Finally, Romantic Justice For Little Women’s Jo

little womenThough it may surprise many who assume they know me well, I am a romantic at heart; whether I was already that way before reading Little Women, or whether Ms. Alcott’s tome guided me to this trajectory I do not know.

What I do know is, I still remember the exact day I read Little Women for the first time. I was in seventh grade, just turned twelve.  I read the book sprawled on my orange and yellow and brown patchwork bedspread, or tilted back to a dangerous degree in the nubby yellow corduroy rocking chair, feet braced on the wobbly end table with reading lamp.

I read in Dad’s Lazy-Boy Recliner, after he had gone to bed, and sometimes on the top step of the basement steps, or the back porch if the concrete was warmed from the sun.  Often I read at night in bed, sometimes with a flashlight under the covers but more often propped up on my right elbow, the page illuminated by the streetlight shining in my bedroom window.

I immediately developed a love/hate relationship with that book.  I loved most of it, but I hated one specific part of it – a big part of it, a *central* part of it.

I often forget the names of the authors of books (o, irony), but in this case, I flipped to the frontispiece of the book to burn the name Louisa May Alcott forever into my memory, under the heading “On My Sh*t List Forever”.  Because how could any right thinking writer imagine characters like Laurie and Jo into being, and then keep them apart?  How? They were so clearly made for each other!

Yet instead of falling passionately into one another’s arms, and spending the next 50 years having crazy hot sex and arguments featuring flying crockery and raised voices and heaving bosoms and amused forbearance and  crazy hot make up sex, we the readers are asked to accept Jo’s “wisdom”, confirmed by Laurie’s out of touch geezer grandfather, that she and Laurie are too much alike to be truly happy together.

After Jo turns Laurie down he proves the depth of his love by the depth of his depression which everyone confuses with maturity and approves of.  Passion tamed by rejection, Laurie finds solace in the lowered expectations of a marriage with the beautiful but insipid Amy, (who always got what she wanted) while Jo gets stuck with crotchety old German Professor Baher, aka Grody Old Graybeard, much to the indignation of my 12 year old romantic’s heart.

Do not evoke the movie for me – the movie director, like every one else on the planet, loved Jo and wanted her to be with Laurie too, and so felt compelled to cast  young virile good looking Gabriel Byrne as the Professor, the better to rationalize that Jo did not get the short old gray end of the stick that Alcott dealt her.

So don’t tell me about the movie, b/c the movie is not reflecting who the Professor really was, the Professor that Alcott wrote about, who was old country Germanic and probably a little portly and I think even walked with a limp and smelled of moth balls— and was most assuredly NOT deserving of Jo and most of all he was NOT LAURIE.

Laurie and Jo were my introduction to unrequited love.  That same year I found Little Women in our home library, our teacher took us to see Romeo and Juliet at an afternoon matinee. The movie starred Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, who were memorably young and beautiful and spoke in Shakespearean verse, which we noticed when we weren’t embarrassed to giggles by Leonard Whiting’s partial nude scene in which we saw his bare  bottom which my friends and I immediately dubbed a “Montague” (and which I privately noted with seventh grade surprise, was as smooth and hairless and pretty as a girl’s).

Of the two girls with ill-fated luck in love it was Jo’s story that I took most to heart.  Juliet’s story was tragic but she was beautiful and rich and privileged.  Her plight and fate were as unreal to me as her speech.

Jo, by contrast, was much more real to me. I fell in love with Jo not because she was a writer, but because she was so honest (which is what made her a good writer). The specific scene in which my love was born: when Jo cuts her hair and sells it in order to help out the family, which, with the father off to war, is near starvation. She falters before she does it, and then crushes her own vanity and does it anyway.

And when she hands the wad of cash over to her mother (Marmee dearest), and everyone wonders aloud how she came to have so much money, she pulls off her hat to reveal her shorn head, and her lovely (and somewhat vain and shallow) older sister Meg cries out “Oh, Jo!  Your one beauty!”  A sentiment that Jo tacitly agrees with but does not take to heart – a feat that seemed utterly impossible to my insecure 12 year old self.

