to think that Amy March is one of the most irritating literary characters ever.

(324 Posts)
squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 17:22:03

God she annoys me, throwing Jo's book in the fire, being a general brat and then sin of sins marrying Laurie when she had no business do any such thing.

I don't care what the subsequent books may say the Amy/Laurie union was a stupid idea.

They should have left her to drown in the icy river.

YouTheCat Sun 21-Apr-13 17:23:22

She was my least favourite character too.

NoelHeadbands Sun 21-Apr-13 17:25:00

At least she had a bit of gumption.

Beth was a right sap.

Yeah I said it!


She was stuck up and annoying and I had to act her in a school play when I was 11 because, apparently, I looked similar to how she was meant to look. It was terrible.

She got away with EVERYTHING. I mean, she went to that icy river ANYWAY, and expected to be forgiven and all that for chucking Jo's precious book in the fire, she generally acted awfully and I don't know how anyone could stand her!

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 17:25:38

I never quite got the Amy/Laurie thing-it just doesn't make sense that Laurie would settle for a spoilt brat rather than spirited Jo!

alistron1 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:26:24

I don't know if you've read jo's boys, but I was hoping Amy's daughter Bess would get knocked up by ne'er do well Dan.

As if Jo preferred Prof Bhaer to Laurie. Meh.

jamaisjedors Sun 21-Apr-13 17:27:20

Oh god I quite empathised with Amy (I think...) because I was a bit like her.

But I desperately wanted to be like Beth who everyone loved sad

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 17:27:42

NoelHeadBands Yes, Beth was a bit of a sap but at least she gave us a nice death bed scene. Always gives me a bit of a lump in my throat.

CocacolaMum Sun 21-Apr-13 17:28:24

she does come across as a brat in the film but shes a great character in the book!

EduCated Sun 21-Apr-13 17:28:59

I shouldn't have opened this thread. I knew there'd be spoilers* <sob>

*In fairness I have been reading it for over a year now And it's hardly new. How I've not found out the plot before now I do not know.

NoelHeadbands Sun 21-Apr-13 17:30:07

Aye but there wasnt much to miss after she died though was there. She just swanned around being all gentle and shit.

Agree with everyone about the Laurie/Amy thing though

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 17:30:15

Oh I remember Jo's Boys, it was wonderful. I loved Nat and I always felt so terribly sorry for the very clever boy who had been pushed by his parents until he had a break down and became 'feeble minded', then was packed off to the school as his parents could no longer bear to look at him-sob!

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 17:30:53

and yes, Beth when she can no longer hold her needle-makes me sob every time!

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 17:33:05

I've just remembered the episode of Friends where Rachel makes Joey read Little Women, he falls apart when Beth dies grin

BestIsWest Sun 21-Apr-13 17:33:42

Amy married Laurie? YANBU OP.

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Apr-13 17:34:25

I could never understand why Laurie would marry Amy, nor why Amy would want to marry him.

rainbowslollipops Sun 21-Apr-13 17:38:20

I love that film. Not keen on Amy either. Jo is my favourite and Beth. I always cry when she dies.

MushroomSoup Sun 21-Apr-13 17:39:40

Amy wanted him just to spite Jo, I reckon.

And Laurie wanted Amy because, after all of those nights spent with a peg on her nose, she looked aristocratic enough to trot around Europe two steps behind him.


5Foot5 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:42:39

Mumof3men I think that is in Little Men isn't it. I thought Jo's Boys is when the "boys" have all grown up. But it is many years since I read them so I could be getting it wrong.

Beth's death is much better in the 1949 movie, btw

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 17:43:44

Originally it was 2 books, the first one ends with meg's marriage and Laurie smiling at Jo in te mirror.

The book was a huge success, which took the writer by surprise. Pressurised by her editor she agrred to write another book with "moral pap for te young"(dsdainful emoticon).

She almost took revenge on her fans for liking it so much, by anding Laurie to Amy (no!!!!!) and making Jo all spinsterish and ending up with a fat German called Bear.

A bit like Radiohead, hating those fans who loved Creep, and then writing a song about how pathetic people are who loved that song.

Still, little women is the book I read when I am sick or depressed, it is hearwarming (sigh)

KitchenandJumble Sun 21-Apr-13 17:43:50

I agree. It's so unfair that Amy gets everything Jo should have. She travels to Europe when Jo should have been the one to go. And for Amy to marry Laurie is just ridiculous. I was always so glad he wouldn't allow her to call him Teddy, since it was Jo's pet name for him. I think he carries a torch for Jo throughout the later books, and Amy is just the consolation prize.

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 17:46:51

5feet5, you might be right! (I had Little Men as a Sunday School prize).
Have now been thinking of the other books I loved, What Katie did and What Katie did next!
Might have to see if I can find them on the internet!

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 17:48:11

Oh, are we talking about movies....

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 17:49:37

Could not stand What Katy Did, she was an insufferable prig. Remember when she broke her back and her broken backed Aunt Helen told her never to complain, just to sit there sweetly smiling at everyone.

I know it was of its time but even when I was 10 I gave it a big eye roll.

MissMogwi Sun 21-Apr-13 17:51:04

Little Women is one of my favourite books, but they all annoy me calling their mum 'Marmee'.

I much prefer the professor to Laurie. Laurie is a bit of a drip.


I think I sort of get it, Jo is not especially nice to Amy and I really dislike the way Alcott talks snobbily about how Amy is 'only' talented at drawing while Jo is a 'genius'. hmm

Frankly it's Meg who really pisses me off.

I can totally see why Jo goes for Bhaer over Laurie, though. Laurie, in my head, is probably played by Rupert Everett.

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 17:55:05

Happy days, have found them all online :-)

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 17:56:12

But I always felt that Jo made Laurie nicer, and that he genuinely was in love with her...just for who she is, which I always liked.

alterego2 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:57:34

I think Amy and Laurie were right for each other. Both were quite superficial: liking 'culture' etc but not thinking deeply about much. Jo may have started out 'spirited' but by the time she had seen Beth through her illness and death she was much deeper that that. Still lively but much more given to thinking. I'm not entirely convinced by the Prof but I do think she'd have been unhappy with Laurie.

I think Laurie wanted Jo to spoil him, and she wouldn't. If she'd married him she'd constantly have had sour-faced relatives going on about what a bad wife she was, and Laurie would have stopped finding it charming that she had her own life and didn't always agree with him.

