Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 531
Interesting Re-Imagining of a Classic
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jo March is less than pleased with her publisher, who has not only made her artificially sweeten her novel, but has saddled it with the diminutive title Little Women. Still, her family desperately needs money, since her father still has not returned from the war, since he is helping with Reconstruction in the South. In real life, Beth has died, although she was allowed to live in the book, and Jo is struggling with reconciling her family's real life with the fictional one that has garnered critical acclaim as well as a healthy fan base. Meg is not engaged, but is interested in Laurie's former tutor, but insists that she will marry a wealthy man in order to secure her family's finances. Amy is young and generally unhelpful. Jo struggles to write, and is glad of Laurie's friendship. When the two travel to New York, it is obvious that Laurie is interested in more of a romance, but Jo is not. Or is she? She tries to set him up with a wealthy socialite, and sets to work on her much anticipated second novel, but has to decide how she really feels about her long time friend.
Good Points
The authors are clearly fans of Alcott and do a fantastic job of including details from the books as well as making logical projections. Even the slow-paced style is reminiscent of the original books, although the language is modified somewhat for modern audiences. It was fun to go back to this world and see more of Jo's experience with being a published author. I was always more of a fan of Professor Bhaer, but there are a lot of Camp Laurie believers, and this will make them very happy.

Adapting older books to modern times sometimes adds layers to the characters that aren't there in the original, but I was really pleased with the handling of most of the situations. My only quibble was that there seemed to be a lot of travel back and forth to Boston and New York that seemed a little unusual for the March/Alcott family, but is within the realm of possibility.

I don't know how many middle and high school students read Little Women these days (in my library, it is very few!), but this is a good choice for fans IF they were disappointed that Jo turned Laurie down. Readers who liked Baratz-Logsted's Little Women and Me or were intrigued by the graphic novels that place the characters into a modern day setting might find this to be interesting as well. This stands on its own as a historical novel, but is better if one is familiar with the original.
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