I loved Jo fiercely from that moment on (and hated Meg), and I never recovered when she turned down, for no good reason that I could see,  Laurie’s final impetuous request to love him, to marry him, and dance into eternity in some truly awesome silk ballgowns. I read the book over and over and Beth always wasted away, Amy always came infuriatingly into her own, and Jo never ends up with the one man that could have supported and nurtured her crazy writing talent so that it grew wild, covering their mansion with green vines and exotic tropical flowers and palm leaves big as a man’s head where birds the color of jewels spoke to startled visitors in the parlor.   Jo ends up with geriatric old Mr. Germanic Graybeard.

After one of my many re-readings of Little Women, and after learning of the dorky  but sometimes necessary practice of fan fiction, I immediately undertook to rewrite the ending (some wrongs just need to be (re)writed/righted), giving Jo the man she really wants, needs, and deserves.  I hope Miss Alcott isn’t turning over in her grave; rather, I hope she sitting up and clapping, glad that someone finally righted the grievous wrong she did  to Jo, Laurie, and Love itself.

And while I was at it, I let Beth live.  A girl can dream.

ImageJo sat in the parlor, Laurie’s impassioned plea – could she, would she? in her hand.   Her heart was racing, and to calm herself she looked about with some satisfaction.  The parlor was dim; it was early evening, the quiet time before dinner preparations would begin.  She could hear Marmee humming over her sewing in the upstairs garret where the light was still clear.

A tinkling at the pianoforte brought a smile to her lips; dear Beth was composing again.  How good it was to see her recovering day by day!  The sickness that had cast its frightening gray pall over the household was receding like so much remembered fog.   Now the house was airy and light with music, and who better to author the tune of a happy, healthy future than Beth herself?  Jo relished this time – after the worst but with the best still to come.  She wanted to slow the days down and sip from them as if at some rich and aromatic cup.

“I suppose this is growing up,” she thought to herself.  “What we long for is suddenly here, and it is only then that we realize there was beauty in the journey as well as the destination.”

She looked again at the letter in her hand, the words themselves seeming to leap from the page with all of Laurie’s impetuous energy.   She had been sorely tempted to tell him that she was sorry, he would always be her dear Laurie but she decidedly couldn’t, and wouldn’t.  The words of the old man had been ringing loudly in her ears – that she and Laurie were too much alike, and a household of peace could never be theirs.

But then the roses had begun to bloom again in Beth’s pale cheeks, a sight so shocking but at the same time welcome that Jo had spent the next several nights in the garret, unable to sleep, feverishly writing.  Marmee and Meg had gently given her space, assuming she was  simply scribbling away at another story that would provide the household with a turkey, perhaps, or a silk scarf for Marmee to wear to Easter Mass.

But for once, Jo was not scribbling a story. She was writing her thoughts down; she was, in fact, writing her thoughts into being.  It had started as a letter to Laurie and ended up a letter to herself, and in it she found many surprises, doors that opened with a creak and a groan, and not least of all, Love.

You and I are so much alike, she had begun, picturing her dear boy in Venice. She saw him quite clearly in her mind’s eye; his long-lashed eyes with their lazy regard that could flare in an instant to mischief, or (she thought with a tremor) passion.  She imagined him seated at a ball, his long legs, elegant in dove grey breeches, stretched carelessly before him while around him dazzlingly beautiful women circled him in their fine silks and puffed crinolines like anxious flowers.  She imagined the curly forelock springing free from his pomaded hair, like a silent acknowledgement of her secret regard.

We are so much alike, she’d written. We are so much alike. And then the words came pouring forth, words she’d never dared think, words she didn’t know were even in her vocabulary, so passionate they were.

You, she wrote, savoring the word that had come to mean only one person.  You. You understand me as no other has ever understood me.  You alone have read my writing and understood the words as if you were reading them inscribed on my very heart.  You heard my characters cry for love and knew that they spoke in a voice that is mine, and with words that would be mine if only I had the courage to speak them.   You know that for me, to write is to breathe, and that the little notes I have sent you each day were tiny lifelines fluttering from my fingers to your window.  You have felt my heart pound when we dance, and pretended not to know that it was the nearness of your dear face, and not our exertions, that had me so flushed.  Laurie, we are so much alike, we are as one, you are my soul and my heart. I would be with you whatever the cost, however you wish. I care not for your riches, only be generous with your love.  My dear, my love, I do not fear poverty or age or  sickness when I think of a life with you; only silence. Let us pledge never to be silent with one another, but speak always in the language we have found together, the language of two souls in true understanding.