I agree that Amy was just a consolation prize and that Laurie never really stopped loving Jo. However, I don't think Laurie and Jo would have lasted and I do love the prof too.

sicutlilium Sun 21-Apr-13 17:58:28

Helen Burns in Jane Eyre is much more irritating. And the saintly Cousin Helen in What Katy Did needs a good slap.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 17:58:46

Why does Meg piss you off LRD? I always remember her deep, deep shame at being 'done up like a fashion plate' at some dance, you'd swear she'd taken part in a Roman orgy or something. It's been so many years since I've read the books, I may need to give them another whirl.

Confident I'll still dislike Amy though.

I can cope with Beth in the book (just) but I detest the film version of her in the Winona film (I think it's Claire Danes - she is truly terrible and was horribly miscast).

Meg was too "proper" wasn't she?

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 18:00:13

Yes but Laurie and Jo had passion and sparks, and they could have made it work, probably somewhere abroad and sunny...

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:00:14

Ugh, Helen Burns! Was glad to see her croak it. Morally flawless angels were quite the rage in Victorian writing.

Cousin Helen makes me want to vomit though - I like naughty Katy!

Agree Remus CD was totally WRONG as Beth (but then my hear was on June Allyson in the 1949 movie(

gymboywalton Sun 21-Apr-13 18:01:22

the professor is much nicer than laurie

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 18:01:28

Oh, I love the chapter where Meg gets done up.

Oh, I feel sorry for Meg too squoosh. Especially with the dance. I love how Alcott writes that, who can't sympathize with her there? I know the 'fashion plate' dress (and the 'soupcon of rouge'! grin) aren't that shocking but it's the exact same emotion I bet every teenage girl has had at some point.

But she pisses me off because she goes and plays house for 'John' and gets all the credit for being properly 'womanly', but John is clearly more or less a total wanker. He really is. He has very, very few positive qualities.

And she just takes it as a sign she's not a good wife and resolves to be better. hmm

I want to shake her and get her posting on MN. grin

KitchenandJumble Sun 21-Apr-13 18:02:49

I agree, Chandon. I think Laurie appreciated Jo for herself. It makes me so uncomfortable to see her tamed, domesticated, turned into a proper hausfrau in the later books. If she and Laurie had married, I could imagine her living a much different sort of life, with her spirit still free and a bit wild, writing interesting books, travelling, making use of her considerable creativity.

gymboy - yay, another professor fan! grin

Seriously, you people ... she meets a fat, beardy bloke with a foreign accent who is sensibly middle-aged in his ways but also buys her flowers and presents? What's not to love?

I don't think John is a wanker at all. He's a poor man who feels socially obliged to still have his house in order and a trophy wife, but can't afford to give her the fripperies she wants. He really does love Meg, I think.

alterego2 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:04:55

MissMogwi - I read somewhere that Marmee is not pronounced mar-mee is is just a phonetic representation of the way Alcott would have pronounced Mommy with a Boston accent. So really they're just calling her Mommy, like most Americans? Might make them less annoying?

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:05:30

I want a fat, beardy, penniless professor of my own!

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 18:05:49

"“As Beth had hoped, the tide went out easily,and in the dark hour before dawn, on the bosom where she had drawn her first breath, she quietly drew her last, with no farewell but one loving look, one little sigh.".

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:06:12

I'm going to have to re-read, I have no recollection of John at all.

Yeeees ... I know what you're saying remus, I can see that it is him wanting his house in order and a trophy wife, but I've got to admit my heart doesn't exactly bleed for him for those reasons. What bugs me is the way that he is utterly humourless about it, and Alcott does make you feel sorry for Meg.

It's different from the bit where Amy plans a party and it all goes wrong because she tried to be rich and isn't - that chapter is quite funny and you can properly laugh at Amy and also feel a bit judgy at her. But with Meg trying to feed her husband's friend properly, you just feel sad for her and angry that she doesn't seem to pick herself up afterwards like Amy does, she just sort of accepts she's a bad wife and that's it.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Sun 21-Apr-13 18:08:08

Amy is irritating, but not as much as Fanny Price, the 'heroine' of Mansfield Park!

Doesn't stand up for herself at all and way too timid for a lead character. Why she still wants her bloke after his been hopelessly in love/infatuated with another woman is beyond me.

Oh Seeker sad

squoosh - I have a fat, bearded, penniless foreigner. Not a prof, sadly. But close. grin

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 18:09:37

oh Seeker, sob

Bloodybridget Sun 21-Apr-13 18:10:59

@Squoosh - I don't agree about Katy (in What Katy Did). After the accident, under saintly Cousin Helen's influence, she does get much too good, but before that she's delightfully naughty and lively. In fact, I love the way the children are depicted in the first few chapters; quarrelling, calling each other names, playing games seen by other children's parents as so dangerous that playdates are forbidden. And what about Katy losing her bonnet over the wall of the neighbouring school and climbing over to get it?

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:11:11

LRD get him to change his name by deed poll to Prof and you're all sorted!

I don't remember Meg accepting herself as a bad wife - I thought they had a chat and were able to laugh about it? Need to re-read now.

Fanny Price is a prig - and Fanny Price played by Billie Piper is possibly the worst thing I have ever seen on television (including Keith Chegwin naked). With every re-read of MP I like Henry Crawford more and more.

Tempting, squoosh.

I loe this thread btw. smile

I agree with bridget about the first few chapters of What Katy Did.

Fanny Price played by Billie Piper?! shock

That's wrong, wrong, wrong.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:14:37

Maybe I was a bit harsh on Katy, it's the accident part that always stick in my mind though. I liked her sister, Clover (?)and the girl they made friends with in boarding school, Rose Red, she had a bit of spirit.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:14:57

Fanny Price was indeed a fanny.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:16:37

'Fanny Price played by Billie Piper is possibly the worst thing I have ever seen on television (including Keith Chegwin naked)'

grin grin grin

There's a whole sequel about Clover. It's nuts.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 21-Apr-13 18:25:28

I recall when I married DH (German, lecturer), a good friend from home nodded sagely and said "Jo married the German professor."

I love the book. I'm rather Jo-ish. I've never seen one of the films, though, and it seems as if I'm better for it. smile

alistron1 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:25:28

Oh seeker, how dare you post that bloody bit!! I sobbed at Johns death/funeral in Little Men.

EmpressOfThe7OceansLovesMN Sun 21-Apr-13 18:25:46

Five Katy books altogether I think, they're all free on Kindle.


I like that green.

