional Presidential library of you know who.
  8. Not Out Kind: A Novel by Kitty Zeldis: Just after the end of World War II, two women from vastly different worlds meet in New York City and forever change each other’s lives in the process.
  9. Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux: 150 years after the publication of Little Women, the book still resonates with readers across the globe and across the cultural landscape.
  10. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict: Behind every genius is a supportive and loving spouse. But what happens when the spouse is denied her own genius because she is a woman?

That’s my list, what are your favorite books of 2018?

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Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters Book Review

For many a young and old literary nerd, Little Women is treasured classic.

2018 is the 150th anniversary of the release of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel of four young women coming of age in the mid 19th century.

The new book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, by Anne Boyd Rioux, tells the story of how Little Women impacted both American and worldwide culture over the past 150 years.

Little Women was a smash when it hit bookshelves on September 30th, 1868. Since then, the book has become ingrained into the public consciousness. In her book, Ms. Rioux explains how each era viewed Little Women. She also writes about how modern feminism and modern female writers have used pieces of Little Women when creating their own works. Specifically, Ms. Rioux explains how Little Woman lives today in new characters and narratives. Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls all have something in them from Little Women.

I will warn that this book is not for the virgin Little Women fan. It requires the knowledge that only comes via multiple reading and multiple viewings of the various adaptions. I really enjoyed this book. It could have turned out to be just another dry academic book detailing the history of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. Instead it is  lively, entertaining and reminds its readers why Little Women continues to be relevant 150 years after it was initially released in bookstores.

I recommend it.

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Little Women Character Review: Aunt March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

If we are lucky, we have older relations who love us and want the best for us.  But that doesn’t mean that they are always right. In Little Women, that older relation is Aunt March. Aunt March is the wealthy and widowed Aunt by marriage of Mr. March. She is also very opinionated and not afraid to share her opinions.  The reader is introduced to Aunt March when we follow Jo to her job as her aunt’s companion. They get along like oil and water.

It is Aunt March who continually harps on what she believes to be her nephew’s poor decision-making abilities. She also nearly breaks up the engagement of Meg to John Brooke. John is just poor tutor without connections or a large fortune and according to Aunt March, an unwise choice of a spouse.

Though she is critical and not afraid to speak her mind, Aunt March is not heartless. She takes a shining to Amy and encourages her to develop her artistic abilities. She also leaves her home, Plumfield to Jo after her death.

To sum it up: Aunt March maybe a cantankerous and stubborn old woman, but that does not mean that she puts money above family.  I think when writers create characters like Aunt March, there has to be a balance between the smart-mouthed old biddy who thinks she knows everything and the woman who really does care, but it doesn’t come out in a direct fashion. It’s just a matter of knowing when to reveal which part of the character’s personality.

 

This will be the last character review post for Little Women. The next group of characters who will receive a character review in two weeks is…….I’m not telling you. You have to wait and see. 

 

 

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Little Women Character Review: John Brooke

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Romance is wonderful. It is a magic, it is light, it is hearts and flowers, etc. But behind that romance is commitment and more often than not the commitment is harder than the romance. The commitment requires patience, compromise and the willingness to work on the relationship with your spouse or partner.

In Little Women, Meg March, the eldest of the March daughters is the first to marry. In her time, a young lady in her position was often advised to marry up. A rich man to call husband was the goal. But Meg, despite her quiet and compliant nature, follows her heart. She marries John Brooke, who is introduced to Meg and the audience early in the novel. At this point, he is earning his bread as a tutor. His pupil is Teddy Laurence, the boy who lives next door to the March family.

At first glance, John does not appear to offer much to Meg, especially looking through the lens of the 1860’s. He does not have the money or the connections of other men. He is humble and quiet. Both he and Meg know that when they marry, they will have comfortable, but modest life together.

To sum it up: Sometimes, when a writer is creating a romantic narrative, they may go a little over the top. For a certain type of story, going over the top is fine. But for others, going over the top is unnecessary. The best romances are the ones that reflect reality and the difficulty that often comes with being in love with another person and trying to make a relationship with that person last. The relationship/marriage between John and Meg continues to inspire readers and writers because it is grounded in reality. That reality, regardless of how far out the narrative is, is one of the keys to pulling in an audience/reader and keeping them in that place until the story is done.

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Little Women Character Review: Professor Friedrich Bhaer

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Sometimes, the best romantic relationships/marriages are not formed by the thumping together of two bodies, but of the melding of two minds. In Little Women, Professor Friedrich Bhaer is introduced towards the end of the novel. In his early 40’s, Friedrich is German émigré who is raising his orphaned nephews. Earning his living as a tutor, he meets Jo March when he is staying at the boarding house where she is working for the owner of the boarding house as a nanny.

