You may well ask how one ever came upon this ‘literary classic’, as it is undoubtedly aimed at pre-pubescent females. However, it can also be aimed in a wholly different set of circumstances at the nodding cranium of a son who dares to fall into slumber when his beloved Mumsie is watching Kramer vs Kramer for around the four millionth time. One had been inveighed into the parlour by the promise of Mama Mia, and then let down with a bump by one’s perfidious parent so that one was unhappy, to say the least, but not stupid enough to attempt escape whist the turgid trash droned on and on and Mumsie sniffed and snotted unbecomingly. One had briefly succumbed to all but terminal boredom and allowed ones head to drop for a moment when ‘thwack’, a heavy leather-bound volume hit one’s forehead corner first, causing a large and purple contusion.
“You, Moons, are an awful little shit,” Mumsie declared in tones of doom. “You can just fecking well sit there and read quietly and stop spoiling my film.”
And thus I became acquainted with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
Four sisters living in poverty during the American Civil War hardly seems a recipe for riveting entertainment, and in truth it isn’t a thundering good story. But it has some sort of something, because one was unable to discard the tome until it was read. The four girls have different characters, different dreams, different problems, but all are dealt with in some clever way so as to keep one reading. It seems dreadfully plain and unadorned. An yet… Motherly Meg, tomboy Jo, sickly Beth and beautiful Amy. Not all survive. Not all prosper. One laughed. One even cried.
One’s mater actually accused one of becoming ‘almost human’ as one read this old-fashioned morality story with sympathetic tears staining one’s cheek.
As she remarked. Perhaps one is closer to nineteenth-century female children than to one’s own contemporaries. Who understands.
Three stars reduced from four because of the bump on one’s cranium.