Monday, September 19, 2011

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (ARC review)


Pick a favorite book.  Then write a paper about your three favorite parts, and one thing you would change.
So goes Emily March's English assignment.  And after a hard day of drama with boys, she is more than happy to work on it.  When she picks up Little Women and realizes how much she'd want to change, she doesn't expect to be swept into the story - or to become one of the March sisters, either!  But that is exactly what happens.  Emily's life - and the story of Little Women, is about to change drastically.
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My thoughts -
Some things I liked.  Some things I did not.  I tried terribly hard to enjoy the book with effortless ease, not prying into random details and picking at the story too much.  Btu I just couldn't do it.  There were quite a few things that just would not stop bugging me, and I feel compelled, as an honest reviewer, to share them with you.  Yes, the story was cute; yes, I laughed, smiled, and even got caught up in emotion (although, only toward the end); yes, I was once more inspired by the characters, mostly Beth and Jo.  But there are issues to be addressed.

Character notes -
The characters in Little Women have always made me fall in love with them every time I watch the movie or read the book.  And while she didn't do it exactly, Lauren Baratz-Logsted did do a good job portraying the characters well, the sisters especially.  Marmee, not so much.  And Laurie was adorable, but, of course, I'm biased to the Christian Bale version.  (Mr. Bale, you have defeated everyone's chances of being as good as the original - even you!)  Aunt March cracked me up, as did her parrot.

What about Emily March?  Well, she's not exactly the most likable character.  She drove me crazy with her really really bad logic.  She made decisions that had me wanting to rip out my hair.  I personally didn't like her at all until the end of the middle (if that makes sense).  Another problem I had was at the beginning - I had a hard time seeing the connection between the author's voice/style and Emily's voice/character.  I could sense Lauren's style, which I like, and then suddenly I was reading from Emily's perspective.  The two were discernible, and I found this annoying.  I wanted them to mesh and be one voice; it's something I find incredibly important.  However, toward the middle, I felt the two voices come easier and go together better.

One of my favorite things about the book - Emily and Beth's relationship.  I mean, SO sweet.  So tender and adorable.  They had nothing in common, and yet they just had this sweet, sisterly love.  It made me grin and get emotional over Beth (and the change in Emily...finally!) on more than one occasion.

So, in the end, I liked Emily March.  The changes she made were for the better and worth going through the crap for.

Story notes -
While I didn't know where this story was headed in the beginning, I loved the turnout and the really cool twist at the end.  The way everything played out made me happy.  It went through all my favorite scenes from Little Women and added some great ones.
I loved the dialogue but wished there was more of it.  I felt like there was a lot of telling about the conversations between the characters, and not enough actual dialogue.  It would have added more meat to the story...
I really liked how circumstances made the book itself magic.  I loved Emily's perspective on the 1860's, all her likes and dislikes...

But while I liked the story, there were things I just couldn't ignore.  Like, the story amnesia.  Emily couldn't remember who John Brooke was, and when certain events would happen or what certain events would happen.  And then, all of a sudden, with no transition of thoughts, half-way through the book, Emily was like, "That must be my story amnesia..."  It was weird.  One moment I'm confused by the lack of explanation for her lack of memory of a book she'd read many times.  Then, there's a sudden diagnoses.

In the end I still had some unanswered questions, and the end seemed short, but I was satisfied and happy that I had read the book.

Summing it up -
Flawed but likable.  This story isn't exactly solid, but it is clean, funny, and it ended well.  I'm satisfied and can't wait to read more from the author!  Thank you, Lauren, for sending me the ARC copy to review! :)

For the parents -
A quick reference to, what if Emily March scandalized the family by becoming a lesbian?  Emily also tries to kiss Laura...and awkward scene.  He pushes her away and accuses her of having a fever.  Over all, clean.  Recommended 14+.

This ARC copy was provided by the author in return for an honest review.  I was in no way compensated; all thoughts and feelings expressed are my own.

2 comments:

  1. 100% agree! I laughed a lot and I thought Emily was really funny, but I'm not sure I *liked* her. The ending was a little too abrupt too, I thought. Oh yes, and the story amnesia. But it didn't seem like she had read Little Women in a while, so maybe that's why? I don't know, it was a little weird that she didn't remember so much, especially considering how well *I* know the events :P I had a lot of fun with it though (and you're right Christian Bale is THE Laurie).

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  2. Great style of reviewing and I always read the blogs where the bloggers do HONEST reviews, it is what us readers want, so we can base our future book choices fairly and well! I hate when someone says a book is great when it so clearly isn't when you buy it and read it yourself! Thanks for the honest opinion!

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