I’ve always had a strong relationship with books.
When it comes to books I can’t pick just one. I’ve known so many and been changed, challenged, driven, and exposed by their stories. I’ve learned words and visited places curled inside the back seat of a car or tucked under the covers with a flashlight reading past my bedtime.
There are just so many stories.
But when I think of books that have changed me four come to mind: Little Women (L.M. Alcott), Passion & Purity (Elisabeth Elliot – really anything by her), A Room with a View (E.M. Forster), and Everyone Is Beautiful (Katherine Center).
A Room with a View is the book I call my favorite. There’s something about purple flowers, shaking off social conventions to embrace a laugh and love that draws me in and whispers life. There’s a message of freedom between the lines. It’s a story I clinged to in high school and has been a beloved favorite ever since.
But Little Women was my first unabridged read. I grew up reading the Illustrated Children’s Classics (you know, the books with a picture on every other page), but Louisa made it feel safe to jump from the condensed classics to the full.
I first read Little Women in middle school and have reread it multiple times since, as well as Alcott’s short stories and her “racy” novel, A Long and Fatal Love Chase. I’m currently reading Little Men.
Little Women changed my life, because it introduced me to the broader world of literature. I had always loved books, but Little Women pulled me deeper in. From Alcott I jumped to Shakespeare and then Austen and the Bronte sisters. I went on to study English Literature in college. While I have a greater affection for British Literature over American (go ahead, call my unpatriotic), Louisa May Alcott is one of the few American authors I enjoy and love.
Her characters are so familiar and comfortable you can’t help but feel a part of the March family. I’ve laughed and cried with them. And I still can’t believe Amy and Teddy ended up together. (Really?!?)
But, my favorite of the March sisters is Jo. I couldn’t help but love her from the beginning. The writer. From my earliest years with clippings of my mother’s catalogs glued to notebook paper and a little sentence scribbled underneath each, I wanted to be a writer. How could a young one not want to be Jo March with passion for life and stories and her ink-stained finger?
I was proud of my right, ring finger and the indentation shaded a bit of gray from the hours of writing. With the last 7 years of blogging, my little writer’s mark is akin to a faint scar.
But still, there’s the little girl in me, the one holding onto the dream, pursuing the written word and writing out stories.
Thanks Louisa…and Jo.
Want to share a book that’s changed your life? Head on over to Anne’s and link-up!