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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Alcott Reread

Every so often, I reread series of classic novels. Right now, I'm going through the Little Women series - I'm about 3/4 through the second book, Little Men.

And I am struck with how the character Dan just steals the entire book. I mean, she drew some unforgettable characters - Tommy Bangs, always in trouble, Nan Harding and the beginnings of her desire to be a physician, Nat and his fiddle (and the fact that Jo liked him but thought him weak), Daisy the little housewife (I have stuff to say about her cookstove) and Bess the Princess whom, right now, I heartedly dislike. No little girl can or should be that perfect or universally loved like that. It makes me cringe.

But Dan. Dan is, at age fourteen, a romantic hero. One thing is that he's not written as fourteen, and I have to remind myself that he is all the time. He's written as a grown man - even at the beginning when he gets two other boys to drink and swear (well, they don't actually swear) and gamble (okay, play poker - no mention of actual gambling) with him. Because when a fire begins (his fault, ultimately, for giving a ten-year old a cigar), he's one of the two boys who help put it out. And we also see that he has formed a tight bond with Jo's little Teddy. That is a manly thing to do, and a thing guaranteed to melt many women's hearts. It certainly does mine - to me, there's few things sexier than a grown man competently holding a baby in his arms. Please - I melt when I hear Greg Allman sing, "Let me rock your cradle."

(I think that's one of the reasons many of us love babyfic - for the humor, but also because it means we get to see our favorite boys that way. Yum.)

Dan is strong and handsome. He's too rugged to spend time indoors with books, but he's more than bright enough to know all about rocks and insects, and to teach them to others. He can't be kept caged, but he always comes home. He's also gentle with small children and loyal to a fault, and very protective of those he loves. And nothing he says or does feels like a teenager. He's a man. And he's an action hero. And I think Alcott fell a little in love with him herself. I can't blame her - he's the big strong hero with the little boy held gently in his arms.


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Last summer, I got hired at the last minute to babysit the daughter of a visiting musician. She was two, and terribly cute. Ming informed me I look very sexy holding a toddler.

But how does MING look holding a toddler?

Disturbingly hot. Particularly when reading to her.

It's a little scary to look at someone you'd been dating for a couple of weeks and decide you want them to father your children. It scared the crap out of me, anyway.

My point.

Nothing is sexier than a man taking care of a small child competently.

I read Little Women a few times as a kid, and Little Men a few gazillion times. Reading your comments makes me want to dig it out and read it yet again! Especially with a new perspective on Dan. :-)

I remember finding Jo's Boys a disappointment; I didn't like how most of the boys had turned out.

It's clear by the ending that Alcott was thoroughly bored with both the Marches and the genre - I honestly think she'd have rather written a book about Dan aimed for adults. Because Dan had, by far, the most interesting part of that novel - even more than Emil's shipwreck/romance.

Reading A Modern Mephistopheles, her story of writing books you don't like because you need money, gave me a new perspective on Jo's Boys.