A remix of Little Women? I’m here, I’m ready, give it to me. I am obsessed with Little Women and all things Louisa May Alcott, and I’m not one of those purists who hates Jo/Laurie fanfiction. I’m pretty much all for showing the impact of this lovely sisterhood tale to as many people as possible. So, if you’re here to complain about this author, Bethany Morrow, making the March sisters Black, you can get the heck outta here.
I was really excited to get an ARC of So Many Beginnings this spring!
This is a historical remix of Little Women, rather than a contemporary adaptation, and honestly, I think that’s a huge selling point for it! It interrogates the original source material and historical context in new ways while still capturing the beauty of the original story.
The March sisters are the ones you know and love–Jo, the writer, Meg, the teacher and wannabe wife, Beth the quiet one, and Amy the creative one. It is the Civil War–1860s–and the Marches, including Mammy, live in Roanoke, a Freedpeople’s colony. The March sisters were formerly enslaved, which provides a really interesting tone to the story and impacts the narrative in ways that I think enrich the historical context of the original story as well. There’s the usual sisterly banter, the character of Lorie, a love interest for Meg, and impending concerns about the end of the war and what it will mean for the Roanoke colony of North Carolina.
I really enjoyed this retelling–I gave it four stars. I think the “remix’ of it works well–it also doesn’t follow the structural bones of the original EXACTLY, but it kind of illuminates it in ways. I really recommend you read this one–I learned a lot about freedpeople’s colonies, ad the 1860s in general, through this, and I think that’s a benefit of this compared to the original. It’s enriching.
Im not sure why this wasn’t a 5 star read for me–it reads very “classical” but somehow lacks something. I can’t tell you what. Oomph, is that a thing? I dunno. I liked it, I did, but I wasn’t head over heels. But I’m so glad it’s out in the world and others can read it and learn from it! I might re-read it in a few months and see if maybe It was just my stress levels.
So Many Beginnings is on sale everywhere September 7, 2021.
Other “remixed classics” with pub dates on the calendar include remixes of Treasure Island and Robin Hood.