This month's Classics Club meme question was contributed by Brona from Brona’s Books
Rereading a favourite classic at different stages of your life gives you different insights with each reading. Is there one classic you’ve read several times that also tells a story about you?The only book I have re-read multiple times is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It was the first book I remember picking out at a bookstore. I was at a bookstore with my Dad and I can still picture the book on its elegant wooden shelf (the bookstore might have been Brentano's in NY, but I'm not sure about that). The book was a huge mass market paperback edition and I am sure it was fatter than any book I had read at that point, but I wanted it and my Dad bought it for me. I was probably about 8. I read it right away and I loved it. I wanted to be just like Jo March.
I read Little Women again several times as I was growing up (my copy has a ribbon tied around it because many of the pages are no longer attached) and I continued to love it and to cry over the sad bits (I won't give away what they are, but be warned you should have tissues nearby when you read) and be thrilled at Jo's triumphs. As I got older I came to appreciate Meg more and more and to realize that she had very excellent taste in men. When I was in college I read Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and I appreciated that book much more than I would have otherwise because of the role it plays in Little Women.
When I was in my mid-20's I read the novel as part of a book discussion group at work. Several of the people in the group (all women) had never read the novel and I was shocked by how old-fashioned and sexist it was through their eyes. I have read it again since then and while I do now see the mark of the times in which Alcott wrote in the portrayal of women I still love the characters, and the story, and the lessons the girls learn, and the way they interact with one another. It is a wonderful book and I think Meg's experience with making jam may be one of my favorite episodes in any book ever.