When I was about thirteen, my Mum suggested this book to me and it was a challenge that I dutifully accepted. I knew that she had read it when she was about my age and loved it, and considering how similar we are, assumed I would too. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In many ways I’m still sad that I didn’t enjoy it more as I don’t have a definitive explanation for it. I think the main issue that I had was the slow pace of the book, and that every miniscule event in their lives seemed to be divulged in ridiculous detail. Combined with mainly boring characters, except for Jo of course, I remember thinking that it felt like a marathon to read, and reading shouldn’t be like that.
However, I recently watched the 1994 film adaptation and was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. It was definitely sharper, and more captivating than the book had ever been for me. The fact that the film was nominated for three Academy Awards shows how well it was received, which isn’t surprising at all. The benefit of translating the book into film was that felt more suitable to all audiences. We get to have more of an insight into the life of the Mother, which provides a suitable contrast to the mostly insignificant events in the girls’ daily lives. I also think that the film provides a superior love story between Jo and Laurie due to the nature of the acting and the script.
Overall, I feel a little bit guilty saying this as I know it’s a classic but it has to be done, watch the film. That is the necessity here. You might find, unlike me, that the book appeals to you and you’re enjoying it. That’s great, please continue. However for those who start it, get a few chapters in and don’t feel that they’re getting anywhere, I would advise that you put the book down now because it isn’t going to get any easier.