Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A different type of biography -- a biography of a book, Little Women.
This had a quote that really stuck with me: "Our culture prefers girls to stay small, young, and full of potential." I thought of how true it is; and how often I see young girls cheered in the media, then condemned as the move from full of potential to making a choice.
So, of course, there is a short biography of Louisa May Alcott; and her writing; and the publication history of the book. All we "know", that the four girls are Louisa and her sisters. But the fiction is also pointed out: the setting is not when these girls were actually teens, and the family is more stable than the Alcotts, and what happens to the March girls doesn't mirror what happens to the Alcott daughters.
The publication history gets into editions, including how the original was basically a year in the life of the teenaged March sisters; the sequel spanned several years, bringing them into adulthood and marriage and motherhood.
This also dives deep into the adaptations as plays, in radio, on TV, on film. I want to watch them all, now, comparing them -- because it is so fascinating to see how the era when a film is made influences how the book is adapted, what is highlighted, what is omitted, what is added (and how often what is added dives into Alcott's own life.)
Yes, this is for Alcott fans. But, it's also a look at how art is created, and why; and how a story is interpreted and reinterpreted over and over.
Tuesday, April 06, 2021
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