In this part of the book, we meet the family for the first time. As I mentioned in my introductory post, I read an abridged version of the book many times as a child so I thought the girls were familiar to me. I remembered headstrong, passionate Jo and peaceful Beth right, but in my head Meg was more mature than she appears at the start of the book, always going on about dresses and looks. Maybe it's the film-Meg I'm remembering rather than the book-Meg?
As for the plot, Little Women as a whole is divided into episodes that teach life lessons. In chapters 1-8, the girls learn that poverty is relative, Beth overcomes her shyness to make a new friend, Jo's temper and refusal to forgive leads to Amy burning her manuscript and Amy learns that there are consequences to breaking the rules at school. Much of these chapters were taken up with Jo becoming friends with Laurie and his introduction to the family as a whole. I love Laurie as a character; he's quite loud and boisterous but capable of great sensitivity towards Beth too. There is one section where Alcott writes that Laurie is always nice, but then he only ever shows his pleasant side to the Marches (or words to that effect!), that promise some interesting chapters later on.
One of the questions Risa posted was 'have you a favourite sister yet?' and I most definitely do. Although I would like to think of myself as calm and peaceful like Beth or creative and passionate like Jo, I'm more of an Amy. Before you all start writing me off as a spoiled brat, what I mean by that is I was the youngest sister too. Much of Amy's 'bad' behaviour comes from her desire to catch up, to do what Jo and Meg are doing. The scene where she throws a tantrum about not being allowed to go to the theatre reminded me of all the times my big sister got to do something first and I remember how jealous I was! You never feel like you will catch up when you're Amy's age, although age becomes irrelevant later. I think Amy gets a bad rep sometimes, burning Jo's manuscript was appalling but Amy is always ready to own up to her mistakes and ask for forgiveness and she can be very generous. Beth is almost too perfect to relate to so I appreciate that Alcott created a human, flawed character in Amy. I will be cheering for Amy all through this read-along!
I'm looking forward to reading the next third of the book next week. We are reading the original Little Women only (half of the American version), so I'm going to go straight on and read Good Wives/ the second half afterwards. Reading the book brings on a cosy feeling which is just lovely after a long day at work.
Risa's discussion post