My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Four good essays by four stellar writers, each delving into one of the Little Women
I was most taken by the essays by Carmen María García de Saura on Beth, and Jane Smiley on Amy. In the former, Beth's position in the family is expanded to examine the lives of teenagers whose modern fiction favorites are often tales of dying girls, and to the writer's own history of having a mother whose story about her had to be rejected as inimical to becoming a functioning, grown woman. In the latter, Amy's growth from pretty and petted baby to accomplished (and married) woman is examined in the light of a talented, youngest sister, given the means to observe and select behaviors most likely to ease her way into artistic and personal fulfillment. All four essays are biographical, autobiographical, and sensitively-written to illuminate new aspects of these very familiar characters.
Highly recommended. I read it at one sitting, the same day as I finished reading Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. It was, as I'd hoped, an anodyne to the pain of reading what might become of us by reading what some of us can become.
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