Does anyone else find the storyline with Dan sadder? I get that it's sad Beth dies, but I think she writes the bit with Dan better, she'd got more practice by then.

alistron1 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:28:34

I also sobbed over the bit where Mr Lawrence hears Beth playing the piano and says 'I had a daughter like you...' I'm tearing up just thinking about it ;)

Mr Lawrence is a great character.

alistron1 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:30:03

I think the bit in Little Men where Dan is tamed + the bit in Jo's Boys where he goes to chokey + redeems himself are very moving.

alistron1 Sun 21-Apr-13 18:31:37

As is the bit where Nat goes badways overseas and then redeems himself and comes back to Daisy - I know what I'm going to be re reading this week!!

TwllBach Sun 21-Apr-13 18:32:58

Oh I'd forgotten all about Little Women! It was absolutely my favourite book in the world when I was younger, but hated all the films. I'm going to have to buy it...

SueDoku Sun 21-Apr-13 18:33:17

I remember the feeling when I discovered that the Katie series goes on after 'What Katie did Next' - and found the next two books, 'Clover' and 'In the High Valley'.... Bliss.....! I love books that tell you what happened next..!! smile

marjproops Sun 21-Apr-13 18:33:43

Joey- so just how little are these women?

Jo and Laurie, is this a girl girl thing? cos thats whats missing from The Shining!!! grin

twl - you don't need to buy it! Well not unless you want to. It's out of copyright years ago, you can find them free online.

sicutlilium Sun 21-Apr-13 18:35:32

Every Anita Brookner heroine (and I include Lewis Percy in that category) needs a good slap. And then another. Read Barbara Pym instead.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 18:35:46

Damn you, seeker, I'm crying on the train home.
And I cry at all those
bits everyone else has mentioned.

I think Laurie might have got fed up with his unconventional wife. But he might not. And he doesn't develop any depth.
But he does carry a torch for her.
John isn't a wuss but she doesn't know how to portray him.

I've always thought that today Jo would have been LGBT. And that Bhaer is the conventional low sexed cop out

PoppyAmex Sun 21-Apr-13 18:40:43

I didn't watch the film but read the book dozens of times, it's comfort reading.

Laurie was not a drip! He was funny, warm and he belonged with Jo <gavel>

I love the part where Beth goes to thank Laurie's grandfather for the baby piano and can't say anything so just kisses him and runs away

NumTumDeDum Sun 21-Apr-13 18:41:02

Oh, you have inspired me to re read these two books now. But may I nominate Lydia Bennett for the top five annoying literary characters. Agree btw that Fanny Price was annoying. Wasn't all that keen on Emma (controversial) thought she was a spoilt brat.

Hmn. Might start a thread on favourite heroines/characters. grin

marjproops Sun 21-Apr-13 18:42:57

Yep i need to re-read it too, and/or watch one of the films of it.

and pride and prejudice after watching Lost in Austen the other week.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:43:34

Oh I quite like Lydia Bennett, she wasn't afraid to give into her carnal desires. Sadly all her fun was over by the time she was 16 though. She definitely didn't play the long game.

NumTumDeDum Sun 21-Apr-13 18:49:22

Well exactly Sqoosh. She was totally ruled by her urges. If she was on mn we'd all flame her!

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 18:53:13

John dies???? I don't remember that! :-(

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 18:55:49

<Rubs hands gleefully in MrsFrederickWenworth's direction>

I wonder what else I can remember?

TwllBach Sun 21-Apr-13 18:55:57



Do you mean I can read it free as a <spits> ebook or I can find an actual physical book for free?

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 18:56:15

Poor old Lydia was a slave to the cock.

Oh, sorry ... free online.

Physical books, no!

BruthasTortoise Sun 21-Apr-13 18:58:01

I think Mrs March (and Mr March, although we see less of him) is incredibly irritating. All well and good to be noble, slightly alternative and piss away your money but then don't go expecting your children to mix with high society wearing rags. Amy is irritating but in reality she and Meg only wanted the life they would've had if their parents hadn't been irresponsible. Fanny Price is a complete drip, nearly failed my English Lit. A-Level through my intense hatred of her drippiness smile

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 18:59:42

I think willoughby would have turned a blind eye, esp if it brought him promotion or better contacts. So she might have had fun. Austen is quite clear about her reputation. But a better fate than that if whichever ugly sister it was in Mansfield park who ends up with the awful Mrs Norris.

It's Mary who is completely unbearable. Along with Emma and that stupid Marianne.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 19:01:04

Seeker, you dare...

NumTumDeDum Sun 21-Apr-13 19:01:35

gringringrin Squoosh. That will stay with me whenever I re read P&P. 'Lydia was a slave to the cock' .

tiggytape Sun 21-Apr-13 19:01:37

I always felt sorry for poor Hannah - peeking in on all the action, offering a few pearls of wisdom and promptly sent back to make tea again.

I haven't seen the film but have re-read the book recently.

TwllBach Sun 21-Apr-13 19:03:54

Oh well grin
I think I'm going to have to find it and kick start my 'serious' reading.

RedHelenB Sun 21-Apr-13 19:07:14

I think it was very unreasonable for Meg to spend the money on a silk dress & moan at John for being poor! And when he dies ( in Little Men) they all say he wasn't a rich man but he was a good man & that's the best thing! Meg knew he was poor but honest when she married him so it was unfair for her to throw it back in his face!

Bit I loved a s a child was when Daisy ( john & Meg's twin daughter) got the toy stove that she could really cook on!

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 19:10:23

Not willoughby, blast it. Crying over Beth has turned my brain.

echt Sun 21-Apr-13 19:11:08

Hmm, I'm teaching P&P later this year. Thinking of an essay topic: "Lydia is a slave to the cock". Discuss. grin

SuffolkNWhat Sun 21-Apr-13 19:14:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 19:14:05

Project Gutenburg has hundreds of classic books available to download in various formats as they are no longer subject to copyright laws.

jinglebitch Sun 21-Apr-13 19:16:00

Clare Danes was soooooo NOT miscast as Beth. She was luminescent. She has this aura of one who knows she's not long for the world.

Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood however.....

SuffolkNWhat Sun 21-Apr-13 19:17:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jinglebitch Sun 21-Apr-13 19:19:27

and don't get me started on the snorting scene...

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 19:20:31

Awwww I like the snorting scene, she was so overcome. But yes, too old.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 21-Apr-13 19:20:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BOF Sun 21-Apr-13 19:27:48

Becky Sharp is my favourite literary heroine, I think.

FairPhyllis Sun 21-Apr-13 19:30:54

The Amy-Laurie thing always struck me as a bit grim because IIRC doesn't he explicitly go through the thought process of 'oh well, if I can't have one sister I'll have the other'?