In a passion of impatience to know how you read these words, a torture of trembling that I have waited too long to know my own  heart,

I am yours, ever,


{There.  I feel much better now. }


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183 responses to “Finally, Romantic Justice For Little Women’s Jo

  1. What a fantastic post! I love this re-write of the ending! While I did move on (after many many years) from feeling the letdown and weirdness of Alcott’s ending of Jo’s non-relationship with Laurie, I can see now that Alcott was just compromising between the fictional story and her own real life. She always really wanted to write the ending you wrote!

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  3. We’re much alike. From the fact that both of us read the book at the age of twelve in grade 7. I was in a catholic school and this was the last bit of unabridged literature they gave us, as the year after we studied Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.
    Anyway, I love the way you’ve gotten your theory across, I always knew Laurie and Jo to be one of a kind, those two pieces of a puzzle that fit just right, yet got the entire picture relatively wrong. AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE ENDING. Brilliance.
    And lastly, pure love.
    What a good read!

  4. OMG finally. I have never read the book (I can hear you thinking “WTF” right now) and absolutely adore the movie (sorry if your blood is boiling a little) and have always thought the ending was so…meh. Gabriel Byrne doesn’t do it for me and the fact that the book portrays Jo’s final love as some fat old man just makes me even more annoyed. I promise one day I’m actually going to read the book, and you can bet your ass I’m pasting your ending over the unsatisfactory ending we are all pretending never happened. Great post, congrats on FP!

  5. Unfortunately, most books written by or for girls or women are all about lowering one’s expectations and settling. Not my idea of compelling reading. I’ll give it a pass.

    • Jo didn’t really end up settling in the end. She was happy. But she lived a less passionate life than she otherwise would of, and the same was true of Laurie. I guess it was a sign of the times – suppress your passions and do what is sensible, and expected. Men almost as much as women.

  6. Hands down one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it at least half a dozen times and even though I know the ending by heart, I always hope it will play out differently…that Jo will see the mistake she is making and realize Laurie is the one for her!

    Thank you for re-writing the ending… as I am yours, ever, (now a follower),


    • I always hope it will be different too – what’s up with that? It’s totally irrational, and yet, there you go. Remember the scene where she is sleeping on the couch in the library and feeling depressed, and Laurie comes in and kneels in front of her? Jo flies up crying “Oh my Teddy, Oh my Teddy!” and I was SO EFFING SURE he would propose. And then his bitch wife AMY comes walking in the room, with her effing dress with a Parisian air. I’m still steamed.

  7. Oh my god… I love this. I read the book around the same age, and yes, I too was filled with righteous rage at the unfair dealing of fate that Louisa felt obliged to deal out. What a bitch! Jo is one of the greatest literary ladies to ever grace the page. Thank you for this!

  8. Also- I always hated Amy. And I ended up disliking Kirsten Dunst for years because of the movie. Ha! I always took these things too seriously.

  9. Interesting…. very interesting. I have never ever had a problem with Jo not wanting Laurie in that way. Even when I was younger I remember thinking that he wasn’t grown up enough to really appreciate Jo or her ability to write. I’ve always loved the end of the book when the Professor shows up. I never thought Jo settled. Interesting how people see things differently. Have you ever read the sequels? Little Men and Jo’s Boys are pretty good too. I don’t think there quite so much of the unrequited love in those though….. I’m going to have to reread Little Women with this post in mind.

    • I read all the sequels, yes. And grudgingly see how happy Jo was. I still feel that Jo would have inspired Laurie to a different kind of greatness; married to Amy, he’d be great at doing what was expected of him. Remember Marmee warned Jo that a tempestuous nature, having a temper, was a source of woe for her, and so she steered Jo away from her (Jo’s) nature, if you ask me. So Jo, afraid of the passion in her and what it would do if it clashed with the passion in Laurie, retreated from love. Sniff. That’s how I see it.

