Review Detail

compelling historical fiction
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
SO MANY BEGINNINGS is an enchanting remixed tale of LITTLE WOMEN. The book transports the reader to the Freedman's Colony of Roanoke Island in the 1860s, where the March family has settled during the war. Each of the family has a job to do to keep things running, and their father is away helping with another colony and then later with the war itself. Their mother aids the soldiers with their correspondence, while Meg teaches in a tent (the white missionary teachers get the actual classrooms), Jo helps with building homes while she composes writing in her head, and Beth works at sewing garments to fit those newly arrived. Amy is still young, but she contributes where she is able and dances as much as she can.

As the book continues, each of the four sisters come into their own, finding their place in the world and who they want to be. The context of the book, the time period and starting location offer a unique perspective into American history, which is not often taught but was well-researched herein. A remix of the original, the personalities of the March girls were preserved, while offering new and deeper insights into their lives and the times of the Civil War.

There are many truly thought-provoking themes that would make this a great pick for a classroom or bookclub, especially when combined with history lessons. Abolitionists may be trying their best, but they often make decisions and give their thoughts as white people rather than asking the Black people around them for the truth of the matter. Jo writes to give voice to herself and those around her, but her writings are not appreciated or accepted by white people enough because of the stereotypes of what they believe she must sound like (ie, her tone and word choices seem educated). These prejudices and racisms are themes of the book, along with those of medical disparities, privilege, the enduring echoes of slavery, and, of course, the love of sisters.

Similar to the original, I loved the ultimate beauty of sisters and their love for each other that shines through the story. The personalities of each of the sisters and some key side characters is captured so well. I appreciated that this story is otherwise wholly its own, with an unpredictable plot and unique settings from the original. I particularly liked the changes around Amy, Lorie, and Beth, without giving details/spoilers. I really enjoyed the way the story all came together and found this to be a well-written historical read.

SO MANY BEGINNINGS is a compelling and well-researched remix of LITTLE WOMEN that I highly recommend.
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