But Amy is horrible too, so they deserve each other.

I have a friend who is very into Meg's whole surrendered wife thang and who, just before she got married, was quoting the passage about her trousseau of household linen. confused

HintofBream Sun 21-Apr-13 19:37:35

Has anyone read the Australian books of similar vintage called "Seven Little Australians" and "The Family at Misrule"?. "Seven" was serialised by the BBC donkey's years ago, in that Sunday 5 o'clock drama slot they used to have. They did change the ending though to prevent raucus weeping breaking out in front of TVs across the land.
The family of 7 had lost their mother and irascible dad had remarried, his new wife was only four years older than daughter Meg (yes, another one). All her step children loved her though. Lovely, believable and very spirited characters.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 21-Apr-13 19:38:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marzipananimal Sun 21-Apr-13 19:39:13

Noooo! I can see why people who've only seen the film think the Amy+Laurie match is rubbish but I think it really works in the books. He and Jo wouldn't have worked and you can see how he stops loving Jo and falls in love with Amy.
Agree Clare Danes was very badly cast. I love Emma Thompson as Elinor though even though she's nowhere near young enough

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 19:47:44

"“What made you go and leave me in the night, papa?"

The memory of the other father who had left his children in the night, never to return, made Mr. Bhaer hold his own boy close, and, for a minute, hide his face in Robby's curly hair"

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 19:53:46

Becky Sharp is all kinds of amazing, second in my affections to Marian Halcombe from the Woman in White. She's a bit of a one off in Victorian writing.

NumTumDeDum Sun 21-Apr-13 19:59:19

Squoosh I luffs you now! I started a thread in books (obvs wrong place as no takers) nominating Marian Halcombe as best female character from 19th c literature! Now there is a great character. Laura totally wet though, but hey if that's what floats Walter's boat.

lurcherlover Sun 21-Apr-13 20:02:23

If we're talking Collins, what about Lydia Gwilt? There's a woman who's not afraid to get what she wants!

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 20:10:22

Yay NumTum, Marian should be more well known. She's clever, fearless, slides across rooftops, makes ugly fat Italian spies fall in love with her. And she's not even a little bit pretty! I adore Marian.

Laura was wetter than a wet soggy thing.

Mumof3men Sun 21-Apr-13 20:12:16

are we moving over to books or staying here? Loved Woman in White :-)
Anyone else completed the OU BA Literature degree? The 19th century literature course was my favourite :-)

Doshusallie Sun 21-Apr-13 20:14:26

I loved the Anne of green gables books when I was young - my sister read all the later ones which told the story of all her children, Walter dying in the war etc....might have to try and find those....

MooncupGoddess Sun 21-Apr-13 20:22:08

Marian was amazing. Walter clearly realises late in the book that he's picked the wrong sister.

Back in New England, I like Nan and Josie in the later books -full of spirit and not bothered about marriage. Nan becomes a doctor, I think, which is pretty impressive for the late 19th century.

Still18atheart Sun 21-Apr-13 20:39:08

I just don't think Amy and Laurie gelled well. Meg or Jo would have been a better suitor for him

And she is a bit of a sap

Still18atheart Sun 21-Apr-13 20:40:50

JingleBitch couldn't agree more with the emma Thompson comment. IMO she was about 10 years too old for the role.

cuillereasoupe Sun 21-Apr-13 20:42:23

Physical books, no!

Yes you can, go to a blooming library!

AphraBehn Sun 21-Apr-13 20:44:26

mumof3men I'm doing that course at the moment and love it!

Cooroo Sun 21-Apr-13 20:47:52

From memory so I may be wrong 'And on the bosom where she took her first breath, she quietly breathed her last'. Sob. Never could read it without crying. Was always mystified by Amy/Laurie, and by Jo marrying what appeared to be an old man to my teenage eyes.

seeker Sun 21-Apr-13 20:49:36

You can download them for free.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Sun 21-Apr-13 21:00:03

There is a whole book about Clover!? Why did nobody mention this before!?!

KitchenandJumble Sun 21-Apr-13 21:05:45

HintofBream, yes, I remember Seven Little Australians. Poor Judy (whose real name was Helen, oddly enough).

SueDoku Sun 21-Apr-13 21:14:12

OrangeFootedScrubfowl yes, and then one about Clover and Elsie and their families.... smile

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Sun 21-Apr-13 21:15:10


TooExtraImmatureCheddar Sun 21-Apr-13 21:16:40

Amy does tell Laurie off pretty severely for being a wuss and sighing around being a gentleman of leisure. She calls him Lazy Laurence and he's so impressed he goes off and makes something of himself. I still want Jo to marry him, though - although it is a highly unusual (and feminist) storyline for the girl to say kindly but firmly that she doesn't love the rich boy, without anyone else in sight.

And I beg to differ about Jo's future. She doesn't become a traditional hausfrau at all, she opens a progressive school for boys and then becomes a famous writer in later life.

What really annoys me is that everyone, including Jo, goes on about how Dan isn't good enough for Bess, and it is just accepted.

quizzywizz Sun 21-Apr-13 21:19:07

I always wanted to be Meg. She doesn't seem to be anyone's favourite character though! She was always the one I could relate to.

Agree that ET is far too old but I love Kate Winslet as Marianne: in fact, I love Marianne full stop.

Magdalen in Collins' 'No Name' is my new favourite heroine. And if we're talking literary females who need a good slapping, Emma Bovary and Susan in Jude The Obscure are top of my list please.

Oh and Dan is my v favourite 'boy' and I don't like Jo steering him away from Bess at all: that is the moment I lose my love for Jo - until then I think she remains entirely her own self.

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 21:23:13

Jo does NOT tell Dan that he's not good enough for Bess - she tells him that Laurie and Amy will never accept it.

And yes - poor Daisy and Demi being taken off in their nightclothes to 'say goodbye to papa'....

Always loved Katy sitting up in bed to fill the little ones' stockings.

No I know - but she condones that.

Mmm. I think she kinda does tell him, really. She tells him 'if you can't have her, you can have her as a friend', as if it's a foregone conclusion.

I agree with remus that it's sad and I don't like Jo not giving him the chance. I like to think Amy would have said yes (mainly cos Dan is rather sexy, isn't he?).

Tanith Sun 21-Apr-13 21:33:49

HintofBream, yes - I read 7 Little Australians, too. Loved it as a child.

