When deciding which books I should bring with me for my Christmas holiday, I couldn't help but to take this treasured novel out of my bookshelf and stuff it in my suitcase. Not because it is particularly "christmassy" in its tone or plot, neither because its plot holds new or unknown surprises, but simply because it is one of those books that never fails to fill me with warmth and a tender tone of homely happiness - which is what Christmas is all about after all.
I clearly remember the first time I read this. I was about twelve years old, and longed to be an angelic creature like Beth. The funny thing about this book is that it is strictly impossible not to try to recognize something in the characters, that resembles oneself. I desperately
wanted to be Beth, even though I never was. I have probably always been Amy, pining for beautiful silk ribbons and a perfect nose. And though she might not seem an ideal or flawless character, she is determined to succeed, which is probably highly admirable as well. This realization dawned upon me when reading this book after many years of neglect.
Most girls of course want to be Jo; fierce and artistic, the true genius in this story. However she never spoke to me. I loved her dearly for her writing abilities (especially her beautiful poems), but did not like her coarse and harsh ways. But that may just be the Amy-part of me speaking, as the two sisters always were true opposites.
This book possesses so many charms, that it is impossible to account for all of them. The very different sisters create wonderful contrast, and it is delightful to spot their differences and follow their different paths, which might lead them far from each other, but always joins them together again, as true familybonds always do.
This is a book about love, ambitions, sorrow, family and everyday life. It is a book about growing up, and finding yourself. And as you read it you may actually find yourself; in a sensible Meg, a lively Jo, a fragile Beth or an ambitious Amy. This book formed me, and probably influenced me more than I will ever know.
I will always love this book, and remember the twelve-year old me who cried and laughed with these little women. Somehow I'm always a little sad when reading it, as it holds a magic nostalgia, forever causing me to realize that we all have to grow up eventually.