A few things – I want to read more. It’s so easy to spend hours on end looking at my phone, scrolling. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my mind is deluged with information. Images from stranger’s lives, articles on health and wellness and spirituality, ongoing conversations with friends. My spirit gets a little restless and busied, feeling flooded. Reading helps those waters settle. The information finds cracks to fall through or a reservoir to collect into.
When I read, I slow down. If a passage doesn’t make sense, I can slowly retrace the words until they string together sensibly in my mind. When a description particularly catches my attention or resonates with a recent experience, I again retrace for a different reason.
While the online world gives me a sense of connectedness to the larger world, reading does this as well but in a different sort of way. And so, it is my goal to read more and scroll less.
I didn’t grow up reading all that much so I haven’t read most of the classics. I was not a voracious reader to my detriment. And so, I find myself feeling the need to play catch-up in my adulthood. While listening to one of my current podcasts, At Home, the book, “Little Women” kept being referenced. As a kid, I watched the 1949 version of Little Women. I remember enjoying the film and story, but never thinking to read the book. But after hearing it referenced in such beautiful ways, I felt compelled to read it for myself.
Where I Read It
Mostly in bed before going to sleep at night a few pages or one chapter at a time. Toward the end, I read it while walking around the backyard.
How Long Did It Take to Read?
Since I only read a few pages at a time, it took me almost two months to read the whole book. I hadn’t read a book this long since reading Anna Karenina, and sometimes I wasn’t sure if I could make it to the end (my copy was almost 800). But especially in the second part, I resonated so strongly with the characters that I couldn’t stop.
Stand Out Quote:
“[E]veryone found the little house a cheerful place, full of happiness, content, and family love… this household happiness did not come all at once, but John and Meg had found the key to it, and each year of married life taught them how to use it, unlocking the treasuries of real home-love and mutual helpfulness, which the poorest may possess, and the richest cannot buy. This is the sort of shelf on which young wives and mothers may consent to be laid, safe from the restless fret and fever of the world, finding loyal lovers in the little sons and daughters who cling to them, undaunted by sorrow, poverty or age; walking side by side, through fair and stormy weather, with a faithful friend, who is in the true sense of the good old Saxon word, the “house-band,” and learning, as Meg learned, that a woman’s happiest kingdom is home, her highest honor the art of ruling it – not as queen, but as a wise wife and mother.”
In My Eyes
I think a lot of women today find ourselves questioning, “Is it enough to cultivate a happy home-life? Is that a worthwhile pursuit or should I be seeking something more?”
The modern world calls us, women especially, to pursuits outside of the home as more important. And I, by no means, think there is not a place for women working outside of their homes; however, this book beautifully lifts up the role of women in the home as significant and worthwhile. The family and home are important, and it is good to give our life and energy to their cultivation.
The second part of the book resonated with me most, because it tells about the little women’s young adult lives as they leave their parents’ home. Some chapters felt like spending time with a close friend. As I have become a wife and mom in the last two years, I have often felt in deep water and needed help to find my bearings. I found myself looking for help to know who I ought to be in each of these roles. Sometimes, people we know act as counselors to us, but characters in books also take on that role as their story instructs and encourages.
Marmee gives her girls a vision of who she hopes they will grow to be as women, and she does that through her continual cultivation of home-love. It inspired me in my own task of making a home that is a place of belonging for my own family and where we freely welcome others.
Yes! I think this is a lovely book to read as an adult but look forward to reading it with little girls if I have daughters one day.
(Book review format inspired by a recent review I read by LaTonya Yvette.)