Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Little Women

This will be hard to explain to those who don't hold Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy in the same estimation as I do, but I think it's worth trying.

I think I've adjusted pretty well to a city that is a challenge each day and lots of freelance work that has me reading up on my own chi, about the ethos of cities, and about law firms and will.i.am all in one day.

But in order to do this, I need also to find ways to take care of myself, to relax and to get my head in a different place at the end of the day.

That place is Concord, Massachusetts, where "Little Women" was set, and where each night I take a trip to a story I read hundreds of times when I was a girl. It was a book that formed my own sense of fairness and honesty, and -- even at its preachiest -- I loved the sense of moral certitude and sisterly love that comes through.

The last time I read the book, years ago, I read it aloud to my own children, who groaned as I cried when Beth died. When I read Geraldine Brooks' novel "March," I sent her a fan letter, saying she had brought back my old friends. I tell people I probably had Louisa May Alcott in the back of my head when we named our own Joanna May (and for real "Little Women" aficionados, extra bonus points if you know who Joanna is in the book).

Today, I switch on my Kindle and smile as Daisy and Demi are given names, and I identify, as always, with awkward Jo. They were my friends for so many years, and now they're reminding me that I can be as far from home as I've ever been, and still feel the comfort of somber silk gowns, Jo's mane of hair -- her only beauty -- and Laurie's loyal friendship.


  1. i had forgotten how much i enjoyed
    Little Women, (i read it at least 3 times)
    thanks Deb.

  2. What a simple and beautiful way to look after yourself - specially when you are that far away from all that you know and relate too. Alka

  3. There is nothing like a book to transport you anywhere ... whether to another hemisphere or to another time.