Show + Tell: Little Women


A phrase that gets used often about the book Little Women is “much-loved.” And that’s fine, as far as it goes. But saying that Louisa May Alcott’s story of the four March daughters making their way through their teen years in Civil War-era Concord, Massachusetts is much loved is like saying that Elvis has loyal fans. The reality is much richer.

Little Women hasn’t been out of print since it first appeared in 1868/69, and it has been read and reread by generations of women around the world. The character of Jo Marsh was pretty much unprecedented in American literature, and Jo has been a heroine to a continuing wave of women who see their ambitions blocked and their talents undervalued and long for the kind of warm support that the Marsh family represents.

So, as you can imagine, Greta Gerwig’s big-budget, star-packed adaptation of the book was a sensation when it hit the screen last year at Christmas time. Every woman who ever read the book (and I think I’m safe in estimating that male readership is minuscule) had high hopes and significant fears about how the movie would measure up to their appreciation of the book.

Fortunately, with Greta Gerwig both scripting and directing, the movie proved a hit at the box office, at the Oscars, and with the critics, appearing on dozens of Top Ten lists for the year

Now, all that remains is for those of us who call The Music Hall home to take our seats for a peek at what all the shouting is about. And to discuss it, of course.

I know interest will be keen. I also know that we will have at least one noted scholar of Alcott and Little Women in the audience. And I expect that we will have a wealth of impressions, memories, observations, appreciations, and criticisms to enrich our conversation.

I’m looking forward to both the movie (the only one of the Best Picture nominees that I didn’t see before the Oscar ceremony) and the discussion.

As always, we’ll have The Music Hall’s free coffee and popcorn to fuel our discussion, which I expect to be lively and enlightening.

I hope to see you there, which will be tonight (February 25) in The Historic Theater at 7:00pm.

This should be fun.

Paul Goodwin