I've written before about the great influence certain books have had on me, both presently and in the past. The Hobbit inspired my love of reading. The Harry Potter series brought me to a place of believing magic might be real, if not literally then in the important ways. Black Beauty taught me about how to treat animals and people with respect and compassion.
But today I want to talk about one that's very near and dear to my heart, which I didn't discover properly until I was in college. Since then, I've read it at least 5 times and each time I discover something new about myself and who I want to be.
Little Women is about the March family - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, their mother (Marmie) and their next-door neighbor Laurie. The story started when the girls are young, and follows them into young adulthood as they learn about themselves, who they are, and what they value. Jo (Josephine) is ostensibly the author of the book as well as its main character.
Jo March is a wild, passionate, unrestrained young woman who wants desperately to be an author and experience great things and write stories that touch the hearts of her audience. She wants to be independent and strong, but she loves her family fiercely and refuses under any circumstances to give them up. She declines an offer of marriage from a boy she knows would never truly be happy with her, even though she loves him dearly, and accepts an offer from a man who has nothing to give her but love and fierce pride in who she's become.
I want to be that woman. Bold and unafraid to chase her dreams, uncontainable and loving in a way no one can confine to a single person or a single feeling or a single family. I want to take up the mantle of the author and never put it down, even when I accept responsibilities for children or husband or home. I want to love with everything I am and can be and have. And maybe most of all, I want to remember that honesty and loyalty and generosity are never ever things to be ashamed of.
How many times have I read this book? I don't know, but it's one I don't think I'll ever be tired of. My heart is so full right now - full of this book, full of my hopes and dreams, full of feelings I can't even begin to name - that I can't even start to tell you what I'm thinking.
All I know is this: if there was a single fictional character I would want to be like, it would be Jo March, and I hope it's for all the right reasons.
Another time, I might try to make a real attempt at reviewing the book as a book instead of as a life-changing narrative. Not now, though.
Happy Wednesday, all, and I hope you have an awesome week.