Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Little Women Read Along Part One: Chapters 1 to 17 Summary and Questions

We are ten days into our read along and hopefully those of you participating have been able to read up through chapter 17. Here's a little summary of what's happened so far in the lives of our little women:
  • We've met the four girls and have quickly learned their characters and personalities. 
  • We've met the neighbor boy, Laurie, and his grandfather, and his tutor, Mr. Brooke.
  • We've learned that Mr. March is off fighting in the war. Toward the end of our reading, he gets sick and Mrs. March leaves to tend him.
  • We've learned that Mrs. March appears to have never ending patience with the four girls and teaches them wonderful life lessons as they experience different things.
  • We've gone on a vacation with Meg, hobnobbing with friends that aren't really that great of friends, we've gone to a New Year's Eve party with Meg, Jo and Laurie wherein Jo dances with Laurie in the hallway and Meg sprains her ankle, we've gone on a picnic and croquet adventure with Laurie and his friends from England, we've experienced the imagination of the girls as they make up plays, write newspapers and conduct a private club, we've rejoiced with Beth when she gets a piano from Mr. Laurence, we've moaned with Jo when she discovers Amy has burned her story, and we've laughed with everyone when Jo tried to have a dinner party that was very unsuccessful.
  • We are noticing, along with Laurie and Jo, that there seems to be something up with Meg and Mr. Brooke.
  • We are also wondering ourselves if there is something up with Laurie and Jo, but if there is, Jo is in extreme denial still.
  • The segment ends just when we begin to feel anxiety over Beth, who appears to have contracted scarlet fever from the family they've been looking after. Drat.
I hope you are all enjoying your first visit with this family or your repeat visit, as the case may be. I know I am!  Here are a few questions I've thought up:

  1. What's your opinions so far about each of the girls? Do you identify more with one or the other of them? Do you like them, or do they get on your nerves in a way? Which one do you think would be your friend?
  2. What do you think of Mrs. March aka. Marmee? What's one of your favorite pieces of advice or lessons she's taught the girls so far?
  3. Do you think that the characterization of these girls and this family is realistic? Explain.
  4. What's your favorite scene or incident so far? And why?
  5. If this is your second (or third etc.) time reading this story, what stands out to you this time?
  6. If this is your first time reading this story, is it meeting your expectations? Or is it different than expected? Explain.
  7. How do you feel about Jo cutting off her hair? Was this incident surprising to you? Do you think it's symbolic of anything?
  8. What's your feeling about the inclusion of poems, letters, stories, plays and etc. into the story? 
  9. Any thoughts in particular on the male characters in this story?
  10. Are you liking this reading experience? If yes, why? If not, why?

Feel free to add any other random thoughts of course! Here are my answers:
  1. I thought I would identify with Meg the most, but I didn't remember how obnoxious and annoying she is... not to say that I'm not those those, but I don't THINK I am! I've always thought of her like Jane in Pride and Prejudice,but no. She is not. And perhaps I'm a little like Jo in some aspects, but in others not at all. I'm nothing like Beth or Amy, I don't think anyway. And yes, I do find them annoying often... they are too sweet, too agreeable, too nice, too accommodating... even with their faults. Even in the day,  I don't think kids were this perfect. 
  2. I like Mrs. March, though I also find her to be a little too nice and sweet and unruffled by anything at all. By far, my favorite lesson she's given them was the week of no work. And then when she went away for the day too. How often do we as moms threaten to do just such a thing? 
  3. I sort of answered this already. I think the picture this paints of a family is a bit on the rosy side, you know? I mean, I'm sure they were happy and imaginative, but still...
  4. Um so many! But you know what I really love, is the whole post office idea and how they find so  many fun things to exchange, even though they are all together. I think it's the first form of social media! :)
  5. I'm surprised at how obnoxious Meg is... I'm surprised that Laurie is dark with curly hair, I'm surprised at how accommodating these girls are.
  6. I remember not really liking this book when I read it the first, confession.
  7. I'd forgotten that part and it bums me out! She is crazy! 
  8. I like the letters.. the poems are okay, the stories are a little long and the plays I'm not a big fan of.
  9. I love Laurie and his grandpa. I wish we could get to know Mr. Brooke better. 
  10. Yes!
That's about all I have to say. And I think it's enough. Now... your turn! Write your thoughts, answer the questions and etc. and link up your post here:

And don't forget... we'll chat today on Twitter at 5 pm Mountain time! #LittleWomenRAL! See you there!


