august meme//classics club

Classics Club members are joining in on the fun of the monthly meme questions on the brand new Classics Club website! August’s inquiry is,

What is your favorite classic book? Why?”

Despite my bookworm status, I had no trouble choosing a title. The first book that came to mind was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet read this book and plan to in the future, do NOT read further!! You have been warned ;)

When I was a little girl, my mother read me Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, which, along with the TV series, I still love. I still revisit Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books every once in a while, am captivated by Austen’s Lizzy & Darcy, and adore Montgomery’s Avonlea, but Little Women is special.

I first read the book when I was in the 8th grade, and like so many other girls have done since the book’s publication in 1868, I wished I was Jo March. I’m not much of a tomboy, but I’ve always resonated with her the most, even though, like Meg, I’m the oldest, like Amy, I have my little vanities (although I try not to flaunt them quite as shamelessly as she did!) and like Beth, my castles in the air have always been simple and unassuming. Jo has spunk and an unfiltered love of the simple things of life that makes her completely lovable

But what is most alluring about Jo is the fact that she was an aspiring writer. I started writing my first (and only) novel when I was in 8th grade so I could relate to Jo’s creative dreams. And I so wanted a little garrett space of my own to write in! Still working on that :).

“I’d have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I’d write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie’s music.  I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.” – Jo, Chapter 13 Castles in the Air

And who doesn’t love Marmee? She always had the best advice!!

“I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good; to be admired, loved, and respected; to have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married, and to lead useful, pleasant lives, with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send. To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman, and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience. It is natural to think of it, Meg, right to hope and wait for it, and wise to prepare for it, so that when the happy time comes, you may feel ready for the duties and worthy of the joy. My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world – marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing,–and, when well used, a noble thing,–but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”

“Poor girls don’t stand any chance, Belle says, unless they put themselves forward,” sighed Meg.

“Then we’ll be old maids,” said Jo stoutly.

“Right, Jo. Better be happy old maids than unhappy wives, or unmaidenly girls, running about to find husbands,” said Mrs. March decidedly. “Don’t be troubled, Meg, poverty seldom daunts a sincere lover. Some of the best and most honored women I know were poor girls, but so love-worthy that they were not allowed to be old maids. Leave these things to time; make this home happy, so that you may be fit for homes of your own, if they are offered you, and contented here if they are not. One thing remember, my girls: Mother is always ready to be your confidante, Father to be your friend; and both of us trust and hope that our daughters, whether married or single, will be the pride and comfort of our lives.” – Chapter 9 Meg Goes to Vanity Fair

There’s only one thing that I’ve struggled with all these years: Laurie. It’s taken me a long time to reconcile with the fact that Jo & Laurie didn’t end up together.

“I’ve loved you ever since I’ve known you, Jo, couldn’t help it, you’ve been so good to me. I’ve tried to show it, but you wouldn’t let me; now I’m going to make you hear, and give me an answer, for I can’t go on so any longer.” – Chapter 35 Heartache

Agh!! Poor Teddy! He had his heart set on her :(! This chapter is most properly titled! I’m still not completely taken with Professor Bhaer. Really, I think it’s just the age difference that bugs me! I can handle Jane Eyre’s Edward Fairfax Rochester, but this was tough! However, I do understand why Jo couldn’t marry her best friend. But I suppose that’s a whole other blog post on it’s own!!

I could go on and on about my favorite chapters (like Camp Laurence & Secrets) or dig up even more memorable quotes. I could even write about the different movie adaptations (the 1949 and 1994 versions are my favorites). But unfortunately, it’s already noon and my to-do list is calling my name. Suffice it to say that Jo March is my favorite literary heroine (with Anne Shirley coming in at an extremely close second ;)) and Little Women will forever be my favorite classic book! Goodness! All this talk about the book makes me want to read it again! Good thing it’s on my Classics Club list ^.^.

“Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms, as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility–’Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!’” – Marmee, Chapter 47 Harvest Time

21 thoughts on “august meme//classics club

  1. I personally cannot wait to read this off my list! I remember reading it when I was a little girl, but it has been far, far too long! Thank you for getting me all excited for it all over again! – Sarah

  2. What a wonderful reminiscence of one of my favorite books. It’s another that I’ve read multiple times. I’ve always treasured Marmee’s wisdom, too. And I still, after all these years, cannot read a certain scene without crying. (Don’t want to put a spoiler here, but those who have read it will probably know which one I mean.) My daughters love it too, and have worn out their copy with re-reading.

    • Why thank you! As for spoilers, I’m afraid I already threw caution to the wind with my comments on Joe and Laurie!! I’m pretty sure I know what scene you’re referring to and it always brings me to tears as well. Great book to pass on to your girls! I will do the same if I ever have daughters =)

  3. Ah!!! I ADORE ADORE ADORE this book. I’m currently slowly re-reading it, and I have SO MUCH Alcott waiting on my Nook. My favorite movie is the 1994 Little Women. (Though I also adore the Emma Thompson Sense & Sensibility.)

    GREAT selection. :) :)

  4. What a great choice! I remember being very disappointed that Jo & Laurie didn’t end up together too, I thought the world was very unfair. One of the reasons that this book is so great is that everyone can relate to one of the characters – I want to be a Beth, but in reality I’m more of an Amy!

  5. Fabulous choice! I loved this book as a girl-I had an illustrated version that was falling apart after so many rereads (I wonder what happened to it!). I reread this a couple years ago and again, I was reminded of how much I loved it. I think this had the first character who was so much like me (Jo). I was so used to read books about princesses and girls with long flowing golden hair…it was nice to see Jo, who was beautiful and strong in her own way!

    Glad to meet you through the Club!

  6. Lovely choice and one that was high on my favourites list too. I’ve read it so many times over the years and never fail to shed a few tears.

    • It’s not a book you grow out of. That’s one of the things I love about it! No matter how old you get or how many times you’ve read it, there’s always something to relate to and enjoy :). That right there is the sign of a true classic!

  7. I inherited my mother’s copy of Little Women, and we have read it so many times between us that it is falling apart. Thank you for reminding me just how wonderful it is.

  8. Also a beloved book for me…though I still don’t think I’ve reconciled myself to Jo and Laurie. I know they would have fought and possibly been miserable, but they also seemed so right in many ways! I think the main problem there for me was Laurie’s marriage to Amy and his remark that he always knew he was destined to be part of the March family–and so I always wondered if he married Amy for Amy, or to keep a connection to the family he so craved being a part of. Maybe I’m just being too cynical there though!

  9. I’ve never read Little Women. I tried to, once, when I was maybe 13, and loathed it for some reason. I’ve known I need to give it another try (especially since my niece recently named her daughter after Jo) and your post has convinced me further.

  10. Pingback: Little Women Read Along Begins!! | unscripted

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