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March 16, 2016

Revisiting a #classicbook - LITTLE WOMEN #MFRWorg #RssosSisters #amreading #familyvalues

I’ve belonged to a book club for eleven or twelve-ish years now. We read new and old tomes. So at a recent meeting, one friend suggested we read Little Women.

I’d read Little Women many, many years ago. I would have rather read Alice in Wonderland because a recent article came to me about how Alice is the book most people say they’ve read, but haven’t and I hadn't. The others were up for Little Women

I had a hard time starting the book. The first thing I noticed is the writing is very different. The point of view changes constantly, even has a narrator. Pops in and out of internal point of view. Uses “commanded she,” “demanded she,” etc. instead of what has been drilled in my head-“she said,” “he asked.” There’s a whole lot of narration not attributed to a character.


The tales about the sisters are sweet. There’s a large influence on family values, money, and religion. The importance of friendship. The characters are well-defined and grow. Each faces a dilemma per chapter which reads like a short story.

Last summer, Handsome and I went to see the Hitchcock film of Daphne du Maurier’s book, Rebecca. I discovered Rebecca at age thirteen and have always loved it. I’d seen it on the small screen several times, but not the big one. So when a local theater announced their summer series and Rebecca was included, I was in. But once there and viewing, I became aware the audience was tittering at certain parts. I glanced at my fellow theatergoers and noticed the younger ones in particular were laughing. So I looked at specifics and found the overacting of the hero was silly. Afterwards, I discussed this with Handsome and we agreed being involved in the story was more important, and most likely, the younger people didn’t comprehend the kind of acting from back then.

The same for me and Little Women. My takeaway is to take off my writer’s hat and leave the mechanics behind. Go for the story and immerse.
Have you revisited a story and found you felt different about it?

 Have a minute to vote? The Season of Surprises anthology is in The Romance Reviews Readers Choice Awards.Ours is in the Anthology category. Here's the link and thank you!


Bobbi said...

Little Women is one of my favorite books from childhood, but, it would be interesting to read it again from the POV of a writer and an adult. Nice blog piece, Vicki!

Liese said...

I have been re-reading or reading Sherlock Holmes and other Conan Doyle stories. For me, the characteristics of the period, such as Hindoo vs. Hindu really jump out at me. One wonders what an editor would do with the pieces now!


Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Bobbi! Rereading has been interesting and my head and writer's guidelines has really been giving me a hard time.

Hi, Liese! I agree with you on what an editor would do now. That might be an experimental blog???

Anonymous said...

Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester seems cold to me, and harsh now. But I still enjoyed the book.

I've read little women 14 times and I cry every time when Beth dies. LOVE IT!

Teresa R.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Teresa! Golly, I haven't read Jane Eyre in forever. And should. Sounds as if the story kept you going.

I know what you mean about Beth. I know it's coming.

Kathy Ivan said...

I remember reading Little Women in high school, but haven't picked it up since then. I have noticed, though, when going back and reading a favorite from many years ago while the story is the same and still compelling, having been a writer and studying craft and having the rules drilled into my head, something about the story reads differently. It doesn't mean the story is bad or poorly written, it just means that the styles of writing nad the rules have changed. Something that was an outstanding book ten years ago might now be looked at and people think its not great.

But the classics are classics for a reason. They hold up over the test of time, regardless of rules and style changes. Sometimes its better to take of the internal editor hat and simple immerse yourself in the book. That way it has a chance to grab your imagination and run wild.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Kathy! You hit the nail on the head. The style has changed and I really had to shake myself and look at the book with *story* in mind, something I hadn't done in a while when reading. I'm enjoying the tales of the family and remembered something is coming that changes the family. Time does do that.

Cathy McElhaney said...

You know, I have never read Little Women! I guess, when I find some time to read, I need to put that on my list! The editor in me with probably have fits, judging by what you have said! I also never read any of Sir Conan Doyle's books either! I can't remember a book I have reread with a different perspective. I guess I will have to dig out some old ones and get busy, LOL!

Melissa Keir said...

As a teacher, I always get to read texts over and over. The classics (especially the classical picture books) are amazing, but each is very different. I think my favorite picture book is Chrysanthemum. Who doesn't relate with a girl who doesn't love her name? I never really saw myself as a Melissa until a few years ago.

Angela Adams said...

I read "Little Women" once -- that was back in high school. I pretty much couldn't understand what all the fuss was about.

Unknown said...

LITTLE WOMEN is one of the few "classics" I haven't read. I should. And, yes, reading from that period is difficult with all the "demanded she" and other phrases that throw me out of the story. OH! And don't get me started on the head hopping! But...the things we do for our beloved classics, right? :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Hi, Cathy! I'm sorry I was away while cleaning parents' house over the long weekend. Sorry, no handbags. LOL

That's what I thought too about the editing. I wonder if anything was permissible back then?

Hi, Melissa! I've never heard about Chrysanthemum which I struggled over saying and spelling as a kid. I made it a mission to master too.

Hi, Red! I wish you would read and get back to me with your thoughts. I've decided it is all about the story. :)