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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
And suddenly I'm 8 again

I'm rereading Little Women, for the first time in years.

And I just read *that* chapter. You know the one. The one most of us read again and again when we were eight or twelve, the one that always made us cry, which was why we read it.

And I'm crying. And it's not the maudlin "beautiful death" or the loss of the character.

It's Jo. I can feel every bit of her pain.

I know LMA didn't like writing "girl's books", and she got heartily tired of the March family, but there are *things* in that make it timeless in ways that, say, Under the Lilacs , never could be. Like not going with the obvious, "right" romance.

And it can still make me cry and be eight again.

Comments

Oh, yes. So right.

But you know, I took my son to the doctor one time when he was three and mighty sick, and the doctor said, "He's got scarlet fever," very calmly, and I said,

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"[wail]But that's what Beth died of! In Little Women!" I was petrified.

"It's just strep throat with a rash," he said, and wrote a prescription for baby penicillin. The little guy was fine the very next day. (Kept taking the med for a week, of course.) It's amazing how times change!

I FREAKED when I found out I had it. Guess why.

And yeah, I wasn't allergic to penicillin yet then, was fine in a week (I'm asthmatic and don't recover so fast).

Well, it *is* the dread disease of the kid books. I mean, didn't Mary Ingalls lose her eyesight to it?

Nod.

My husband was named for an uncle who died of strep at the age of three - a year before sulfa drugs came out.

He's prone to strep himself, but a course of penicillin and he's fine.

Four, actually, closer to 5.

It's a good thing I have more of Uncle Dick's personality than Uncle Jonny's - if I had his name and his personality, it would have really freaked everyone out. My brother has more of Jonny's personality.

It's why nobody in the family ever calls me Jonny, always JJ or Jay, or after I went to school and others called me that, Jon. Because Jonny was *him*, the one who died. Even though now, that Uncle Dick is gone, nobody in the immediate family survives who knew Jonny (some older cousins remember him).

P.S.

But I liked Little Men better, when I was a kid. I must have reread it, like, a million times.

Re: P.S.

I love them all.

Even as I have evil thoughts about Teddy Bhaer's true parentage.

My sister died when I was 11 and she was 13. Little Women was one of the biggest things that helped me get through that grief.

And every single time I read the scene on the stairs between Jo and Laurie, I still say, "Jo! Don't be a fool!" Even though I know she'll end up happily.

One of my favorite, favorite books ever.

Oh, yeah. I was sniffling for poor Laurie.

But, see. In other books, they would have married. And Amy would have been Queen of Artists and Jo a great author and Laurie would have defied his grandfather and become a famous composer/musician.

They didn't here.

(I'm also in awe of the first scene where she lets us know everything we really need to know about the girls before she goes into "Dear Reader" mode.)

And, yeah, I can see how it would help. What an awful thing to have happened to you and your family.

Do you have children? Do you hope to? I don't know how old you are, or your marital status, of course. That seems to help. Two of my childless uncles, both of whom lost a beloved younger sibling (Joe lost Ruthie when he was 17 and she 10, in the 1918 flu pandemic; Dick lost Jonny when Jonny was 4 and Dick 6, to strep throat that went to his brain), never really got over it. Grandpa, however (Uncle Joe's brother), never talked about Ruthie, it doesn't seem to have bothered him so much, since he had kids of his own.

I have no kids. I have no intention of having children. I remember my sister with the greatest love, and look forward to the possibility of being reunited with her Afterwards, but I would have to say that for all practical purposes I've been "over it" for some time.

Thanks for your concern though! :)

Little Women is the reason I've never gone for the nickname "Beth"

Y'know. I can see that. "Noble sufferer." Ick.

Then again, *my* name seems to have been used for elderly servants. She uses the phrase "Old Debby by the fire."

Of course, it *is* a middleaged lady name now. :)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

Oh, yes. That hurts so much.

which chapter? i saw the movie. i guess i shoudl read the book now that i'm an adult.

Yes! You must. As soon as possible. There is no time to waste. Next three day yom tov would work. :)

how thick is the book? i was thinking mayhaps yom kippur. i'm not going to be up to going to shul. i dont have to fast this time, but i still have shul-o-phobia

It's not small (though it's not the largest book on my shelf either. This edition, found on Amazon, is 464 pages, which is only about an inch thick.

HAHAHAHA

not the largest book on the shelf.

that sounds like an insult almost.....

it was actually meant as reassurance.
It's not, by any means, a short book, but it's not a difficult read, and as mamadeb pointed out, it's probably got largish print.

i remember being about 8 when i tried to read teh book and being bored. when i asked if it was big...it's b/c i read fast and want a book that'll last at least one day.

According to Amazon, the mass market version is 464 pages. However, as it's marketed for kids, I'd imagine the print to be on the large side.

My favorite was The Eight Cousins.

When I read Little Women now, it's Jan Brady I see when I imagine Beth. And of course, I won't mention who I see as the Professor.

You're not thinking about that series a few years decades agao, are you? With a certain starship captain as the professor? And Laurie Partridge as Jo?

Goes to check IMDB.

Oh, my goodness. You *are*.

Oh, yeah. :)

I rahter liked Shatner in that. Better than some of the other roles I've seen him in since Star Trek.

I still see Meredith Baxter Birney settling down in a huge mass of skirts.

It was pretty good, actually.

When I was in third grade, I took Little Women out of the school library because it was the biggest book they had. I can't even begin to figure out how many times I've read it over the years. And *that* chapter always makes me cry!

It's funny to think of the stories we enjoyed as they'd be viewed in the fandom practices of today -- we'd have the Jo/Laurie 'shippers fighting with the Amy/Laurie 'shippers! And of course, imagine all the stories about Laurie and his "tutor" (ahem) John!

And along with the needle that was "so heavy," the line that always killed me was, "The birds came back in time to say goodbye to Beth."