February 25, 2016

Little Women Read Along :: Discussion Post :: Chapters 1-17

Bet y'all didn't realize that I've been participating in a read-along of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott this month, huh? Mainly because this is the first I've mentioned it here! I meant to post something at the end of January so I could invite some of you to join in, but...well.....obviously that didn't happen.
Still! I've been a little behind on the reading and WAY behind on the discussion posts. Yet here I am! Ready for part one. :)

{Click over to Suey's post to find out more!

What's your opinions so far about each of the girls? Do you identify more with one or the other of them? Do you like them, or do they get on your nerves in a way? Which one do you think would be your friend?

I like them! They each can be a bit annoying, but then so can we all, right? I'm not sure I really identify with any particular one of them. I mean, I tend to be quiet and shy, like Beth, but I have my loud and opinionated moments too, like Jo. I'm sure I've even had moments of envy, like Meg, and most definitely I've annoyed my older brothers, like Amy, by being the youngest and the only girl. So maybe I should say I identify with all of them? :) I think I'd be friends with Beth though, at least at first. Because Jo and Meg would intimidate me and Amy would perchance annoy me with her "airs".

What do you think of Mrs. March aka. Marmee? What's one of your favorite pieces of advice or lessons she's taught the girls so far?

I LOVE Marmee!! She's an amazing woman, keeping a household going with her husband being gone and keeping her girls in line. The latter of which I think is quite the job! I love that she can see the individual gifts and good that each girl has and seeks to draw it out of them. I do believe my favorite bit of advice (or in this case, lesson) that she gives the girls is when they have that week of no work. Especially that final day where she disappeared and they had to do everything themselves! I love that she doesn't force anything on them, she tends to let their own choices teach them. In fact, they most often have to learn the hard way, so to speak. Plus she leads by example. She "practices what she preaches".

Do you think that the characterization of these girls and this family is realistic? Explain.

It certainly feels so to me. I have no sisters, so I can't speak precisely, but I do have three brothers and life at home while I was growing up was busy and crazy. With boys hither and yon and me trying to tag along as much as I was able. The chaos of home life and the way Alcott describes it makes it feel incredibly realistic. I read (and heard some of the other ladies reading along with me say this) that Alcott based the girls on her own family. If that's true, then that leads me to believe she understood exactly what she was writing about. And I think it shows.

On the other hand, I also think she probably embellished a little. It is fiction, you know. :) And while real life has lots of happy moments, we're not guaranteed a perfect happiness nor a "Marmee" with good advice.

What's your favorite scene or incident so far? And why?

Hmmm. I think I have several favorites, to be honest. (Big surprise, right?) I like their post office idea and the fact that they continue to use it. I like the way Jo worried for Laurie and wanted to befriend him and how she went about it. I like the way old Mr. Lawrence drew Beth out of her shell and their subsequent sweet friendship! I also love the Pickwick Portfolio idea. So many sweet moments in this book! :)

If this is your second (or third etc.) time reading this story, what stands out to you this time?

This is my first time reading it actually. I thought maybe I'd read it sometime in my younger years, but nothing is feeling familiar, so I must not have. I am enjoying it though!

If this is your first time reading this story, is it meeting your expectations? Or is it different than expected? Explain.

I would definitely say it's meeting my expectation. I was expecting a quiet story (with no big dramatics) about four sisters and watching them grow up. Of course, it did help that I've seen the '94 movie prior to this.

How do you feel about Jo cutting off her hair? Was this incident surprising to you? Do you think it's symbolic of anything?

Like I mentioned above, I've seen the movie, so while I'd forgotten that bit, it came back to me upon reading it. She was willing to step out and do something, which is just like her. She can be quite impulsive, but always willing to do whatever she can to help her family!

What's your feeling about the inclusion of poems, letters, stories, plays and etc. into the story? 

I really like it! It's a fun addition to the story. And as the book feels like it may have been written to young women during Alcott's time, I can see where including the various things would have made it more enjoyable for them. Perhaps even given them the idea to do the same?

Any thoughts in particular on the male characters in this story?

I like Mr. Lawrence! Especially his friendship with Beth. And Laurie is quite endearing.

Are you liking this reading experience? If yes, why? If not, why?

I am indeed! I love that Suey, Kami, and Jenni have encouraged me to read some classics I may not have taken the time to pick up otherwise. And I do love the story! These sisters feel like a small part of my heart already. :)


  1. I'm so glad you are joining us! I knew you'd like this book! It seems like something right up your alley. I think most of us are a mix of the March sisters.

    1. Kami: You clearly know my tastes pretty well, because you were exactly right! :) And yeah, I can see where most of us would be a mix. The sisters are so very different, at least when they're younger (as they grow, they become a little more similar I think). And the differences are much more obvious when they're young.

  2. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I like the movie but the book bothered me for some reason. That's why I chose not to read it again.

    1. Jenny: I can totally understand that! Part 2 definitely inspired some FEELINGS in me. :)

  3. What a fun read-along! I really enjoyed leading one last year -- this book is a lot deeper than I'd remembered from reading it as a kid.

    1. Hamlette: That's right! Why do I always seem to find time for the books you lead a read-along for long after you're finished? One of these days I'm going to join in on one of your current ones. :)

      There is a lot of things going on under the surface of the story, I think. Alcott clearly had the desire to teach the young women reading her story that strong morals and a godly lifestyle were very important. I'm not complaining about that part! I just noticed how she emphasized it quite a bit. It really is a wonderful story for sure!

    2. Um... because you're a busy person?

      Yes, it's got a lot of moralizing -- not too heavy-handed for the most part, but sometimes it gets a bit blatant. But still such a lovely book!

    3. Hamlette: True! But I'd still like to join in with you sometime. :)

    4. Well... I'm planning to start the Jane Eyre read-along in late May, so maybe that one will work out! And if not, there will undoubtedly be more to come :-) I would like to have you participating sometime! Would definitely be fun.

    5. Hmmm. Possibly? I wasn't able to get through Jane Eyre when I started it a few years ago, but maybe a read along would help keep me going. Hmmmm..... And yes! If not that story, then definitely another! I'm determined. :)


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