L. M. Alcott: "Good Wives"

This sequel of the wonderful Little Women has been laying around for at least a year and it is in the middle of many challenges to finish that I pick it up to read it.

The little women are now three years older, Meg is getting married, gives birth to twins very soon and is learning to become the perfect little housewife she is meant to be. Beth stays the quietest of the family members and slowly drifts towards her death. Amy's ambitions of succeeding in the great society and marrying for wealth change as she falls in love with Laurie, whom she ends up marrying. And Jo, my funny beloved Jo, writes alot but basically gives it up in the end, gets more and more boring, has no interest in men until she meets the much older Bhaer and spoils what could have been one of the best love stories in literature by refusing Laurie.

I liked this novel a great deal because of Alcott's very good writing, because it allows me to stay a little longer with the little women and draws quite a few interesting storylines at the beginning. Meg's domestic difficulties to manage both her role as a mother and as a wife to John for example could have been an actual theme in the book, were their appearance and their resolution in a happy ending not condensed in a single chapter. Beth does not take part in the story anymore except when she dies and as much as I agree that she has ever been a quiet and invisible girl, I feel she has been left out here.
I never had much liking for Amy, but Good Wives made her more interesting. Her ambitions both in drawing (and her eagerness to see the limits of her own talent) and society in the context of her deep feelings for her family and background were the foundation of a rich character. Her scenes with Laurie, even if the second part of the books changed him and made him hard to believe, were excellent in developing her character. However, as soon as their marriage is settled, she disappears as a good little wife behing him and does barely utter a word anymore until the end. Disappointing.
I still don't know if Jo's fate pleases me or not. Of course I would have loved her to say yes to Laurie in the end, keeping of course the dramatic first proposal and rejection as a twist. The very basic facts however, that she meets Bhaer, falls in love with that antihero and builds a school for boys, fit her character and interesting adds to her personality. But that her humor disappears along the chapters as well as her character, that she tries to become a second Beth and stops writing - that is not showing how someone is growing up and becoming a woman, that is spoiling and killing off the leading force of Little Women.


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Constantly changing places is inherent to my life. Books have always been steady friends which I could bump into wherever I was all over the world.
Stumbling upon Kaminer's German stories of "Die Reise nach Trulala" in Reykjavík's city library is as moving as meeting the Icelandic sagas in Boston's Borders.
To see a book again, that I've read thousands of kilometers away makes me smile "Hey I know you.." and shake hands by thumbing through it for a while.