      • I really love your post, though I agree with karenspath that I thought it was wise of Jo to opt out of the trap that marrying Laurie represented. Laurie wanted the wildness of Jo, but he would have tried to tame her and Jo knew that. She had to stay wild and find someone who had a wild streak to match hers, so that she wouldn’t have to compromise that part of herself. I admire LMA for having the vision to create a female protagonist who unabashedly identifies her needs and works to meet them.

        Your writing is great and I liked your ending, though I didn’t want the outcome to change, it was a good read.

        • The 12 year old with her heart on fire that still resides in me insists that Laurie didn’t want to tame Jo, that he wanted to live wildly with her, and be free of the fusty old expectations that money and his grandfather had placed on him. He enjoyed the rich life of the young scion, I believed, and of course was too charming and good looking to be anything but good at it…but I felt, like Jo, he was looking for more.

          Now that I’m grown up (sort of) and I’ve met a lot of Germans, I can sort of buy into the Professor being a safe haven for Jo’s personality and ambitions. He just seemed to grandfatherly and asexual to me, maybe that’s why I couldn’t deal with Jo ending up with him. Had LMA given me some idea of passion between them, I might have been more receptive. Instead, it was like Jo was choosing a poor doppleganger of Laurie’s granddad, instead of Laurie – ew!

          And I never ever got over the reason the old granddad gave Jo why she wouldn’t be happy with Laurie. Too much alike to be happy? Well, that’s exactly the OPPOSITE that Scarlett O’Hara’s pa told her when he witnessed her pining disastrously after Ashley Wilkes: “Like must marry like or there can be no happiness, or peace.”

          I like your take on it but I stubbornly resist it all the same. Thanks so much for the great comment!

          • Awesome. Love it that you use your anecdotal meetings of Germans to rationalize LMA’s Professor – I have to admit that I do the same thing. Also, I didn’t really get why she made him so physically unattractive other than to emphasize that a woman like Jo needed a connection beyond the physical realm; it really did make the Prof a tough pill to swallow, even though I didn’t necessarily want her to settle for Laurie. I totally understand your ongoing resistance. I look forward to more of your posts!

            • Ha – you just got to the heart of my beef with LMA. Why DID the professor have to be physically unattractive? The idea that physical attraction fades, so we need something more than that is right and true – but it doesn’t mean we have to start out eschewing it altogether!

              In the end, if LMA had just given them a stolen night or weekend of passion, AND made the German professor a little less physically repellant, I might not have been so scarred as to turn to fan fiction.

  10. Fantastic! I first encountered this book when I was 8 and had a bad, bad case of the measles. My mom read the entire book while I was sick, and I reread it later, along with the sequels Little Men & Jo’s Boys. I always felt that Jo & Laurie should have been together, and agree totally with you about Amy, who in my mind was the least realized character.

    When I grew up and learned more about the history and lives of the Alcott clan a lot about the book made more sense; but I never felt good about Jo and Laurie’s fate. Thank you for writing such a great ending!

  11. A little more musing …

    You know … this is one of the big reasons why I like “Pygmalion” better than “My Fair Lady.” She married cute, sweet, devoted Freddie in the end and did exactly what she wanted to do: work in a flower shop. The two of them struggled to make ends meet in the beginning, but ultimately ended up perfectly happy with one another. Shaw evidently wrote the epilogue wherein he described all of this in great detail precisely because nincompoops wanted Eliza to end up with rude, boorish, obnoxious, abusive Higgins — who was an interesting character but let’s face it, also a total jerk.

    I liked Shaw even more because of that epilogue, because he made a point of saying, “NO. She married FREDDIE,” and stated that a marriage to Higgins would have ended in total disaster.

    I often wonder how many of these stories are just written to reassure women that their husbands are actually quite wonderful, even if they are rude, boorish, and obnoxious. Shaw saw no reason to reinforce that. Eliza married her cute, sweet, charming beau in the end, and they lived happily ever after. 🙂

      • I used to want to write a tongue-in-cheek epilogue to “My Fair Lady” called “My Fair Later,” wherein it was revealed that Eliza, after marrying Higgins, slowly poisoned him with rat poison and then ran off to San Francisco with Freddie in tow, and founded a casino. 🙂 Made more sense than the end of the flippin movie!

      • you’re welcome. Even though I was very upset about the split I quite liked the German Professor but then I think he looked more like a 30 year old George Cloony … after all I was 7 and 30 was ANCIENT. Looking back on it I think you could be right. And I never got meg … or Amy

  12. Romance is lovely and what we yearn for when we are young. But you can’t live off romance for ever, so when the shine wears off, then there had better be something there that lasts,like love, respect for each other’s strengths, acceptance of each other’s flaws and last but not least sharing core values. I think that all Jo and Laurie shared was youth and propinquity. 🙂

    • I think Laurie yearned to break free from his Grandfather’s expectations. The love of a great woman has enabled many a man to realize his own greatness…Laurie saw Jo as a great woman, but she was a scaredy cat. (childishly stomping off, forgetting even to say ‘thanks!’)

  13. I loved Jo’s German professor, but a part of me always felt bad for Laurie. It always seemed strange to me how Amy accepted him, when it was obvious he loved her sister. He chose the younger sister, because he couldn’t have his first love, Jo. Really enjoyed your revised ending! Thanks for sharing!

  14. The romantic in me loves your ending, the pessimist in me finds Alcott’s ending more like the world. Wanting something so badly but it just slips through your fingertips and you have to settle for 2nd best. Sigh. I also disliked Amy and loved Jo. I wanted Jo to win too!!

  15. The first time I read the book, I remember being in disbelief that Jo and Laurie actually weren’t going to end up together! Glad to hear there are others who felt the same – great post!

  16. Hi, I caught your blog on Freshly Pressed as well. Your post really resonates with me because I never could wrap my head around the idea that Jo wouldn’t end up with Laurie. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought this tragedy ridiculous! It was definitely not the most satisfying aspect of Little Women, and to drive the thorn further into the wound, Laurie ends up with Jo’s annoying, bratty, and shallow sister. I suppose it’s not too different from contemporary times. Although as I understand, people were encouraged to marry for practical reasons rather than for love or passion back in the day. The concept of love, and love being joined with marriage, is fairly new and people are still trying to get it right.

    By the way, in your mention of the 1960s Romeo and Juliet film, you referred to the actress who played Juliet as Olivia Wilde, but it’s actually Olivia Hussey. At first I was a bit confused and even thought there might be another Romeo and Juliet movie out there with Olivia Wilde, haha!

    • thanks for the correction! I saw the film in the late 70s, I don’t think it could have been a 60s film just by the age of the actors, but could be wrong about that.

  17. I must respectfully disagree – while Jo would have been good for Laurie, he would not have been good for her. She would have spent her whole life mothering him. Prof. Bhaer challenges her intellectually and as a writer. He is the one who inspires her to write her real book, to write what she truly feels and knows. He also has a much stronger character than Laurie, who clearly is given to degeneracy when he doesn’t get his way. Prof. Bhaer is by far the better man; who cares if he isn’t as good looking?

    • I did, and I do. Sexual compatibility is as important as intellectual compatibility, and Laurie as a wealthy young scion had an excellent education….excellent enough that of all the young March sisters, it was Jo he pined for, not the pretty Meg or the spoiled arm candy-in-waiting that was Amy. Laurie lacked the courage to be the unusual man he wanted to be, unfettered from the shackles of his wealth. In Jo he saw how Love could set him free. But Jo wouldn’t have him, fearing she was taking him away from the traditional expectations of success – no arm candy wife she! Laurie was OK with that – Jo couldn’t image it. That’s what I think. But I appreciate your perspective! Anything that makes Jo happier with her lot makes me happier with her lot.

      But still.

  18. Lovely idea. I still can’t see Laurie and Jo together, but I’m so pleased that in your version, Beth doesn’t die! I must have read Little Women nearly a hundred times, and I still hope hat Beth won’t die this time. Two questions – have you seen the Friends episode where Joey reads Little Women? Funniest ep ever! Second thing – have you read Little Men and Jo’s Boys? It becomes apparent that Jo and Laurie married the right people and Jo becomes a famous author. I really recommend them although wanted to stop reading when Alcott killed off [spoiler]. Congrats on FP and lovely post.

  19. Oh my! I cried when I read that book (at 12 too) because Jo married the old German. I felt shallow because that was the only time in the book I cried…

  20. I have read Little Women at least 25 times. While in the short term Laurie and Jo would have had an amazing passionate love, it wouldn’t have lasted. Jo was young in years with an old soul. She needed a mature man who was stronger than her personality and would foster her writing and passion for the homeless. Can you see Laurie living at the boy’s school? He was too refined. She was unladylike, roughshod, unmannered and blunt. Long term, this would not have secured lasting happiness in Laurie’s world. They were better off as best friends, painful as it was to accept. Amy, while not a deep character, grew less obnoxious when she had to suffer Beth’s death away from her family. And she fit in well with Laurie’s style of living. She was weak, and this allowed him to be strong. My greatest unhappiness was the death of the most beloved character, Beth. I cant even read those 3 chapters anymore, it just sets me off. But I liked your ending as a short term fantasy. A romantic fling would have helped them realize that they needed more in a long term relationship, and squelched any angst that might crop up later.

  21. All I can say is – THANK YOU. Firstly for expressing the sheer frustration and rage that has lain in my breast for over fifteen years now (I could never ever read ‘Good Wives’ again, after the whole debacle, though at a stretch I let myself read ‘Little Women’ because….Jo hasn’t rejected Laurie yet! ;_;). And secondly, of course, for rectifying this awful mistake. I’m so glad to discover that I am not the only one who was made indignant by this. It’s like finding a family! :p

    Have you read ‘An Old-Fashioned Girl’ by Alcott? It’s lovely, and unlike the ‘Little Women’ series, contrives to be quite romantically gratifying…….!! Do read it if you haven’t. 🙂

  22. I’ve never read the book all the way through and am ashamed. I’ve seen the movie, though. And in the movie, Jo annoyed the crap out of me!

  23. There were two sequels to ‘Little Women’ and ‘Good Wives,’ called ‘Little Men’ and Jo’s Boys,’ and in them Jo both leads a happy life running a school with her husband, and becomes a well-known writer.

  24. I too read Little Women at 12 years old and many tens of times thereafter over the years, and the movie. I hated Amy. I loved Jo. I wanted Jo to marry Laurie. A few weeks ago, the movie came on TV. It was the first time I had watched it in over 15 years or more. I changed my opinion. I still hated Amy. Selfish and vain and stupid. But Jo ? Did she love Laurie enough ? Did she love her writing more ? Did she feel, that she was not good enough, more beautiful enough for him. I wished I had never watched it. I am so pleased I read your re-write and am 12 again – thank you.

  25. Wow! You, my dear, have made me a happy lady this morning, having eased a grudge I did not even realize I’d been carrying around for years. Reading your post hurtled me back to my own reading of LW, and the crushing disappointment and bewilderment of Jo not marrying Laurie but instead some old guy with an umbrella. A travesty it was, and while we’re at it WTF should Beth have to die? Of course, a moment’s reflection tells us that Alcott may have been preparing generations of little girls for reality, or at least for fiction without happily-ever-afters, but who needs that at 12? Disillusionment falls upon us all soon enough. So thank you for this post, and for your brilliant and satisfying rewrite.

  26. I love that you rewrote the ending. I admit, I never finished the book, but I always loved the movie. And never understood why she rejected Laurie. And then why he picked Amy!

    There are definitely some books and movies I’d like to rewrite as well!

  27. I didn’t bother with LW until 9th grade, and then only because of my own shame for not reading a “classic” that sat on our shelf for years. The book, and many like it (Austen and Brontes included), bored me to tears. It wasn’t until after college that I began to appreciate the realism of these stories.

    While I know we desperately think the tension between Laurie and Jo will be eased by a marriage, I’m inclined not to think so. But it’s perspective of my years that shows me this, I would not have thought so when I was younger.

    Our literature, and perhaps our current culture, has encouraged us to think kindred spirits belong together as mates. That it’s impossible for that connection to survive any other way that joining in marriage. Twenty years ago, I would have taken that view. Luckily, our authors here (both Alcott and Shakespeare) show us how people can continue that relationship outside of marriage, less pursuing it at all costs may destroy us for good.

    However, I did like your alternative ending!

    • Well I was all for them just carrying on, but back then (her, Alcott’s when, as well as my own when back then) marriage was the only option other than spinsterhood (now *there’s* a word!).

  28. I always wanted Jo and Laurie together too. Until I just thought about it. I have a friend who was pursued by a ‘young’ man. She rejected him, and he married her older sister. Another man came along and she rejected him also. He married her younger sister. My friend ended up marrying an ‘older’ man and they now have 8 (living) children. And all three couples lived happily ever after. (True story) the end.

  29. LOVE this – that was always my least favorite part of the book, too. The abrupt end. It still makes me cry every time I read it. But bravo, your ending fulfilled every wish of my heart. And every time I re-read Little Women, I shall think of your ending, and smile.

  30. I loved your new ending, but I can’t say I agree. I was first exposed to Little Women around the same age. I still remember my 12-year-old temper tantrum in the middle of the living room floor when the story ended. I stomped my feet and loudly berated my mother for sharing such a such a story that had offended all my 12-year-old sensibilities about love! What a waste of time! When it was required reading for school, I flat out refused! HOWEVER, one holiday Grandma insisted on watching the movie, the old black and white one, with Katherine Hepburn and Paul Lukas. Despite my refusals, I was overruled. The inevitable horrible end came, but this time at the age of 34, I found myself feeling something entirely different. I realized I had finally had come to understand Jo’s decision. In fact I realized I had even made the same decision in my own love live. While my husband and I are the same age, we married because he challenges me, pushes me, and fulfills me in a way a “Laurie” never could. After the movie had ended, I sat there in silence contemplating my 22 years of misdirected hatred toward Miss Alcott and I finally understood why Jo never would have been truly happy with Laurie. I did enjoy your ending, however. Thank you for sharing. On any given day, depending on how I’m currently feeling about love, I will choose either her ending or yours!

    • Thanks for the great comment. I can respect your disagreement – I did start the post saying I’m a romantic at heart. It’s served me rather well, actually – maybe that’s the source of the rebellion ?

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  32. It’s been probably a decade since I read this book, but all my 12-year-old thoughts came rushing back haha! I never had a problem with the Professor, since I saw him as kind and intellectual, but I remember hating Amy and Laurie together! When they got together in Europe I remember thinking “They’re only together because they remind each other of home, they don’t really love each other!” Great post!

      • I agree with “They’re only together because they remind each other of home, they don’t really love each other!” and I thought the exact same thing! Why else would Laurie been sad and restless even two years after Jo’s refusal (that’s about when he met Amy) when he had come across so many beautiful and elegant women abroad? When he meets Amy, he’s still pining for Jo but Jo keeps refusing and Amy, in addition to being his connection to the past is flirtatious and yielding – mending his hurt ego very slyly!

  33. Reblogged this on Slightly Boring Thoughts and commented:
    Finally, I have been waiting for this for years and years and YEARS. This is what Jo needed to say. There’s something gratifying about seeing it written out. (Warning: for those who haven’t read/are in the process of reading Little Women, the post contains spoilers.)

  34. Great post! I actually cried when I read that chapter in Good Wives where Jo rejected Laurie, while (I hope I don’t sound heartless here) I didn’t even shed a tear for Beth. I read the book when I was about that age, too, and I thought it was mean of Alcott to raise our expectations in Little Women only to disappoint us in its sequel. I guess I do see her wisdom now, but the romantic in me always, always ends up disappointed when I reread my would-have-been favorite.

  35. I just loved all her books and i suppose she taught us lessons in life and things don’t always work out as we may wish or expect. All was good in the very end and that is all we can hope for.. I always think of Louisa May Alcott as the children Jane Austen. Nice post!

      • I feel reading these kind of books have certainly helped me learn about life, but not in a bad way. I think children need to know about right and wrong and that things don’t always come easy. I have loved books all my life, even the ones without the fairytale endings! I know L M Alcott helped develop my love of classics, including the Brontes, Dickens and Austen.

  36. I love this! Seriously I think that Jo should be with Laurie too, I fell in love with Laurie right at the beginning of the book. I read Good Wives which I thought it to be a sequel to Little Women but was disappointed since it was just the same.

  37. Pingback: Finally, Romantic Justice For Little Women’s Jo | Ekam Eveileb on Randomly Ruru·

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