Both are intellectual, have a good heart and find in each other the mental stimulation that will become the foundation of their relationship. While they start off as friends, Jo and Friedrich will go on to have two sons and a happy marriage. But not before they have a few disagreements in regards to Jo’s writing.

To sum it up: romance can start in a number of ways. It doesn’t always have to be the ooey gooey love at the first kind. It can be the relationship where the couple starts off as friends who are intellectually inspired by one another before it becomes sexual or romantic. As a writer, I prefer that type of romance because it feels organic and natural. But that is a decision that every writer must make for themselves.

 

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Little Women Character Review: Margaret “Marmee” March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

A girl’s first role model is her mother. More than providing food, shelter, warmth and clean clothes, a good mother does her best to guide and teach her daughter as she grows up. In Little Women, Margaret March, the mother of the titular heroines is known to her daughters are Marmee.

When the audience is introduced to Marmee, she is for all intents and purposes, a single parent raising four teenage girls. With her husband is fighting for the Union, Marmee is doing the best she can with limited resources.  While she is a practical woman who completely understands what needs to be done to keep her family going, she is not without a heart. Early on the in the novel, at Marmee’s request, the family gives their Christmas dinner to another family who has much less than they have.

In a certain sense, Marmee is a modern mother. She is not a helicopter parent, and allows daughters to make mistakes, even when she knows the mistakes are preventable. While she completely understands that her girls must marry one day, Marmee is not the matchmaking mama who throws her daughters at every eligible man in sight. She wants them to have solid marriages to men who respect and love her girls in the way that they deserve to be respected and loved. She also wants her girls to stand on their own two feet, well, as much as they could in the 1860’s.

To sum it up: In creating Marmee, Alcott understood the impact a mother has on her daughter. While Marmee, like anyone, has her weaknesses and difficulties, she does her best as a mother. Many times in fiction, especially classic fiction, mothers are dead, forever embarrassing their children or emotionally absent as a parent. Alcott broke the mold, creating a mother who while thoroughly human, is being the best parent she can be. That is what any reader or child could ask for.

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Little Women Character Review: Laurie Laurence

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

First love is an experience that stays with us always. While it is more than likely that the relationship does not grow beyond youth, that person will always have a place in our hearts. In Little Women, Theodore Laurence, known as either Teddy or Laurie, is the boy next door. He has been besties with Jo March for years and has secretly been in love with her for most of their friendship.

On paper, Laurie would be a good match for Jo. The world that Laurie and Jo live in is still ruled on a certain level by social rank and income. The Laurence family, being of a higher social rank and a higher income than the March family, would be a step up for Jo. But despite Laurie’s best efforts, Jo turns him down. She understands that their marriage would not be a happy one. Laurie initially sulks like a school boy after Jo turns him down, but ends up going to Europe. While is Europe, he reunited with Jo’s younger sister Amy, whom he does fall in love with and marry.

To sum it up: Sometimes, as we grow up, we have figure out who is best for us. We may wish, hope and pray that our first love, whomever he or she will be, will be our last love. But for many, learning that our first love will not be our last love is often a painful growing experience. As writers, when creating this experience for our characters, it is incumbent that we demonstrate why this couple is not meant to be. If we do not demonstrate why this couple is meant to be, the writer has not done his or her job and leaves too many questions unanswered.

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Why I Re-Read Little Women

We often come back to our favorite books because it takes us back to a comfortable and happy place.

Recently, I finished re-reading Little Women.

Published in 1868 and written by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women is the story of the four March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy), growing up and coming of age in Civil War era New England. Meg is the proper eldest child, Jo is the tomboy, Beth is the homebody and Amy is the diva.

As the sisters grow and mature, each faces her own challenges on the way to adulthood.

Little Women still resonates because none of the sisters completely fits the stereotype that she is based on. Many readers (myself included) will also see themselves in more than one sister and may change who they relate to as they themselves grow and mature.

The book, at its heart, is about the relationships between the sisters. They have their fair share of disarrangement’s, but at the end of the day, the girls know that if there is no one else to turn to, her sisters will be there.

Alcott also wisely decided to make the marriage plot secondary. While, Meg, Jo and Amy do eventually marry (I won’t give away what happens to Beth if you haven’t read the novel), the narrative is not solely about the girls finding husbands.

And that is why I re-read Little Women.

 

 

 

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