Life goes on, Never stopping for anyone. Once in a while, You can’t help but wonder, If things hadn’t changed. A deep seated need to reconnect, An emotion you cannot comprehend. You can only wish for another chance, Make things right but you can’t. This is a part of the journey, Even if you don’t like it.
– Louisa May Alcott
I saw the Little Women movie recently and I realized how many things from the book I have forgotten since I read it years ago. So, I decided that I will re-read Little Women. There were some aspects I remembered and some I didn’t but I enjoyed reading it nevertheless. Little Women is a story of the March family focusing on the four daughters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The story is set in Concord, Massachusetts in 19th century.
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The story is divided in two parts. Part one begins in the year 1860 when Mr. March volunteers for the Union army and leaves his family behind to join the civil war. This part of the story follows the lives of the March sisters during this year. Jo is assisting her aged aunt March. Meg and Jo go to a part at one of their rich neighbors where Jo meets Laurie and his grandfather along with his tutor John become a part of the March family. Beth contracts scarlet fever and Amy is sent to live with Aunt March as a precaution.
The part two is set three years later. Jo is earning money by getting her stories published in New York and working as a governess at a boarding house where she meets German professor Bhaer. Meg is married to John and they have twins. Amy is in Europe with Aunt March where she is learning art and meets Laurie there. Beth’s health starts declines and Jo comes back home to take care of her sister.
The majority of the story is told through the eyes of Jo. The character of Jo is so relatable. She is considered too bold and outspoken and tomboyish in those times but all that makes her more likable. The difference between the four sisters is clear from the beginning Meg is traditional, Jo is bold, Beth is shy and Amy is vain and can be self-centered. The themes of familial and romantic love run throughout the story and they are touching. Marmee (Mrs. March) is such an amaing role model for her daughters and all of them share a good bond with her; the can talk about everything and anything with her.
The favorite part of the story for me will always be the dynamic between Jo and Laurie. The first time I read it, I had cried and well some things don’t change. They seem so perfect together and I felt so bad for Laurie when Jo rejects him. Her concerns are completely valid but it is still heartbreaking and I never expected it happen. When Jo confesses to Marmee how she is not in love with Laurie in any romantic way, it’s a hard pill to swallow. The whole journey of each of the character is satisfying as you get to the end. The point in the story where Beth dies is so emotional and devastating to her family and the readers.
I was a little shocked by the pairing of Laurie and Amy but it in a way it makes sense. The story ends on a somewhat of a happy note. Beth’s death leaves a huge impact but rest of the family band together. Jo gets married to Professor Bhaer. Mr. March is finally home. Aunt March leaves Jo her mansion where she and Bhaer open a school. In the end, Marmee’s 60th birthday is celebrated with her husband, her three daughters, their husbands and her five grandchildren.
Little Women is one of my favorite books but strangely this is only the second time that I have read it. I love the flow of the writing and the story. All the characters add something to the story and are well rounded and relatable. Jo is my favorite. The story is happy and sad is equal measures I feel.
Perfect Regret (Bad Rep #2)
– A. Meredith Walters.
I have read quite a few books written by A. Meredith Walters and I really enjoyed reading all of them. Perfect Regret is the second book of the Bad Rep series. I didn’t read the first one because I didn’t think I’ll like it. It didn’t make any difference at least I think it didn’t that I read this book as a standalone novel.
Riley Walker is a self-assured and ambitious individual. She has all these plans about her life and she makes sure to work towards it. Riley gets dumped by Hunter who she thinks was a perfect person for her and that makes her second guess herself. Garrett Bellows is a lead guitarist in a band and is drifting aimlessly in life. He is the kind of person Riley can’t stand and they don’t get along very well but tolerate each other for their friends’ sake. Garrett and Riley hook up after a party and Riley immediately regrets this but things start changing for her.
