Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869 making the classic 150 years old this year.
This new graphic novel retelling holds on to the spirit of Little Women while updating it for a modern world. The original is set in the 1860s, presumably in Concord, Massachusetts, and begins at Christmastime. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are at home with their Marmee and their father is off fighting the Civil War. In the new version, the March girls live in Brooklyn and their father is stationed in the Middle East. Their mother is a nurse working overtime to support the girls and struggling to make ends meet. The family gets invited over to the wealthy neighbors for a holiday gathering and some key relationships are established. The rest of the plot is loosely adapted in a pleasant and realistic way for the 21st century.
The girls are true to character: Meg is the eldest, responsible, smart, beautiful, and acutely aware of her lack of money and social status while Jo is a fierce and fun writer whose dream is to own hardcover copies of every Pulitzer Prize fiction winner. Beth is sweet, musical and sickly, and Amy is exactly Amy: artistic, selfish and annoying. (Or that is the way I view Amy. Others might say she has a "big personality.") The girls' Aunt March is gruff and blunt and a bit of a conundrum.
Modern day touches include the girls emailing their dad instead of writing letters, playing video games instead of participating in rowboat races and going to the Hamptons instead of attending a ball. A lot of things have changed since that time period while others remain exactly the same. Having a sister and being one myself, I will confirm that dynamic has changed very little. That's why the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is timeless and universally appealing.
Finding this book was a happy accident for me. I saw the hot pink cover and was drawn to the book before I even realized what I was holding in my hands! Little Women is my favorite book and this is a superb way to introduce it to the next generation.