Disclaimer – This post contains major spoilers for Book – Little Women. Read at your own risk.
Some books stay with us long after we finish the last chapter. Little Women is one such book for me. I read and re-read it many times while growing up. I always loved the first part and absolutely hated the second part.
This book made me realise that hate is not too different from love. They both lead to very strong emotions. There are so many books I read and completely forgot. If you ask me today I won’t be able to tell you anything about those books. For some even I could not remember if I read it or not. Little Women can never be one such book. It demands permanent space in memory. And the emotions it generates ensures that the memory becomes that much more vivid.
The first time I read this book, I got transported to a different era and place. It was a dream-like world for me. Girls with curls and pretty dresses playing on frozen lakes. It was so different from my life but at the same time, it was so easy for me to become a part of their daily shenanigans.
For me, the book is about Jo and her struggles. Her sisters were nothing more than mere side characters for me. So when at the end of the book I find Laurie marrying Amy, my anguish was very well justified. It was bad enough that Jo and Laurie didn’t end up together but to add insult to injury, he married Amy. Every time I read the book, I hate Amy that much more. And now by association, I hate Laurie too.
For a long time, I wished I had stopped reading the book when the first part ended. That way I would have saved myself from a lot of heartbreak.
This book made me start to wonder about the story and how disappointed I was with the ending. I don’t know exactly when it happened but I started thinking about how I would have ended the book if I was the writer. This book in effect made me start yearning to write books I wanted to read.
I started writing because I wanted to read good things happening to my favourite characters. This book made me start spinning stories inside my head. I started wondering different ways the stories can shape up with the same characters if only they made some different choices. This was much like overthinking different ways my life could have unfolded if I made some different choices.
I read fiction to learn how to navigate reality. It gives me a chance to learn how to react to different inputs and what will be the consequences of my every reaction. It’s like a safe space to practice real life.
Little Women may not have anything remotely resembling my real life but still, it taught me about different human emotions. It made me realise how desperately I want a happy ending for characters I am rooting for. It also showed me that life doesn’t unfold the way we want it to. It takes its own twists and turns and leaves us to adapt and accept.