This year, my husband kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas. I told him I didn’t want anything. It’s been a roller coaster year for me and I just couldn’t think of some present-like thing he could buy for me. Most of what I want are things that will (or might) come later: I want a quiet place to write. I want two cats (I just recently got past wanting the other one back. It took a while but I got there.). I want a writing career (that was also something I just admitted to myself this year). But those are not things that come in a nice pretty box. So I told him I didn’t want a present. And I honestly meant it.
I love the story of Little Women. Probably because I see much of myself in Jo. I read or watch and think That’s me. Louisa May Alcott was inside my brain. The part of Little Women that people always talk about is Jo’s relationship with Laurie. In fact, many people are heartbroken that the two don’t end up together.
Here’s a little-known fact: Alcott didn’t want Jo to end up with anyone. She wanted her to remain independent and free. But public outcry was so great when Jo rejected Laurie (obviously a woman needed a man!) that Alcott was forced to add Professor Bhaer, but she made him as unconventional a match as she could.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Professor Bhaer is a fantastic character. But I wish Alcott had been able to pursue her original plan and made Jo an adventurous, unfettered single woman, debunking those pesky myths about lonely and bitter spinsters. (more…)