I adored the new adaptation of Little Women. Though it wasn’t flawless (the jumping from current time to the past became jarring and tough to follow near the end), I think it did a brilliant job of portraying the humanity of the story.
The characters came across not just as characters, but as people.
The difficulty with so many period pieces, whether in film or in books, is that we tend to filter the characters through the time and let the time define them, instead of just allowing them to live in that time. We have this idea that there were social rules back in the day and therefore, everyone followed those rules. But is that realistic? No. Just like there are many living now that look at “society’s rules” and roll their eyes, there were certainly plenty of people throughout history that said thank-you-but-no-thank-you to the idea that they had to act a certain way.
Louisa May Allcott was a woman raised by revolutionary parents. They were abolitionists and even harbored a run away slave at one point. Her mother was a feminist and instilled in her daughters the desire to right the wrongs of society. And since Little Women has many parallels to Louisa’s own life, it makes perfect sense that her characters were not ones to sit idly by and let society tell them what they should think.
So I truly appreciated how each sister, and really all the characters, were each given a fully rounded personality, and individual motives that drove their actions.
Beth is quiet and still the most difficult to really know in this version, but I loved the relationship between her and Jo. There was give and take. There was teasing and gentle prodding from her. And when it was just her and her sisters, she was able to let loose because they were her safe space.
Meg was much more multi-faceted than I’d seen her before. She wanted the nice things. She wanted to be pretty. She loved fashion, and that often butted up against the fact that she and her family had very little money. I loved that she and John had difficulties in their marriage. That was much more true to the book than I’d seen it before. And it once again made her seem like a person instead of a backdrop for Jo.
I loved Amy in this one. I was really not a fan of how she was portrayed as an adult in the 1994 version. In this new adaptation, she was portrayed not as snooty and uppity, but as a woman who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it. She puts Laurie in his place, not because she thinks she’s better and wants to look down on him, but because she adores him, and when she sees him not living up to his potential, she says so, to his face. She is practical at the same time that she is passionate. She demonstrates so perfectly the plight of women at that time. Yes, she wants to marry for money, and she so eloquently explains why.
Jo, of course, is the rule breaker who constantly defies society. She wears comfortable, almost androgynous clothing. No corset for her. Her relationship with Laurie is clearly a brother/sister bond. They even share vests and other clothing pieces. They love each other, adore each other, but not as lovers. Their fun and play—especially the dancing scene—is so filled with personality. And the honesty shown in the dichotomy of her truly not wanting to marry and yet being so lonely hit me in the heart. Humans aren’t simple. Our emotions aren’t simple. These characters are people living lives instead of characters filling rolls.
Their mother isn’t portrayed as perfect. No one is portrayed as perfect. They are all beautifully flawed. Three-dimensional. Multi-faceted. Complicated. Good and bad and lovely and ugly.
Exactly what ALL characters should be.
And now I shall get off my soapbox and tell you about some books. There’s one new release and a couple of deals. I haven’t had a chance to read any of them, but all are clean, so if they strike your fancy, give them a try!
My Sweet Enemy Rancher is a new release from Emma Sutton.
Hallie’s Hero is a small town romance by Renee S. Clark. It’s on sale for $0.99 right now, and it’s available on KindleUnlimited.
The Vacation Cottages by Sophie Mays is also just $0.99 to buy and is available on KindleUnlimted.
I’m going to do a separate announcement for this on Thursday, but I figure if you’ve made it to the end of my newsletter, you deserve a head’s up. For those of you who might have been waiting for All That Stands Between Us to be available to borrow on KindleUnlimited, wait no more! It’s now part of the kindle lending library, so read away and then give it a review on Amazon.