For this year’s A to Z Blog challenge, I thought I’d draw back the curtain and explore the life and times of a bibliophile. Care to join me?
Starting out an A to Z blog challenge with Louisa May Alcott may be something of a cliché, particularly for a female writer, but I cannot deny the impact Little Women, in particular, had on me.
Even at the age of seven, I can’t say that I was particularly enamoured of the depiction of women’s lives in Civil War America, but glory could I ever relate to Jo! I hadn’t seen a character like me in print before: tomboyish, bookish, a writer. Well. . . I didn’t claim to be a writer back then, but I was beginning to write down some of the stories I made up to amuse myself while my Dad was in-processing (or out-processing).
The idea that you could be a girl without being “girly,” that girls who loved books weren’t “weird,” and that a girl could be loved for her intelligence as much as, if not for more than her looks, was a revelation.
But it wasn’t just Jo March that drew me in. It was the reality of the family’s struggle, the way Louisa May Alcott painted the impact the Civil War had on the family, it was beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time. I didn’t have a very good grasp of the political nuances of the Civil War, and really didn’t know much about the conflict at all, to be honest, but being the daughter of a military man? That I understood very well.
I wasn’t well-acquainted with death at the age of seven, but I did understand the pain of separation. Beth’s death had me crying as hard as I had whenever a change of assignment forced me to say good-bye to any of my Air Force pals. Little Women showed me that the feelings were real, they didn’t have to be denied, and I could heal from the loss.