Tag Archives: Meg March

March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women Book Review

Little Women turned 150 last year. Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel about the March sisters has thrilled, comforted and inspired multiple generations of readers.

In the new book, March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women, four modern women write about the importance of Little Women and why this book still has an impact on readers a century and a half after it’s initial publication.

Kate Bolick compares her own infatuation with status and physical beauty to Meg’s feelings while attending the Moffatt ball. Jenny Zhang remembers disliking Jo for her lack of femininity as a girl, afraid of being identified as un-ladylike. Carmen Maria Machado shines a light on Lizzie Alcott, the youngest Alcott daughter (and inspiration for Beth) and how important it is for a young girl to control her own story. Finally, Jane Smiley turns the image of Amy March on it’s head. Instead of presenting Amy as spoiled and materialistic, Smiley presents Amy as a feminist who has as much to contribute to the movement as her older sister.

As a Little Women fan, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Each writers puts on her own spin on the character she is writing about. In the process of comparing their lives and experiences to that of the characters, the reader is reminded why this book continues to be loved and cherished.

I recommend it.

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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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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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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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Little Women Miniseries Review

For many young bookworms (especially if they are female), Little Women is one of the literary gateway drugs to other classic novels.

Last night, the first episode of the new miniseries aired on PBS.

Stepping into the shoes of the immortal March sisters is Willa Fitzgerald (Meg), Maya Hawke (Jo), Annes Elwy (Beth) and Kathryn Newton (Amy). Emily Watson plays Marmee and Jonah Hauer-King plays Laurie, Jo’s bestie/the boy next door.

I have mixed feelings about the first episode. Written by Heidi Thomas (best known as creator and show runner of Call The Midwife) was tasked with quite a challenge: condense the narrative as it is in the novel into a miniseries. While she hit all of the right narrative notes (including not making the story too sweet and allowing all four of the March sisters to share the spotlight), I just felt like something was missing. While I completely understand this is a miniseries and not a feature-length film (but then again, not all film adaptations of beloved books adhere 100% to the narrative in the source material), I just feel like something is missing.

Do I recommend it? Possibly yes.

Episodes two and three consecutively on May 20th at 8pm EST on PBS. 

 

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Little Women Character Review: Meg 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.

There is something to be said about birth order and personality. In Little Women, Meg March is the oldest of four March girls. The March family is today what we would call middle class. They are not super wealthy, but they are not poor either. The book starts as The Civil War rages on, the girl’s father is fighting for the North. To supplant the family income, Meg works as a governess for a local family. Like many first-born children, Meg often acts as a secondary parent to her younger sisters.

But that does not mean that Meg is perfect by any stretch of the imagination. She is still growing up, trying to figure out who she is and how she wants to live her life. Along the way, she lets her wealthy friends turn her into their personal makeover project and eventually marries John Brooke (who shall be discussed at a later date), who according to Aunt March (who will also be discussed at a later date) is not an appropriate match.

To sum it up: Archetypes are one facet of character development. But the archetype is only the skeleton of the character. It is up to the writer to flesh out the character and make them feel alive. Meg March feels alive because despite being the archetypal responsible and level-headed first-born, she still has her imperfections and her faults. That is why audiences and readers still keep going back to Meg and the rest of the characters in Little Women more than a century after the original publication date.

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