It does have one of the most tear-jerking endings ever, though. When Judy tells Meg she's frightened and doesn't want to die - so much more believable than those sweetly sad smiles of bravery from other heroines of the time.

I believe Jo March was modelled on Louisa herself, and the four sisters are Louisa's own.
Helen Burns was also modelled on the author's sister Maria, who died at their awful school.

MooncupGoddess Sun 21-Apr-13 21:38:52

I find the Dan story quite believable, and I'm pretty sympathetic to Jo. There's no sign that Bess loves Dan back, or that they have a really strong relationship - really he just develops a massive crush on her because she's pretty and has been kind to him when he was ill, and because he hasn't met many other girls. I think a lot of parents even now would be concerned about their daughter marrying a man who had been in prison for manslaughter.

In contrast, Nat is pretty weak and it's obvious that Daisy could do better... but she really loves him, and so Jo supports their relationship and (as I recall) intercedes with Meg on his behalf.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 21-Apr-13 21:43:14

Little Women has one of the most romantic scenes EVER in a book when Jo's Professor sees her head being turned by some clever unGodly types who make her head spin about creationism at a gathering and he steps in and argues them an academic way that God DOES exist and Jo's faith is saved.

Yes I know I just GETS me every time.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 21-Apr-13 21:45:04

King ah yes! Katy sitting up in bed and filling up the stockings! And in the morning the little tree in a pot left for her with black stars gummed onto the pot! That always got me for some reason!

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 21:46:32

What about the bit when Jo takes Laurie outside and shows him the 'tableaux' in the windows - Dan as Othello telliing his exploits to Bess as Desdemona? I always thought that Bess was starting to fancy him then - and so did Laurie - the very next chapter he is coming up with that opportunity for Dan to take a job a very long way away!

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 21:48:00

Now then the thing that confused me for YEARS in Katy was the valentines gift for Elsie - a seal with her name on it. A seal? A pet seal?

I remember being very puzzled at what on earth India rubber was.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 21-Apr-13 21:52:26

Kings you know Elsie is the old word for Seal? I know the seal would have been the type used in letter writing but it's a double meaning too I thought.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 21:56:10

I too was confused about India Rubber. In fact I still am.

KitchenandJumble Sun 21-Apr-13 21:58:06

I'd forgotten about Jo's eventual writing career, which is recounted in Jo's Boys. But she only returns to writing as a money-making venture, not as the true passion she seemed to experience as a young girl. And her role at Plumfield in Little Men seems mostly to consist of moralising chats with the boys.

I maintain she would have had a much different, more independent, creative life if she had married Laurie or remained single.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 22:00:31

I think Jo finds the passion after turning to writing again to make money. LMA clearly links the passion for writing with her eventual massive success. She gets very famous, doesn't she? With people collecting crickets from her lawn as keepsakes grin

Chandon Sun 21-Apr-13 22:07:40

Es, but she was quite disdainful about Little Women, it was her publisher's idea, and she was like FFS, o.k. Then.

Then that became her biggest succcess! To her chagrin

MooncupGoddess Sun 21-Apr-13 22:10:41

Oh yes, I love the scene where the bonkers fans appear and want to see the desk where the great works are written. Clearly drawn from life!

Plumstead is drawn from the (humiliatingly unsuccessful) educational ventures of Louisa's father, Bronson, who was away with the fairies a lot of the time but had ideas about educating children that were decades ahead of his time (he got in trouble for having a black child in his class and briefly explaining where babies came from). Louisa adored him and I think wanted to show his theories being vindicated.

CambridgeBlue Sun 21-Apr-13 22:17:29

I'm reading What Katy Did to DD and India Rubber is one of the many things I've had to explain along with sassafras tea and alpaca travelling dresses.

John Brooke's death always has me in floods, I think he comes across better in death (a poor man but a good man) than in life (a pompous git) smile

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 22:21:28

Eight Cousins is another book where LMA deals with education of girls. First thing is to stop 10 year girls drinking coffee and wearing corsets!

neo - oooh, yes, I love that bit.

I love the way you get the impression they were doing (basically) academic mansplaining on Jo and showing off.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 22:23:22

Lilly Paige was a right bitch. I was SO glad when Katy stole her bloke.

I was sad Katy didn't have children by the end of In The High Valley though.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 22:24:16

wearing corsets must have been terrible

MooncupGoddess Sun 21-Apr-13 22:25:42

Oh yes, I love Uncle Alec in Eight Cousins and his sensible views on education. Though I wish Rose had studied for a career rather than just swanning round being rich and charming.

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 22:30:01

Though you do feel for poor Rose when she realises that she has no artistic gifts - she has to be content with spending her money to help others!

Tell me more about Elsie being the old word for seal!! Is that connected with the word 'selkie' - a sort of half person/half seal in mythology?

MacaYoniAndCheese Sun 21-Apr-13 22:34:43

Mary Musgrove needed a good literary slap.

As did Elizabeth "Goody Two-Shoes" Wakefield from Sweet Valley High.

<adds low-brow element to the thread>


chaime Sun 21-Apr-13 22:52:54

Was Katy infertile because of her swing accident, do you think?

Agreed that Amy March was v annoying. All the way through. Probably even worse as she got older.

BooCanary Sun 21-Apr-13 22:57:29

Whenever I think about Amy I think about the pickled limes storyline!

louisianablue2000 Sun 21-Apr-13 22:59:09

Do you remember the scene in 'When Harry Met Sally' when they argue about the ending of Casablanca. I think Little Women is a bit the same, as a child/teenager you want Jo to love Laurie and can't understand what she sees in that boring old man and then when you grow up you suddenly realise what the attraction was.

As far as Wilkie Collins goes, absolutely the best female characters ever. They are all so wonderful and complex and interesting. Can't believe his books aren't more popular than they are.

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 23:00:31

I always wanted to be Amy driving her '2 spirited ponies' along the Italian esplanade.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 23:01:54

Got off train, dealt with bed time, relaxing and now seeker has me in floods again.

Walter's death pretty affecting in Rilla. And Charlie's in the sequel to Rose.
Those death bed scenes...

Mind you. I never cry at Dickens's. Jo, Dora, even Little Nell, not a chance. Let alone Steerforth.

Funniky enough, I used Katie as a sort of model when I was bed bound for months. I brought the bed downstairs and made the room the centre of operations. V useful to have that inspiration.
And I knitted like Pollyanna.

In Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, dies she ever marry Alan Ladd?

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 23:03:37

Chaime, I've always assumed so. And that the author got bored with her and decided Clover was a more interesting person.

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 23:06:06

Oh she does, and he makes her give up teaching. But then so does Archie make Phoebe give up singing in Rose in Bloom.

I didn't like Rebecca and her 'Mr Aladdin'.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 23:09:32

Even though Rebecca was written first I think it pales dramatically in comparison with Anne of Green Gables.

I don't think she ever married that Alan person.

i love the Katie books. What Katie did next is my favourite I think. The bit when the wee girl is sick in Rome is terrible.

KingscoteStaff Sun 21-Apr-13 23:18:29

Squoosh, you're right - she doesn't marry him, that subplot just fades away when Aunt Miranda dies and leaves Rebecca the house.

What about Daddy Long Legs? I longed to be an American College Girl.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 23:19:22

King, where, where (desperate)?

And how can I get hold of cheap copies of the Antonia Forests? Gave mine away but never had all of them.

Was it

Germans on the rampage
Russians on the Spree
Sugar in the petrol
And up goes she?

And the cocoa, was it weak/strong/ navy or ordinary/ strong/ navy?

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 23:20:57

And is anyone else a Mrs Braddon fan ? Lady Audley's secret etc? All free on ebooks.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sun 21-Apr-13 23:21:59

I love DLL but also its sequel, Dear Enemy.

squoosh Sun 21-Apr-13 23:24:57

Daddy Long Legs always creeped me out a bit. The rich, older, manipulative, anonymous benefactor who pays for her to go to college. She has to write him letters knowing he'll never respond.

Then she marries him.

KeatsiePie Mon 22-Apr-13 03:38:59

Kitchen yes this It's so unfair that Amy gets everything Jo should have is exactly what I thought every time I reread. And the burning of Jo's novel! I never, ever got over that. I was so angry about the family's response to it. She burned Jo's book and everyone is like ohhhh Jo you should forgive her, she's sorry. I wanted awful punishments to ensue.

I didn't know Daddy Long Legs had a sequel! I loved that book. Off to find.

KingscoteStaff Mon 22-Apr-13 07:10:28

In the Daddy Long Legs sequel, she gets to buy the orphanage!

Antonia Forest books are a nightmare to get. One or two have been reprinted, but Puffin lost the rights somehow and then there was a massive probate row (I think).

Some small publishing house was trying to reprint. I've got Peter's Room in a weird Faber paperback edition, all the 'Term' books in the original Puffin, and Ready Made Family in a hardback copy bought in a library stock sale.

KeatsiePie Mon 22-Apr-13 08:06:06


I am SO EXCITED. I reread DDL so many times. I just remembered the illustrations!! Um, sorry for shouting.

Tanith Mon 22-Apr-13 08:12:36

Antonia Forest books are being reprinted by Girls Gone By these days. Some of the reprints are now out of print smile

They are fantastic books if you can get hold of them - they turn up on Ebay from time to time.

Dubjackeen Mon 22-Apr-13 08:38:05

Agree, Amy shouldn't have ended up with Laurie, although I did like Professor Bhaer blush for Jo. Amy's daughter is even wetter though as a character, or should that be even more wet...I just reread Little Men, and she is sickeningly sweet and spoilt. Love all those books though.

Trillz Mon 22-Apr-13 09:19:02

A hilarious "review" of Clover and In The High Valley - the "What Katy Did" sequels that aren't about Katy.

I didn't know those two books existed until very recently. They are all free for Kindle... Anyone tempted?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 10:35:49

that is a brilliant review. I agreed with every word, and yet like the author, loved the books too.

NumTumDeDum Mon 22-Apr-13 10:49:29

Remus I second the literary slap for Emma Bovary. I'd forgotten about her. I couldn't enjoy the book because I was so outraged at how selfish she was!

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 10:51:33

Was anyone else a fan of E Nesbit's books? I loved the Bastable series and of course The Railway Children. Nesbit herself had a really interesting and unconventional life.

mrsshackleton Mon 22-Apr-13 10:59:54

Is that right about the probate, Kingscotestaff ? Can't understand why GBB don't republish the ones that sold out, how hard can it be when there is clearly a market for them.

I LIKE Amy March. She has spirit and it was a very brave and unusual decision to have her marry Laurie, which makes LW stand out from the crowd.

gotthemoononastick Mon 22-Apr-13 11:02:19

My now grown(old) children have never forgotten the beastly Vanilla and worshipped Horrible Hepzibah.Forgotten the book.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 12:15:44

I like Fanny Price too. Unusually Mansfield Park is my most re-read Austen. I love all of them though.

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 12:28:08

Doesn't anyone remember the scene when Anne realises her first baby is going to die? The "wee white lady"?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 12:28:56

I couldn't really believe what I was reading, seeker. I had to go back and look at it again sad

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 12:29:05

Very good at grief, LM Montgomery,

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 12:30:30

Poor baby Joyce.

I always remember how she describes an elderly Marilla and Rachel waiting anxiously by the newly installed telephone in Green Gables.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:17

Oh has anyone read The Wide, Wide World?

drwitch Mon 22-Apr-13 12:42:42

has anybody read
the little women letters sort of updating of good wives for modern day

HintofBream Mon 22-Apr-13 13:29:52

Kitchenandjumble and Tanith, easy to see why the BBC had to change the ending of 5 little Aussies, it is indeed very harrowing.
KingscoteStaff, have you read the other books by Jean Webster? "Just Patty", a school story, but American schools of that era were clearly very advanced, they did sociology and all sorts. In it and in its sequel "Patty and Priscilla" where Patty goes to college, some of the "Daddylonglegs " characters fleetingly appear. "Just Patty" is downloadable free via the Gutenberg project.
NeoMaxi, yes, another weepie.

HintofBream Mon 22-Apr-13 13:36:52

Just checked with Gutenberg, and though my copy is entitled "Patty and Priscilla" their version is called "When Patty Went to College".Keatsiepie you would love this.

Oh, yes, baby Joyce is so sad. It's awful that they don't let her see the baby after the first few hours - I know it was the received wisdom of the day but it seems so cruel now.

She never really writes about Marilla dying, does she? In Rilla of Ingleside we know Rilla gets fed up about being named after an old woman she never knew before Marilla died, but not much more. Or have I missed that bit?

(Incidentally, I snort like mad at Rilla wishing people called her by her middle name, which was 'beautiful and dignified'. It was Bertha FFS! grin)

MyNameIsAnAnagram Mon 22-Apr-13 14:41:50

Bertha was her first name, rills her middle. Just finished reading them, got the full set for 77p on kindle grin and yes, sobbed like baby again at Matthews death, joyces death and Walters. Oh and dog Monday waiting for jem at the station for the whole war.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Mon 22-Apr-13 14:42:13

rilla not rills obv!

seeker Mon 22-Apr-13 14:43:57

I've just downloaded all th Anne books for 49p!

Can't wait for bed time.

Oh, sorry, I had it the wrong way around.

Yes, dog Monday was lovely.

The bit about the little boy who drowned his kitten as a bargain with God to make Walter come back was a bit shock though.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 14:47:20

yes, I was always aghast at the kitten drowning.

Susan was a brilliant character in the later Anne books.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 14:48:22

I found it really hard to read the Anne books past Anne's House of Dreams. I could not handle the idea of her being middle aged and having marriage troubles! It really upset me.

I loved Miss Cornelia. I love how she starts out as this grumpy spinster who doesn't care about fashion, then ends up with Marshall Elliot. It's a really funny reversal of genre really - instead of the shy secretary taking her glasses off and everyone saying she's beautiful, Miss Cornelia gets her bloke shaved and everyone suddenly realizes he's a catch. It amuses me.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Mon 22-Apr-13 14:52:07

Yes the kitten was shocking! I had totally forgotten it too so was quite taken aback.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 14:53:16

I didn't like Leslie Moore and her tragic life and haunting beauty.


The thing that amuses me about Leslie now is that I remember Anne was assuming she was a young girl and Leslie admits she is the - great age of - 28 years old.


Ancient, like.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 14:54:54

Oh and I was annoyed that Jem was called James Matthew and not Matthew James. Matthew saved her life! Captian Jim was just some nice old man.

Maybe Gilbert had a say, though? He must have done because she didn't like her own name but Nan was another 'Anne'. (And isn't 'nan' uglier even than ann-without-an-e?)

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 14:57:39

it is ok squoosh, Anne's chin lines remain unblurred to the end wink

I agree, Miss Cornelia is brilliant.

I also love the first Emily book, although the two follow on books were strange. I especially disliked the third one with all the disturbing love intrigues.

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 14:58:45

The Leslie plot is SO far out for an Anne book, although her short stories were all a bit like this.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 14:59:51

Yes, maybe Anne really wanted to call him Matthew but Gilbert put his Victorian Husband foot down and insisted on James. That's what I'll tell myself.

Nan is a horrific name. To be honest those two had terrible taste in names, Nan, Walter, Bertha.........

MyNameIsAnAnagram Mon 22-Apr-13 15:01:29

Walters middle name was cuthbert too!

HumphreyCobbler Mon 22-Apr-13 15:03:12

I really like Nan as a name.

Walter and Bertha I can do without.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 15:03:25

Walter Cuthbert Blythe! Good grief.

That bullet had his name on it from the moment he was born.

Poledra Mon 22-Apr-13 15:05:20

To be fair, wasn't Bertha Anne's mother's name? And Walter her father's?

Still don't like 'em much.


You're so mean!

His poetry was pretty shit, though, wasn't it? Olivia (was she Olivia?) told him to write a poem about birch trees being pagan maidens that hadn't lost the secret of being naked and unashamed, IIRC. Yeah.

MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 15:06:10

I like Nan although Shirley for a boy always made me laugh. And Joyce always seemed wrong for a baby - Joy is lovely though painfully ironic in the circumstances.

Feel sure Walter, Cuthbert and Bertha are about to come back into fashion.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 15:06:30

Sorry Walter!

At least you weren't as annoying as that Paul person and his rock people and Mother Lilac.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 15:06:43

No, I think it was Mother Lavender.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 15:07:08

Shirley! How could I forget little boy Shirley.

MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 15:07:22

Good point Poledra, and actually there is a really touching bit in Anne of the Island (I think) where she finds the house where she was born and her parents' love letters.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 15:07:58

I ADORE Anne of the Island. I wanted to live in that book.

It was Mother Lavender.

Paul was a very wishy-washy character, I think she went off the boil a bit there.

I did quite like the ones where Anne was living with her mates in Patty's Place and going to university. That must have been quite unusual back then, mustn't it?

MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 15:08:16

Oh God Paul is cringeworthy. Even worse than Emily of New Moon.

Mind you that sort of drippy childish fantasy was very of its time, cf the lesser works of J M Barrie and co.

Or the bloody Water Babies.

Poledra Mon 22-Apr-13 15:10:33

Shirley was Susan's little brown boy, but he didn't seem to feature in the stories much, did he?

And yes, I wanted to live in Patty's Place with Gog and Magog and Anne and Philippa and Stella and Aunt Jimsie! I'm getting to reread all the Anne books with DD1, who adores them too - it's fabulous.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 15:10:43

Patty's Place seemed ace although she did lead the millionaire Royal Gardener on in a shocking way. They were together for years!

MooncupGoddess Mon 22-Apr-13 15:11:51

The Water Babies, cringe.

Anne of the Island is lovely, the whole dynamic with house sharing and essays and slightly unsuitable boyfriends just feels so realistic, even modern. Think Canada was well ahead of the UK in the educating female stakes - of course women did go to university in the late 19th century here but it's presented as really normal in the Anne books rather than as something remarkable.

BalloonSlayer Mon 22-Apr-13 15:16:54

Cannot believe no one has mentioned DORA BLOODY SPENLOW in a "most irritating literary characters" thread.

I mean . . . < astonished >

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 22-Apr-13 15:22:39

Balloon...I played Dora Spenlow a production of David Copperfield and I got on my own tits!

drudgewithagrudge Mon 22-Apr-13 16:06:08

I could never stand Melanie in Gone with the Wind. First of all she pinches Ashley,not that he's much of a catch, from right under Scarlett's nose but then she causes a lot of trouble by deciding to have a baby during the destruction of Atlanta.

She is just so blooming good all the time and can't even see that Scarlett is after Ashley,God knows why. Then we have the deathbed scene without any coughing or retching or unladylike croaking. Really really hate her.

PoppyAmex Mon 22-Apr-13 16:18:04

drudge I used to think the same, but she kicked ass when that solider came in and she rocked up from giving birth with a shotgun to save Scarlett.

drudgewithagrudge Mon 22-Apr-13 16:48:44

I agree Poppy but it's all that goodness I can't stand. Still can't see what Scarlett saw in Ashley.

HOW did I not know that there is a sequel to, 'Daddy Long Legs?' HOW? I need it! Daddy Long Legs is one of my absolute favourites - I love Judy, I love Daddy, I love the cows and the crossness and the sweetness. And Daddy is young and sexy, not old and creepy.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 17:53:58

Daddy Long Legs is creepy, creepy, creepy. Shadowy, silent benefactor.

