Tag: family

Book Review: Little Women (Louisa May Alcott).

Little Women

– 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.

Disappeared – Short Story

I sat in my room, a bunch of pictures sprawled all over the bed. I didn’t know why I had this sudden urge to take out all the old photographs. I spent the last hour finding the one I wanted. When I saw Ben today, I couldn’t help but think of her. I use to hang out with them sometimes, just the three of us; me, Ben and her. There are so many unanswered questions. It’s been years.  It’s an unsaid rule in our family; whenever we meet no one asks about her. No one even mentions her. I don’t like it, acting like she didn’t exist because she mattered and she was real. She was a very important part of my life. I think about it from time to time, I want to know what happened. “You have to learn to let things go.” she always told me. But I couldn’t let it go, not without knowing what really happened. I have spent a lot of time revisiting that day hoping each time I might find something, some clue…

“You’re late.” I said the moment I saw her. She rolled her eyes at me. She thought I was the silly one that I expected her to be here on time when history said otherwise. “I am on time. You are early.” She said and took my arm. “We should do something different today. Hmm I know, I’ll take you shopping then we will go that lake you like so much. We’ll take some sandwiches along, have a picnic.” I was a bit shocked. She always wanted to do something epic, her suggesting we do something normal made me a bit uneasy. Then she giggled, “I am just kidding. Oh, Jen, you are so easy to tease, that’s one of the reasons you are my favorite cousin.“  Yup, back to normal. My cousin, Clara, never gave a second thought about anyone’s opinion.  People thought she didn’t care but I knew her, she cared too much. She did what she wanted; she had big dreams about her life that often was the reason for her conflicts with her parents. Being just one year apart we had always been close. I wish I could have said something that day, anything that might have changed her mind. She became quiet next to me, too quiet. “Something wrong?” I asked.  She was my best friend. I knew she would tell me when she was ready but she never did.  She gave me a serious look and then smiled, “Nothing to worry about little sis. Let’s go. I have an awesome day planned. “She shrugged it off, changing the topic and we spent a crazy day together. Every moment spent with Clara was crazy and her enthusiasm so infectious. Little did I know those were the last moments I would ever spend with her?

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I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. That was the last day anyone ever saw her. I was the last person to her. Her parents called the next evening asking us to send her back home. She told them she was spending the night at our house. Her parents became frantic, they went to the police, filed a missing complaint. They called all her friends to see if she was with anyone if they had any information. No one knew a thing. She was gone, just vanished. For months we all were disturbed, every time the phone rang, we thought it was her. But she never called. It’s been ten years now. She disappeared from our lives, just like that without a trace. She was a big part of my life, I depended on her. She was gone leaving us all behind, leaving me behind. Ben mentioned her today; he was one of her friends. Seeing him brought a rush of memories and I couldn’t help but ponder over Clara. It bothers him too I guess, not knowing. For me, that’s the worst part. If I know the reason I can try to understand, move on; have closure. I don’t know what happened to her if she is alive or dead. Looking at the picture of us from that day which we took at some carnival, I hope she would have told me. I still hope that she is out there somewhere and she is happy. No one else believes this, they think she’s dead. They think she got involved in something she couldn’t get out of. She did have her fair share of troublemaking but this was too drastic even for her. She would have been thirty years old this year, but here I sit by myself looking at a picture of us on her birthday. My aunt blamed me for a long time. She believed I knew where she had gone and refused to tell them. I explained to her over and over that if I knew I would have stopped her. It’s hard thinking about where she must be. There has to be a reason, something happened to her. I’ll never forget her last words to me “ Never change, little sis.” Maybe that was her way of saying goodbye. I should have known she would never say something like this out of the blue but I was nineteen, I dismissed it without a thought. She had always been a bit mysterious and larger than life. She told me everything, I believed but I think she told me only the good things and dealt with the bad stuff on her own. I always thought that no one knew her better than me but now I realize that no one knew her at all.