'Tis the season. The Chrismubirthdaykah season. Between my husband's family and mine, we celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, and six birthdays in a three-week period. My birthday was yesterday. I got some interesting books, which I'll tell you about later . . . .

I don't know if I should write about The Little Women, which I finished the day before yesterday, because our book group hasn't met yet. Well, what the heck. Actually, I just want to write about one aspect of it: this book's relationship to the "real" Little Women. TLW is about three sisters named Meg, Jo & Amy, who at the beginning of the book discover that their mother, whom they never call Marmee, has cheated on their father. They are very upset about this, even though the parents have gotten past it. So the high school-aged Jo & Amy run away to live in Yalie-Meg's apartment in New Haven. This is just the setting; I haven't given anything away.

Full disclosure: I received my now-tattered copy of LW for Chrismubirthdaykah in 1976 and have read it probably once a year since. So I was a little tense as I read TLW, and very much on the lookout for references to the original. And I found a bunch. Example: Amy says, "I think anxiety is very interesting," though she's not eating sugar when she says it. Another example: their friend Teddy has a "solitary and hungry" look. Lots of little ones like that, peppered throughout. There's also a whole unpleasant episode that almost exactly duplicates "Amy's Valley of Humiliation" in the original. You know, the one where she brings the pickled limes to school? Only in this one it's, get this, sushi. California rolls. When I say unpleasant episode, I mean that it was unpleasant to read. It didn't fit in well with the rest of the book, and it was totally unbelievable that in this day and age a teacher in a public high school would make a student toss her lunch out the window (carrying the California rolls two by two, of course).

What I have just written is stickler criticism, though. I am very much looking forward to discussing the book next week. There's some good stuff in it, and I think it'll be a fun meeting.

In my next post I will write about sticklers.