I liked the characters of Riley and Garrett. They are opposite of each other but when they are together it makes sense. They are not as different as Riley believes them to be. Their love story unfolds in a cute and natural manner which I liked. The reservations Riley has about Garrett at the beginning about his behavior and lifestyle choices seem justified concerns. She sticks to her guns and can be too stubborn at times but she doesn’t come off as completely unreasonable at any point.
Garrett’s character had much more depth than I thought he would have. He seems typical in the beginning but as the story progresses there is a whole new side to him. As you go ahead, I could understand and sympathize with some of his actions and why he seems purposeless in life. Riley can be mean to him at times and you do feel bad because he doesn’t exactly deserve this behavior. The way the story is written, the chemistry between the characters is palpable from the beginning. The emotional connection that they develop happens so naturally.
I loved reading this book. Riley and Garrett both have their own issues and baggage which they learn to deal with individually first and then together. The story is relatively simple and straightforward but the characters are complex, layered and sometimes, completely relatable. I liked the pace of the story and the fact that there was no unnecessary drama. I know this is a story I’ll reread over the years
From the moment we met,
My heart became happy.
The way you smiled at me shyly,
Made my days colorful.
Just being around you was enough,
No need for empty words.
Knowing you for a short while,
Yet it left a mark on me.
I still think about your smile,
And the way your eyes brightened.
Those smiles made my heart flutter,
Like they were reserved only for a few.
I will always wonder about your smiles,
Were those smiles for everyone or just for me?
My reading list for this month so far.
1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
I read this book almost 6 years ago. I loved the book but never re-read it. I saw the Little Women movie recently and I realized how many details from the book I have forgotten. So, I am going to read the book again this month. I loved the characters and their relationships with each other. The story has subtle emotional undertones throughout which I like because it’s not explicit for the reader all the time. I am excited to read it for the second time.
2) Perfect Regret by A. Meredith Walters.
This book is part of the Bad Rep series but I am not planning to read the one before because I don’t think I’ll like it, guessing by the description. So, I’ll read this one as a stand-alone novel. I started reading it last night and I read 5 chapters at once. I like the characters and how natural the flow of the story is so far. Not reading previous book is not an issue; I didn’t feel lost because of it. I am intrigued to see how the story unfolds as the plot moves forward.
3) 1984 by George Orwell.
I wasn’t able to finish this book last month as I had planned. I read it less than I anticipated because it can get heavy at times due to its dystopian elements. It’s very interesting and engaging but I am not being able to read the book at a stretch. I will finish this book before I properly start the other ones. Hopefully, next week I will post a review of this book.
– Jennifer Crusie
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie is a contemporary romance novel. I found the description of the book intriguing and different so I decided to read it. The book is about a 33-year-old woman named Minerva Dobbs. She decides to go on a date with Calvin Morrisey knowing he has made a bet about asking her out. Once she agrees to dinner, the story takes off and things change for her.
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The story starts when Minerva is dumped by her boyfriend David in a bar where she ends up meeting Cal. Min overhears Cal talking about a bet which involves her. Then the plot unfolds in a witty and sweet way. Minerva is such a great character. She is not the “ideal” romance heroine; she is plain and chubby which is not common for a romance novel. The struggles of her character regarding her issues are portrayed realistically by the writer. Her struggles to feel comfortable in her skin physically and mentally evolves in an organic manner. At no point, any character evolution seems forced in the story.
The underlying theme throughout the book is about body positivity. Min struggles to accept the standards of beauty set by society and her mom. In the beginning, she is constantly worrying about her eating, trying to fit in a particular dress for her sister’s wedding. As the story progresses Cal helps her feel comfortable with herself. Cal and Min are unique characters with their wicked sense of humor and quirky personalities. Cal’s character seems typical at the beginning of the book but there is so much depth to him as the story moves ahead.
The subplot of David and Cal’s ex, who is psychologist keep plotting to sabotage Min and Cal’s growing relationship. The theories of Cal’s ex Cyn were annoying after the first couple of times and it didn’t make sense to me. I felt that this subplot was not completely resolved as Cal never understands the whole reason behind Cyn’s pursuit of him. Even the supporting characters have distinctive voices and play a part in taking the story ahead.