  1. I am surprised by how much I like all the girls. They are so stereotypical and so good, and Marmee is so patient all the time, but none of this bothers me. It's probably all a bit unrealistic, but I think a lot of it would have resonated with contemporary readers. I like how Alcott balances the traditional (girls can't travel by themselves, for example) with her beliefe that men and women should be equals (Jo cuts off her hair to help support her family financially). It's my first time reading the book, and luckily I've forgotten a lot of the movie, so I am just completely happy that I decided to do the readalong. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else thinks. Thanks for hosting.

  2. Hmmm, I didn't like this one when I read it. Maybe, like you, I would like it better during a reread. Still not tempted though. I'll just stick to the movie.

  3. I agree with a lot of what you said. I enjoy their stories, but the family can be pretty unrealistic at times. The post office scenes are one of my favorite parts of the book as well.

  4. I'm liking the book quite well, so thank you for hosting this read-along! It's always more fun to read in company.

    Our answers are very similar! The Marches are indeed very rosy - in any other book I'd hate this characterization and sappiness, but for some reason I love Little Women.

  5. I just posted my link. Don't be so hard on Meg! I think she's doing her best to grow up and doesn't entirely know what that means. It's AMY you should dislike! Snotty baby sisters who think they're the best... Um. Not that I've had any experience with those... I love this book. It's innocent and kind, and warm. I understand where we as modern readers might think it's too rosy. But I have an un-rosy filter to look through. These girls have to pull together, support their mother, while their father (the rock in the family) is away. My sisters and I did something similar when my parents divorced. My first job, my entire paycheck I just handed to my mother. I was 16. I did that the first year I worked, because I was working for the family. My next two sisters did the same. We gave her all we had and trusted she would take care of us - and she did. We're a very close sisterhood because of it, despite the Amy's of the family. :-)

  6. I'm loving this reread of a childhood favourite. It's my first time though reading the unabridged version. I'm loving the extra detail. I now also understand some of those scenes in the B&W movies in particular - they weren't added by the producer, they were just cut from my abridged book!

    I'm planning on reading all four books over the next couple of months if anyone else would like to join me.
    I will need a break between Good Wives and Little Men, so my prediction is that I will read both LM and Jo's Boys in March (which is the perfect month for reading about the March family :-)
    Please let me know if you'd like to continue on with the other books too (if Suey, Kami & Jenni don't mind me hijacking their readalong, that is, in this way).

    1. I loved reading it again this time. I can find a bit of me in all the girls. I enjoyed all the adventures they had as they grew. I envy their neighbor.

  7. I don't think it paints too rosy a picture of their lives because I think the intended audience is young women (and maybe sheltering them from too harsh a reality was an ok thing then).

    And, I totally forgot to mention Mr. Brooke in my post! Yes, I agree, I wish we could get to know him more. Which makes me wonder if there are any retellings or spin-offs from the Laurences' POV?

  8. I just answered my questions, so yay I can finally read your answers! It's funny how similar we are on some of these. I thought the girls felt a little too perfect too! Maybe it's just that YA characters now are expected to be so complex and flawed, and this was written during a different time with different expectations. I do feel like they're all being made out to be these examples of what a proper "little woman" should be. Even Jo's rebelliousness isn't that rebellious.
    But it's still a fun story and I'm glad I'm doing the read along with everyone. :)

  9. I finally am this far that I can read everyone's answers and I even answered the questions myself now! Woo hoo!

    I really like your answers. I was surprised that Laurie is dark with curly hair too because I always picture him as Christian Bale, lol.

  10. I've always pictured Laurie as Christian Bale, so the dark, curly hair surprised me too! I loved part 1 the best. Watching the girls use their imaginations to have all sorts of adventures is fun. They made me laugh so often! And I didn't mind the stories and plays added in. I thought they were cute. :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails