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. I don’t know anything about you but after reading this I think I can say I love you for giving me the ending I longed so badly to hear! I think I can convince myself that it’s real, only that I’ll have to go about some massive or perhaps subtly editing “Little Men”. Whatever, Laurie was meant for Jo, the end. I was around umm … 12 , too, when I read this and at that time dear Laurie was the face of my tween love *sighs* (though at that time he hadn’t the face of Christian Bale) Beautiful post.

    • To my 12 year old mind he was indistinct but gorgeously so. To my current self he’s like John Cusack in Say Anything with Johnny Depp’s face and Channing Tatum’s body, smoldering away like the actor who played Mr Darcy in the Kiera Knightley remake of Pride and Prejudice and when he grows older it will be in the way of Daniel Craig, in Jesus’ name amen.

  2. I first read Little Women when I was 12 as well…but I read it again…and again…and AGAIN. Although I wasn’t as cut up over Laurie and Jo’s separation as you were, it never sat right with me and NOW I KNOW WHY. Because your ending (L. M. Alcott, please forgive me) is so much better!

  3. 🙂 it remains one of my all time favourites…inspite of my feelings for it that mirror your own. I remember feeling a physical blow on reading of Beths demise. All the books i read before were sweet stories with a Happily ever after…So when the happy ending i felt was inevitable refused to materialise… i was just numb. i refused to read the rest of her novels…if i didnt read it… maybe it never happened 🙂

  4. I read Little Women two years ago after I got my Kindle.I was 28 years old, and I had been trying to read the book since I was a kid. I had seen three different adaptations before finally reading it, but it didn’t sit well with me. There were parts I liked, but I felt like Louisa May Alcott should have just let Jo never marry. While I love Professor Bhaer, you just sense Alcott’s feelings of having to give Jo a love interest.

  5. OH GOD, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. Jo was easily my most favorite character of them all (the second being Beth because I simply detested Meg and, most of all, Amy). I remember being so upset when I read Little Women for the first time…I burst into tears when I realized that Laurie and Jo weren’t going to be together, and stupid Amy was getting all the goods in the end, and Jo was left with the short, fat, OLD end of the stick. (I really was very harsh on the Professor, but who can blame me?) Thank you for the revised ending, though I have to admit Little Women is still on my hate list…until I can reread it and understand Alcott’s reasoning properly. 🙂

  6. LOL – I read it years ago too. And I always wondered how two people who are so obviously in love, ended up not together but apart. Even more, I often wondered. Would Amy not have worried about Teddy’s feelings for Jo? Your ending is great.. but then we wouldn’t have got Little Men and Jo’s boys (once again with the Bess/Dan impossible love story) I think LMA likes unrequited love as an ending.

  7. This has made my day – I read or watch a version of Little Women every year and I always hope that I’ve remembered it wrong and that they will end up together. I can’t understand what LMA was playing at – Amy and Laurie never had ANY spark at all – she would have been much better off with some fawning sap who doted on her rather than stealing Laurie away. Tut tut. Anyway, thanks for this perfect ending. Although if you could re-write the next 3 books to continue their lives then that would be great 🙂 Good job! x

  8. I didn’t want to write a different ending…I just wanted to BE Jo, my hero, and know that I would run to Laurie in a fit of passion. But I would have traded that for letting little Beth live. That was the very worst.

  9. Pingback: Finally, Romantic Justice For Little Women’s Jo | Narnia·

  10. I read Little Women about the same time you did in my life, curled up in a chair in my gargantuan country house where we all grew up – loved it – I used it as an escape from family dysfunctionality and was given the book by my mother because I was named after “JO” and am like her in so many weird and wonderful ways. Thanks for this great Post!! You brought it all back….

  11. I think we might be soul sisters…I love this re-write and I, too, read this book for the first time as an impressionable 12-year old…never really to recover from the devastation of Laurie and Jo never being united- as we all knew they should. Plus I have two sisters and we always called ourselves the Marches- which didn’t help my Jo vs. Meg (me vs. my sister) complex 😉
    Great re-write!

    • My sister said if I was Jo that meant she had to be Meg, Beth or Amy, ergo boring, dead, or boyfriend stealer, so she refused to be a March. But I feel you, sistah. I feel you.

  12. As a man, perhaps I’m not really qualified to judge. However, I can say that I first read Little Women at the age of ten, and enjoyed it so much that I have re-read it many times since, even though it seems a little sugary for my taste over sixty years later, though reading Russian novels tend to give that effect. Oddly enough, I always thought that Jo made the right decision when turning down Laurie, even though it didn’t seem satisfactory at the time, not fulfilling the true romantic in me. (That may sound odd from a man in his seventies, but – been there, done that – I’m sure you understand). In any case, it always seemed that there was genuine love and affection between Jo and the man she actually married. I wish them luck and happiness. Interesting alternative ending, though. I did like it, even though it really transfers the action to modern times with modern attitudes, attitudes which probably could not obtain at the time the original story was written. Feel free to disagree, as this is only a personal opinion. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • I agree, sadly – Jo probably did make the right decision but it was unsatifactory to the romantic in me, and that harpy always demands satisfaction. Thanks so much for commenting, it’s a pleasure to encounter a man that loved the story and doesn’t mind talking about that fact. I would expect a man to be more sympathetic to the Professor….but to a 12 year old girl it felt like the end of Jo’s life, not a new beginning.

  13. I thought I was crazy for wanting Jo and Laurie to be together forever…but apparently every young lady with that secret romantic within them knew this should have happened.

  14. An interesting re-write.

    However, I must say that Louisa May Alcott (LMA) is most likely turning in her grave. In spite, not because of, Little Women, et. al., LMA is one of my favorite writers. I have never cared for Little Women (or the rest of the series) I was greatly relieved to find many other stories by LMA which better suited my taste. I previously owned a book by a LMA scholar, which following countless moves later, I have lost (and unfortunately cannot remember the author’s name to try and replace) which not only introduced me to many of the short stories of a fascinating writer in LMA, but of a thoroughly unique woman.

    Often Little Women has been seen as a semi-autobiographical study of LMA. Interestingly enough, some scholarly work has noted that LMA herself was not happy with any of the Little Women series and only committed to the project to help keep her family feed. So very like Jo and the pivotal role Jo played in the family make up in Little Women, LMA also found herself often the lynch pin of her own family. (I would suggest to one and all, seek out other LMA works.) Her lead characters are genuinely strong women, who must face the truth of their lives in an age which was a transitional period for women in Western Culture. Often her lead characters, not unlike the author herself, chose strength over some fanciful notion of romance. An early suffragette as some have suggested, LMA most certainly was a realist who tread the waters of Transcendentalism only to find that the cold world could not be held at bay.

    As noted an interesting re-write, but, for me a disservice to the true nature of LMA’s statement on women’s life in the pre-dawn light of suffrage and liberation.

    • I’m sure you’re right – if *I*I wrote LMA and then someone like me came along and wrote an ending I preferred, I’d probably be outraged. But I’d be flattered too that she cared enough about my character to make the effort 🙂 Of course my essay is mostly in fun – I”m satisfying the thwarted 12 year old romantic in me, not even trying to consider if it’s really the best thing for Jo. Though I believe her relationship with a young man her age that accepted and admired her despite the class differences to be at least as likely to be successful as marrying someone her father’s age.

      • Please don’t misunderstand, I enjoyed your re-write. I merely wanted to present a view from another angle. One of the most interesting things in literature is how the public views the work of the author. In some instances what is intended by one is regarded differently by the other. I believe, just as here with your work and the lovely comments of so many others that it is what keeps a story alive. It is what touches us the most that provokes the life of piece of literature. LMA is a very good example. Her most noted works, by most accounts were her least favorite. Yet even in 2013, 145 years after first publication, a beautiful discussion can elicit such warmth and adoration for it’s characters. I do implore, that everyone who has a love of literature taste at least a few other works by LMA. They are well worth the time.

  15. After reading this I find myself extremely torn. I always felt that Jo was better off with her Professor, and a calm sort of settled love. That was the love I saw with my grandparents and parents (at the time) and it made so much sense to me. I felt I was quite like Jo in many ways and cheered when she took the Professors hand and led him through the rain to home. I didn’t have the love of Laurie that you do, he always felt a bit shallow and so much a “boy” to me. Why wouldn’t Jo chose the “man” over the boy. Then I read Little Men and Jo’s Boys, and started to hate the Professor. He felt overbearing and stifling to Jos innate Jo-ness, I still couldn’t see her with Laurie though. Maybe she would have been better off with him, as he did seem to embrace the whole of her. I just wonder though, how long the embrace would have lasted in the tumult that would always have surrounded her?

    • It’s funny to me how many people commenting justify the choice of the Professor over Laurie as choosing the mature man over the ‘boy’….but Laurie was the same age as Jo! She who supported her household at such a young age..wasn’t she entitled to more of a girlhood? I always felt she married a father figure. While I’m sure there were many good things about her marriage to the Professor, it wasn’t very satisfying to a 12 year old. And I never could understand Laurie’s grandfather admonishing they were too much alike to get along. I mean, huh?

  16. this is great – I always find it annoying when books do this: go off in a meandering fork away from what is quite clearly (or so I deem) the appropriate ending. never got down to writing my own, but I loved reading this!

  17. Thumbs up on this one. I love your ending a lot more than the original’s! I mean for those who think Laurie’s not mature enough, perhaps he could go on his trip and come back a more mature person WHO STILL LIKES JO. I really did not like him ending up with Amy, because honestly, I feel that her character isn’t very deserving of the good ending she got. :/

  18. Funny thing is, that’s what readers of the time wanted as well–Jo and Laurie for evahhhh! But Lou wrote the novel in two installments, and is reported to have declared, “I won’t marry Jo to Laurie to please any one.”She rejected the common sentiment that Jo /should/ end up with Laurie and went and ruined it for them (and readers today) by throwing Jo at the Professor/Ralph Waldo Emerson…

    All that to say: this was immensely satisfying to read, and you have my sincerest thanks.

    • Thank you! I do feel I have righted a grievous wrong. I love LMA, but anyone can see that even she wanted them together (why give them so much chemistry?) though she wouldn’t write the ending they deserved.

      • Haha, and that is SUCH a good point… Why go through the trouble of writing such irresistibly tangible chemistry if it isn’t meant to be? Yes, I quite agree: you’ve righted a grievous wrong.

  19. This is so interesting! I read ‘Little Women’ when I was 12 too and couldn’t believe what LMA had done to Jo and Laurie, though I grudgingly settled for the mismatches when I started reading ‘Jo’s Boys’. I’m actually currently writing a paper on ‘Little Women’ for my degree and have been reading what critics have to say and it has totally changed my mind.
    In many of the letters that Alcott wrote during the creation of “Little Women”, she is unhappy with the girls’ social environment because she knows she will have to sacrifice Jo and her spirited nature. She’s written other works in which the women are fiery and in fact, exact revenge for the injustice of patriarchy but those ‘sensational’ stories were not approved of. ‘Little Women’ was a project she took up reluctantly, simply for the money, and didn’t even like when she had finished because it wasn’t her kind of writing at all.
    Like someone mentioned in the comments above, Jo should have remained unmarried and Alcott wanted that too, but fans demanded that Jo be married (Alcott’s own words in a letter- “‘Jo’ should have remained a literary spinster but so many enthusiastic young ladies wrote to me clamorously demanding that she should marry Laurie, or somebody, that I didn’t dare to refuse & out of perversity went & made a funny match for her. I expect vials of wrath to be poured out upon my head, but rather enjoy the prospect”.)
    Alcott felt that ANY marriage would destroy Jo, and honestly, if it ended badly with Laurie, it would have hurt more, I think. So Alcott gave her away to some old dude. Interestingly, there is this brilliant essay by Angela Estes and Kathleen Lant which says that the Jo who gets married to Bhaer is not Jo at all, it is some ghost of who Jo once was, someone was destroyed by the necessity to conform to society’s idea of a woman. It is better that Bhaer get a ghost than Laurie!
    I think LMA actually preserved Laurie and Jo’s love and respect for each other (as we see in Jo’s Boys), which she thought would be destroyed by marriage. I also think she would be real proud of your version, which shows that we finally live in a world where Jo could be married to Laurie and not have to lose herself simply because she is a woman. 🙂

    • “I also think she would be real proud of your version, which shows that we finally live in a world where Jo could be married to Laurie and not have to lose herself simply because she is a woman.”

      That’s the nicest thing anyone could have said about this piece. Fan fiction is dorky but damn it I feel a great wrong has been righted, thanks for agreeing!

  20. i started reading little women when I was seven, and never finished it until I was twelve, since the librarian said some kid had lost the book and hadn’t paid back yet, and i was so absent minded i forgot that book in a few days until some cousin got it for me as a birthday present (when i was twelve). Totally hated Meg from the beginning, adored Jo, and just loved dear little Beth, such a sweet soul. I totally agree on your point about the Jo/Laurie thing, loved your ending, that’s much more fair. I nearly killed myself (not literally, but yes, nearly killed myself) when I came to that part when Laurie fell in love with Amy. I don’t get how Ms. Alcott could do that, and make Laurie say something like Amy has replaced the position of Jo blah blah. Like seriously, how could she? Amy is so, what’d you call it, i don’t know, un-Jo-ish? I really don’t like the Laurie/Amy thing although Jo/Bhear wasn’t that bad to me, but anyways, love and totally agree with your ending. Go team Laurie!

  21. I just finished re-reading Little Women last night, for maybe the 50th time (but it had been awhile!). I, too, was extremely disappointed and could not get on board with the idea of the Professor when I was a child. Now, in middle age, I love his and Jo’s love story. HOWEVER, I think that she COULD have married Laurie and been happy with him as well–but for one thing that I never noticed until this reading. She states that she “doesn’t feel that way about him.” Now maybe she could have, and she was repressing it, but it reads as though she really was not passionate about him but only had strong feelings of family and friendship. Not that you couldn’t make a marriage on that, but would that have been fair to Laurie in the end? That said, I have a hard time buying the Amy-Laurie romance. It just seems like a convenience tying up of loose ends.

    • I had forgotten that line! My stubborn ears find it rings hollow though. I am now middle aged but my heart is still loyal to the idea of young Laurie than boring old Professor Baher. I am *almost* mollified, though never enough to accept *Amy* as Laurie’s wife. Pffft.

  22. I love your correction to this story. Could you update with an response
    From Laurie? Or better yet deliver his own letter himself,.

  23. I can so relate to you I was the same age when I read little women and I was in love with it after 3 years I read the second part of the book about 1 month from my high school exam and was devastated to know that Jo and Laurie don’t get together , I couldn’t even study fr 2 days which wasn’t good as I have near my final exam hehehe ,me and my sister we both mourned in it together n then I rewrote the ending too for me and my sister though I killed Amy in child birth and professor of old age and then Jo is there t console Laurie and then they both fall in love why did Louisa did this though she ruined the most wonderful book for me and now after years I still can’t get over the fact it’s like Jo and Laurie were a part of me which broke and so my heart hurt still .My sister went on to read the other parts of the series but when Jo and Laurie didn’t got together I couldn’t carry on

  24. What a great post! I completely agree – Jo and Laurie totally should have gotten together. Sure their marriage would have had some conflict due to their strong personalities, but it would have also been full of adventure passion, love, and fun. This is not something that we saw in the marriages that happened in Little Women; which were all traditional, calm, and quite boring. Well its what was expected of Victorian marriages, and Alcott couldn’t disappoint – after all she was writing a “moral” book for young girls as demanded by her publisher. Ah well, I think if Alcott had seen what a truly egalitarian marriage looked like, she totally would have put Jo and Laurie together.

    A quick aside, in your otherwise awesome post, you state “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.” Hmm, I don’t remember this. In fact, I think it was marmee who convinced Jo that she and Laurie were too much alike said that her marriage with Laurie would never work. I’ll admit I disliked marmee quite a bit in LW – so so preachy it made me want to scream at times. As for Laurie’s grandfather, I just remembering being upset that Jo refused Laurie and that he found it difficult to understand, but new that love couldn’t be forced. So I actually liked grandpa!

    • Did I get it wrong about grandpa? I liked him too – I must go check! It would actually make me happy to be wrong. I agree, if Alcott had understood what marriage could be in, instead of what it was, she would have ended the story quite differently, and gone with her heart over her head….

  25. Absolutely perfect. There’s nothing more satisfying than a well – written fixit fic and this really hit the spot 🙂

    I felt the same way about laurie and jo, and the fact they married other people only made me read the rest of the series with slash goggles and tinhat firmly in place, over-analyzing every interaction between them.

    From that, I really feel that jo and laurie kept a special place in their hearts for the other, and had this particular intimacy and camaraderie that their actual spouses couldn’t replicate.

    I don’t have the books with me or else I’d reference some specific instances. But I totally think that although laurie was a dutiful and fond husband, he never got over jo or recaptured the passion he felt for her. And likewise I think as jo saw what kind of man laurie grew into, so far removed from her ideas of a hot-tempered man boy, she would have developed suppressed feelings for him.

    tl; dr JO X LAURIE 5EVER

    also I totally agree with another commenter who brought up the second greatest travesty of the series: namely, the Dan/Bess sh#t show.


    Can you write dan/bess fixit fic next pretty pretty please….

  26. thank you. thank so much. i adore little women and have only read it once all the way through. my poor heart always stops after his proposal and this is the ending i so wanted.

  27. MY GOD, THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. I am nearing the end of Little Women and I can’t stand to read it. Laurie and Amy were never meant to be! It was always Laurie and Jo! I’m going to assume your rewrite of the ending is the real ending to soothe my broken heart, haha. Thank you for giving me the ending I dreamed of!

  28. That was the moment for me too – when Jo cut off her hair. From then on it was – Jo is such an awesome woman of character, she is the heroine who the hero is going to work really hard to win over, who is deserving of an epic courtship. And it seems really obvious that of course Laurie’s the one who does the chasing – he already recognises that he likes her best of all, he likes her for her character, for all of who she is, despite her being completely unconventional and quite unladylike (maybe even exactly because of that).

    Why doesn’t it happen? The set up in Little Women Part 1 (there were originally two parts, published separately. Part 2 began with Meg’s wedding) seemed to point to a Jo Laurie pairing. My theory (after reading Eva LaPlante’s dual biography of Alcott and her mother, Marmee and Louisa):
    a) Alcott was annoyed at all the clamour for Jo and Laurie to get married after she wrote Part 1 (after all, marriage had nothing to do with Jo’s castle in the air – she wanted to write travel and be famous). She had planned for Jo to be single. If she had to marry Jo off, Laurie was thrown off the table I suspect from sheer determination to stick it to her readers.
    b) Bronson Alcott, her father – who, after Louisa becomes famous from the success of Little Women Part 1, begins to experience more success peddling his particular ideas on education. Alcott had Jo marry a professor, with whom she starts a school. I wonder if Alcott thought something like, “Well, I’m supposed to write this girls book in which they all get married – might as well help dad out by having her marry this professor and they start a school, and people might start taking more interest in dad’s ideas.” (which is what ended up happening)

  29. So, this post is 5 years old, but I just watched the 1933 Hepburn Little Women, and while I have read the novel mamay times and seen every movie version, I just kept thinking maybe there is one, just one, version of a Little Womens somewhere where Jo ends up with who she should have. I Google it even, and came across this blog. I am happy to know that I am not only with this novel infuriating Mr to no end… it’s so good, but ahhhh! Why Louisa May Alcott, why!?!?! This read helped me for tonight, until I read rhe novel or watch any of the movie versions again.

  30. So happy to have stumbled across your page.I thought that I was one of the few fanatics who felt so strongly about the ending and how Jo and Laurie were ultimate soulmates .I truly can’t wrap my head around how the author didn’t see that it was so obvious that Jo and Laurie belonged together.Absolutely loves your ending .

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