The character interaction is so vivid and cool in the way it is written. The dialogues are sweet, funny and sometimes downright sarcastic. The outlook of Min and Cal towards love is practical; Min is more of a cynic in that case. She doesn’t expect fairytales or happily ever after and is calculative about everything she does. They both share somewhat dysfunctional relationships with their families but it isn’t over the top. The author doesn’t depend on drama for the story; the conflicts that do arise are not artificial in any way. The coincidental meeting between Min and Cal are so endearing to rea
Bet Me is the first Jennifer Crusie book I read and I liked her writing style. It is quick-paced, with no unnecessary drama and humorous. The romantic relationship between Min and Cal develops slowly and steadily; it is cute to see them falling in love. You can’t help but root for the characters and relate to them every now and then. The book is witty, sarcastic and fun to read from start to finish. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t finish it fast enoug
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Gaŕcia Marquez.
I have read Of Love and Other Demons and short stories written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez before I finally picked up this book. One Hundred Years of Solitude was on my to-be-read list for a long time but I was a little hesitant to actually start reading it. I read some 50 odd pages of the book last year and kept it aside and didn’t touch it again till last month. I had to skim through the previously read pages as a refresher and I am glad I did that otherwise I might have been utterly lost going ahead.
The story of One Hundred Years of Solitude spans for more than a century with seven generations of the Buendia family. It is tricky to explain all the characters in this books as they are many of them and they have same names; I don’t think its possible to explain the plot of the story in brief but I will try to give an overview. It begins when Jose Arcadio and his wife Ursula leave their hometowns to look for a new place to settle. They are the original settlers and founders of Maconda; Jose Arcadio dreams about this place and they build the town. Jose Arcadio is curious by nature and he is obsessed with scientific pursuits and immerses himself completely in his work. Jose Arcadio and Ursula are cousins and Ursula has been warned that incest will eventually lead to a baby being born with a pig’s tail.
The novel is wonderfully written. The magical realism of the writing and the story is what kept me intrigued as I read. The descriptions of the atmosphere and the landscape of Maconda paints a picture in your head as you are reading. You can imagine the town vividly which helped me stick to the story because I could see it play out properly in my head. The element of magical realism shines through the story and the way it progresses seems completely organic. The political and social upheaval in the story is mirrors the reality of our society. I have never read any books before which have the element of magical realism the way it is present in this novel.
The characters, the character traits and their names are repetitive in the story. At first, I had trouble keeping up with all the names and it didn’t exactly get easier as I progressed. Jose Arcadio, Amaranta, Aureliano specifically are names repeatedly used by new generations. It seemed confusing but then I realized that it is on purpose. The Buendia family is stuck in the same old circle of mistakes and decisions through generations. For example – the incestuous tendencies in the family are also present in generations and they end up in incest relationships no matter how hard they resist they can’t break the cycle. The personality traits are also similar in different generations like Aureliano’s are shy and self-reflective, they like being in their own company.
All the secrets that are kept by the family about parentage due to incestuous history end up being the reason that sixth generation Aureliano and his aunt Amaranta Ursula end up marrying when they are unaware of their familial ties and their son in born with a pig’s tail. Its very difficult to explain the themes and story of the book because it is vast and complicated. The family which keeps going in circles and interpretations of time and space in the story are some aspects are understood as I was reading. I might need more time to completely understand the story and all that it encompasses.
There were time where I really had trouble reading this book and I wondered if I should finish it or not. I am glad I stuck it out in those patches because in the end the story comes to full circle and it is intriguing. There are so many elements of the story that I feel went slightly over my head and I’ll have to read about it later. I enjoyed reading the book in parts as sometimes it was slow and I lost patience. I liked the book and the story and the writing but I don’t think it’s a book I’ll pick up again at least not anytime soon. Reading this book is a completely different experience but in a good way.