They say that children are made readers in the laps of their parents. For me, it was in the lap of my Granny Erquiaga, who loved to read and share books with others as much as I do. She frequented the Churchill County Library, and during the summer, she took my brother and me along. We each would leave with an armload of books to haul home and tuck into after lunch.
My Granny is the person who bought me my first copy of “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott when I was nine or ten, and by introducing me to the March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – she introduced me to my single most favorite book in the whole world. I still have the copy she gave me over 30 years ago, which has been read and reread. It is my “comfort book." A little while back, after watching Greta Gerwig's movie adaptation, one of my daughters talked about herself “being a Jo March" - it seems we can all relate to one March sister or another. Imaginative, fierce, temperamental Jo – with her love of reading and writing and her quick temper and hyper-awareness of the disparities between men and women – has always been my favorite, too. I laughed and told her that once upon a time, I was a Jo - but now I'm just a Marmee. My husband overheard this conversation, looked up from his book, smiled, and replied, "Oh, Allison, you are still a Jo - Marmee was a Jo before Jo even existed. I like Marmee better anyway." Queue the explosion of my book-loving heart.
For all of my fellow Jo March and Marmee lovers out there, “Marmee” by Sara Miller is a brilliant retelling of “Little Women,”written as if we are reading directly from the journals of Margaret “Marmee" March. It is an absolutely beautiful portrait of a woman doing everything it takes to keep her family afloat during hard times. Well-researched and full of heart, “Marmee” is a beautifully written homage to a classic. It is simultaneously familiar and fresh, making it hard to put down. I love that it has all of the cozy, domestic vibes that “Little Women” provides but with some added depth and dimension as readers experience the story through Marmee's wiser, world-weary eyes.
This week, go ahead and cuddle up with the March girls and their Marmee. This one is an instant classic for me, and I know you will love it. I hope you will come follow my readings and ramblings over on Instagram @allison.the.reader for more about what books are making me tick this week.