Thursday, 10 April 2014

My favourite book(s)

I love reading.  My two favourite books of all time are "Little Women" and "Good Wives", which are both usually lumped together under the "Little Women" title and are by Lousia May Alcott.  Most girls LOVE these books -they're well-written, they're romantic, and they're good to snuggle down with.  But they are also filled with lessons, many of which still apply today (remember Meg going to the Moffats? Jo nearly losing Amy because of her temper? Lessons about being true to yourself and not letting your temper get the better of you are lessons that most people would do well to remember today).  However, the thing I notice about the people who love these books (particularly the younger girls) are two things which I think are important to address:

1. They worship Jo and often discount her sisters.
2. They think Laurie and Jo should have been together.

Let's look at the first point.  All four March sisters are incredible women, who each had to grow into themselves and into the people who were fit enough to live out their hopes and dreams. Meg had to learn not to be so precious and to work hard, Jo had to learn to come down from the clouds and realise that she has duties and responsibilities, Beth had to learn courage to overcome her shyness, and Amy had to learn humility.

Meg was the oldest, and could still remember a time when her father was rich.  As such, she still yearned for the trappings of rich society, such as silks, servants etc.  She soon learnt that hard work is it's own reward, and married John, a man who would never be rich but who would keep Meg comfortable.  All Meg had to do was learn to pull beside him.

Jo was wild, stubborn and untamed.  She didn't gel well with other people, and it cost her a trip of a lifetime to the "Old Country" in Europe.  She had to learn to carry herself with dignity and grace, how to keep her temper, and how to interact with people.  She learnt these lessons so well that she not only became a better author, but became a teacher in her own Bhaergarten.

Beth was so shy she wouldn't even go to the Laurences to play the beautiful grand piano that she so longed to play until promises were made that she would never see anyone in the house.  While never become a social creature, she soon worked up enough courage to make old Mr. Laurence a beautiful pair of slippers which not only won her a piano of her own, but a dear friend she had all her life.

Amy was spoilt rotten, and would have been a snob if not for having to learn humility the hard way.  One of my favourite scenes is where she gets shafted by the Chesters at the fair.  What does she do? Turn the other cheek, and wins the respect of many.  She even gets to go to Europe because she has learnt to refine her manners so that she can still be polished without being stuck-up.

Each of the sisters has something special to offer us, and had their own demons to overcome.  So while I can understand where the Jo worship comes from, I think that by focusing only on Jo you lose the good qualities of the other three.

The second point is the Jo/Laurie pairing.  I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks these two were a good match is either a complete nitwit or has never experienced a relationship where you were too similar.  My ex and I were both prone to flash tempers, and anger tends to feed off anger.  It's easy to be scathing and mean when the person you are arguing with is also angry.  Next time I think I'll try and find a man who is more mellowed out and less prone to being angry - much like Jo and Laurie did.  Laurie found Amy, who was far too well-bred and classy to lower herself into an argument, and Jo found the Professor, who was too wise for a temper.

Just two things I have noticed about the fandom of my favourite book.

I was also looking at the team selection for the Lions game against Port on Saturday, and I was thrilled to see Nick Robertson listed.  I can't wait to see "Robbo" make his debut, hopefully his hardness at the ball is something that will translate from the NEAFL into the AFL - we desperately need it! 

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