Quite shamefully, I’d never read this book until this year. I’d read the first chapter numerous times but had just never been in the mood to dedicate time to it. However, I swore this Christmas I would find time and upon seeing a readalong for it, I did find time. Simply, I’m so glad I did.
The plot is quite menial really; following 4 sisters who were each wonderful in a unique way. From what other people had said, I was expecting to love Jo. Truthfully, I found her quite annoying in spite of the fact she is a lot more ‘modern’. She did grow on me, quite substantially, but I found her quite frustrating at times. On the other hand, I loved Beth which really surprised me; I can’t say I’m usually a fan of the meek and mild, gentle female. I usually find female characters like that really irritating, but truthfully I found her very endearing. But Jo did grow on me, it would have been pretty bleak if she hadn’t and I can tell how much of herself that Alcott put in to Jo and by the end of the book, I’m glad it was happy for her. Marmee annoyed the heck out of me though. I can understand how in reading this book young, the quotes, morals and lessons she has for every occasion would be charming. Now if I had a mother like her I’d have moved out quite a while ago! She would drive me to insanity.
On a different note, I loved the simplicity of it. Often there are little quirks and underlying titbits that can be overlooked in fiction aimed at girls on the brink of teenager-dom. Not here. This book is so sickeningly sweet and straight forward it was a pleasure to read (once I got in to the ‘language’ which is often a hard thing with a classic). I also listened to some of it on audiobook (on youtube) which I think really helped me get in to the characters; and maybe altered the opinion I would have had on them had I have read it all myself because there was one particular narrator (as it was free it was read by varying people) who really got the personalities of the girls right down, and I think she’s the reason I really liked Beth! She just read all 4 of them so flawlessly it was much easier to give them voices when I then went on to read ‘properly’.
I’m glad I read this, it’s not my favourite children’s classic. I prefer The Secret Garden or Ballet Shoes if I were to pick two books that are comparable to this. But it is a beautiful book, and one I would very happily recommend.