Monday, March 29, 2010

Five memorable portraits of sisters

Zoë Heller named a five best list of literary portraits of sisters for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott

It is faintly astonishing to me that as a godless tween growing up in the 1970s I should have found so much to interest and inspire me in the mawkish, homily-filled chronicles of the March sisters. (Like many readers before me, I wanted badly to be clever, dashing Jo but fretted that my true kinship was with vain, shallow Amy.) Louisa May Alcott's novel may not be a great work of literature, but it has proved an enormously influential and salutary text for generations of young girls—as important in its way as "Jane Eyre" or "The Golden Notebook" in shaping ideas about womanhood. Its appeal, however, may be on the wane: When I tried reading the book to my 10-year-old recently, she balked after only 20 pages, citing as her chief objections the "goody-goodyness" of the Marches and "the lame way they go on about their gloves."
Read about the other books on Heller's list.

Little Women also appears on Kate Saunders' critic's chart of mothers and daughters in literature. It is a book that disappointed Geraldine Brooks on re-reading.

--Marshal Zeringue