I read Little Women every year—sometimes twice a year, sometimes even more. It’s just another one of my quirks, I guess, that I find a 19th century parable about how to be a good little woman so entertaining and memorable.
Because that’s what it is, right?
I’ve read countless blogs and reviews and NPR stories in which women re-read Little Women as adults and say, “Jeez, what did I ever see in this?” And their daughters think the same thing. On the surface, I think they’re right. Little Women seems to be nothing more than “moral pap,” as Louisa May Alcott herself described it. But is there more to it? I think yes.
And so, in the spirit of my best friend Ale, who is currently blogging about her misadventures with existentialism while reading The Stranger, I will be blogging about why Little Women is more than just "pap" as I re-read it for the hundredth time.
Seriously, this might be the hundredth time. I never really started counting, but if the poor beat-up copy I have could talk it would probably recite a list of every time it cringed in fear as I picked it up and tossed it in my backpack, my carry-on, or that little pocket in back of the car's front seat.
Anyways, that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t expect brilliance or PhD style insight; I just want to read it in a new way and see what I find. Maybe I won’t find anything at all and I’ll end up assigning meanings to things that are really not meant to be anything but themselves, like all of our elementary school Lit teachers seemed to do. I promise to try not to; nothing is as annoying as calling a slipper a symbol of housewifeliness or something equally ridiculous when the slipper is, in fact, just a slipper.
Now, I had the ridiculously romantic notion of starting my hundredth rereading during the first (real) snowfall of the season, but this won’t work because a) that might take a very long time to get here, considering the fact that it’s 62 degrees out today and is supposed to stay in the 50s and high 40s for a while, and b) when it’s snowing I will probably want to be outside catching snowflakes on my black gloves again and marveling at the fact that ice is falling from the sky, not to mention that once it snows enough there is a prime sledding hill right outside of my dorm. So maybe when the temperature hits the 30s I’ll start it off.
Ok, enough of me sounding like a lunatic.
Whatever the case, Little Women is, in my opinion, a book best enjoyed snuggled up in a blanket with the heater turned up and a cup of tea in hand— or in this case, a notebook.