Under the Boardwalk

14 Nov

‘Under the Boardwalk’ is one of my favourite songs and as this post is about one of my favourite books, it’s fitting that it’s used. I’ve heard so many versions of the song, from acappella groups, to Bette Midler’s pop version to The Beach Boy’s dreamy version. I haven’t heard a single bad version, it’s such a great song that it can’t be ruined.

So, the book is ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott. Louisa May Alcott did not like her own book but millions of girls worldwide are enchanted with the story of Meg, Jo, Amy, Beth. I was re-reading it the other day and added it to my bookshelf at http://closedthecover.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/my-ideal-bookshelf/#comment-574 (not sure of the best way to link posts).

I mentioned that I was a bit of a Jo. As Jo was based on the author, it is not surprising that most relate to Jo and she is often the favourite of the sisters. She had brains, gumption and was a feminist for the times. I wasn’t ever tomboyish and independent as her but I was/am spontaneous, awkward and a bit of an oddball. I wasn’t as ‘don’t careish’ or as rebellious but I love her passions and righteousness. Jo was almost my least favourite sister, though. She would act as childish as Amy at times yet it would be explained away as an example of her independence and modern nature. I must say that I quite liked her marrying Professor Bhaer. Apart from the reasoning that he was a good man and would not stand in her way, I secretly saw it as a bit of ‘punishment’ for rejecting Laurie.

A trait I share with Meg is the desire to fit in with the ‘rich kids’ who have pretty silks and shoes. I too am flawed in that regard and can empathise with her.  She wasn’t a sister I paid much attention to her but now that I’m older, I believe that she had it the best of the girls. She got the love, the house, the twins.

Beth was the sweetest, sometimes saccharinely so. She isn’t the most well developed character and put on a pedestal for her saintliness. Sometimes when I’m in the mood for a cry, I read about her illness and death in ‘Good Wives’. Her friendship with Mr Lawrence is just so heartbreaking. She isn’t easy to relate to as she is just too pure and angelic and lived her life in a bubble of goodness, unaffected by wordly troubles.

Amy. Oh Amy. She was my favourite. As a kid, I was inspired by her to put a peg on my nose to make it more refined. Of course it didn’t make a difference, sigh. Amy was spoilt and childish, yes but she grew up to be the ideal woman. She gained the saintly traits of Beth, Jo’s independence and self-assurance and Meg’s grace. She was a feminist in her own way yet knew that she had to work with society to get ahead. It always frustrated me that Laurie had loved Jo first and I felt that this marred their ideal relationship.

‘Little Women’ resonates with so many girls as we share so many of their traits yet they have distinctive personalities. It has the elements of a great book, tragedy, drama filled, romance and sets a moral standard. It’s a comfort book that takes us to a better time. Marmee is our idealised mother, benevolent and comforting. Jo is the strong-willed feminist who we aspire to be. I love them all.

I consider ‘Little Women’ to be my ‘Bible’. It’s a book of morals and had a lot of influence on my life. I sometimes think of Beth’s goodness or Jo’s strength when faced with an obstacle.

3 Responses to “Under the Boardwalk”

  1. Lilee November 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    When I was little I identified with Jo over the other girls. I was stubborn, obstinate and incredibly strong-willed and defiant. As I grew older though I’ve become more of an Amy and find that I now look upon Jo with annoyance. It’s funny how things change like that.

    • philofelinist November 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

      My first comment! Oh I feel loved!
      I thought Jo was a whinger. She resented taking care of Aunt March, was rude when making calls and was jealous of Amy. I’m clumsy like her, unfortunately!

      • Lilee November 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

        🙂 Comments always make me feel loved too. Jo was definitely obnoxious yet her wilful spirit is why I loved her. Now though she’s the only one of the four girls I feel like I can’t relate to.

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