Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Little Women

Most recent read: Nice To Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers.  

Like many young girls, I read Little Women when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade.  I loved it and went on to read Little Men and Jo's Boys as well.  When I was 13 or 14, I took a trip throughout New England with my parents and we toured Louisa May Alcott's home in Massachusetts.  I loved the most recent movie version when it came out, and purchased the DVD sometime in college.  I always watch it around Christmas time, but find it comforting any time of year.  

This is all to say that I already loved Little Women and was familiar with the story, but thought it would be fun to listen to it again, so I bought it from iTunes for my iPhone.  I first bought it because my sister and I were going to be driving to Dallas from here house, which was a several hour drive.  We ended up just talking the whole time, so I started listening about two weeks ago when I got home.  It was over 20 hours long-at least!  And it was so good!  There were so many little parts that weren't in the movie that I had forgotten.  Some were familiar from my previous reading so long ago, and others seemed completely new.  Listening to it was a really fun experience as well.  The reader was excellent and before long I could tell who was speaking by her voice changes before the speaker was identified.  I know some people who look down on audio books, but I think they're fabulous.  Certainly not a replacement for real books, but such a joy on long car trips, or while exercising, or even just lying in bed in the dark.  I don't normally do classics via audio books, but Little Women was perfect, especially since I had already read it.

One of the main things that impressed me this time around was the complexity of the stories, emotions, and characters in the book.  While it is certainly appropriate for young people to read, I couldn't help but think as I was listening that I must have missed so much the first time I read it.  Alcott wove such a beautiful story-I hope that more adult readers are revisiting this classic as well.  I want to go and get a copy of the other two now.  I seem to be entering an intense Louisa May Alcott phase.  I want to read Little Men and Jo's Boys, first and then reread Eight Cousins and A Rose in Bloom.  I loved those two as a young girl as well.  Eight Cousins was the first book I remember being so attached to that I was really sad when it was over.  Then I was delighted to find A Rose in Bloom, the sequel.  I am also dying to read An Old Fashioned Girl, which I have never read.  Then I may need to take a break from Alcott.  

This whole experience is making me think about what other books I need to revisit from my childhood.  I reread The Giver and Number the Stars in college for my children's literature class.  What other ones do I need to read again?  What were your favorites from childhood?  Have you reread any of them?  Which would you recommend now?

What about Louisa May Alcott?  Any lesser known gems that need to be read?


WhimsAndInconsistencies said...

My favorite book from that age was I See the Moon by C. B. Christiansen. I got it at a book fair or something I think and I'm not sure if it was every really popular but it's a beautiful story that I've been meaning to re-read. It's been over a decade since I last read it but there are still moments that stick out to me and as I type this, I choke up thinking about the moment when the main character sees the picture of the house with the rose-covered trellis and when they're all in the circle and she says about how love is a circle...*sniff sniff*
I might have to re-read that this weekend!

A Love Fatal Love Chase is an excellent Alcott gem!

Caitlin said...

I'll have to look into that one. And the Alcott suggestions as well. Although I've been having a hard time finding any books by Alcott other than Little Women right now.