I bet their marriage was all kind of dark shit.

KingscoteStaff Mon 22-Apr-13 17:59:14

Oh no, not creepy - I loved him!
That final bit when he is so ill and she goes in to see him!
Ooo and the bit where he gets stroppy about Judy liking Sallie McBride's brother!

sherazade Mon 22-Apr-13 18:31:55

Laurie and Jo not ending up together.. one of life's onsolved mysteries, I was devastated and thought I was the only one.
Meg pissed me off being a goody two shoes, Amy just didn't deserve Laurie, Jo pissed me off because she didnt end up with Laurie and settled for less, Beth pissed me off for dying so graciously and being so feeble. I have a love hate relationship with all of them.

MrsFrederickWentworth Mon 22-Apr-13 18:53:28

I think Esther in Bleak House is supremely irritating. And narcissistic. Her children would have joined that " but we took you to stately homes" thread. And I love Bleak House.

Dorothea Casaubon drives me mad. Celia is much nicer. And Will Lasidlaw is just a wimp.

Maggie Tulliver is pretty annoying too.

But I agree about Dora, can't cry at her death.

chaime Mon 22-Apr-13 18:56:48

I remember reading Little Women in Year 6 and all my friends watching the film when it came out on TV, and how the next day we all bunched together and wailed about how mean Jo was for refusing Laurie and how good-looking the young Christian Bale was (hmm, nothing's changed!)

Is Daddy's real name Master Jarvis? That always tickles me too, if I've remembered it correctly. He's only a couple of years older than Judy really; she just pictures him as being ancient.

I don't think Jo does settle for 'less' in marrying the Prof tbh - Laurie is basically a petulant little boy when he proposes, and she knows they'd drive each other mad. The Prof is a man. Laurie needs to grow up to be able to temper Jo's moods but in allowing him to do that, she grows away from him. Much as it pains me to admit it, I think she was right. And even when he's a rich old patriarch, she still pretty much babies him.

KingscoteStaff Mon 22-Apr-13 19:12:44

Jervis, I think - Master Jervie.

Ah. Jarvis is better! smile

magimedi Mon 22-Apr-13 20:01:12

Just like to say flowers - I didn't realise there were 2 more books in the Katy series & am just half way through 'Clover' & have 'In the High Valley' nest.

Am loving 'Clover' - some great descriptive writing of Colorado. And that it was such a long way for her to travel.

MogTheForgetfulCat Mon 22-Apr-13 20:13:26

I was outraged on reading Little Women because I desperately wanted Jo and Laurie to get together. I named DS3 Laurie partly after the Little Women Laurie (yes, I know he's Theodore really) because I envisioned him as this glorious, golden boy smile.

Haven't read whole thread - has anyone mentioned one of the best lines from Friends? Joey (natch): "How little are these Little Women? Are they, like, scary little? Because otherwise why would you bother?" <irrelevant> grin

Mog - dd1 would have been Laurie, had she been ds! (And probably would have been called Teddy when tiny too).

You lot have made me start re-reading the series again now. I'd forgotten that lovely bit when Jo thinks she's talking to Laurie about his g'father's portrait, and she's actually talking to Mr Laurence himself.

sherazade Mon 22-Apr-13 21:14:34

We should do an abridged Little Women according to mumsnet.
Amy ends up a prostitute.
Jo and Laurie get together.
Beth lives.
Meg leaves the bastard.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 21:16:11

Marmee stops being so bloody sanctimonious. And under NO circumstances should they have given there Christmas brekkie to the poor German immigrants.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 21:16:40

ugh, 'their' not 'there'

<flogs self>

EmpressOfThe7OceansLovesMN Mon 22-Apr-13 21:22:17

I was on the tube when I read about Dog Monday.

Not the best place for it... I was literally sobbing into a handful of tissues.

There are loads of old school stories on Project Gutenberg grin look for L T Meade, Angela Brazil and the rest of Louisa Alcott's books.

squoosh Mon 22-Apr-13 21:25:26

I love a bit of Angela Brazil and her plucky English gels

Hurrah for Brenda, For the Honour of the School. They're very dated but good fun.

kerstina Mon 22-Apr-13 22:51:33

I missed this thread yesterday ! Decided to watch the film again as had not watched it for years. Thought it was a bit creepy the way Jo looked so young compared to the prof in his 40's. Think I just viewed it a bit differently watching it now as a mature woman. He seemed a bit predatory.
I loved Little Women growing up and as an only child I would have loved to have been part of a March family. Jo was my favourite character I would love to have been as spirited as her but in reality I was probably more like Beth.I too felt Jo should have ended up with Laurie. I did not have much sympathy years ago for Amy but watching it yesterday I did as she grew up and was a good match for Laurie.
I did read the sequels years ago but have completely forgotten what happened in them (obviously that good!) I am going to dig them out and reread.

EmpressOfThe7OceansLovesMN Tue 23-Apr-13 00:02:40

They are dated, Squoosh, and there's a lot of lip service to boys being best but underneath that, they're stories of career women & strong, independent girls who take matters into their own hands without waiting for a man to come along & save them. grin

RedHelenB Tue 23-Apr-13 07:00:11

/But the film wasn't true to the book!

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Tue 23-Apr-13 21:37:10

Little Dog Monday! <sniff> I howl every time. And at Matthew saying Anne is 'my girl. My girl that I'm proud of.' Little Joyce, the 'wee white lady', yes. Oh, and I also always cry when Ruby Gillis dies, because she's so scared of death and she just wants to live, marry her beau and have lots of babies. sad

Elinor M Brent-Dyer, anyone? Joey and Madge and Robin? I do like how Madge makes all the decisions for her and Dick, and at the age of 24 goes off to the Tyrol with her 12 year old sister and starts a school. Sadly there is a lot in the books about needing a man's advice, but I love them anyway.

MrsWentworth has it right: Maggie Tulliver.

I hate Mill on the Floss so so much.

Writing writing writing hmm it is getting a bit complicated oh well carry on writing writing writing ... shit what do I do now? all these loose ends ... um, FLOOD. They're all dead. The End. Phew.

Fuck. Off.

MrsFrederickWentworth Tue 23-Apr-13 22:47:13

Horry, was it you who summarized the opening chapter of The Return of The Native as

A moor. It gets dark.


Brilliant, both summaries.

Actually I find Clem v irritating too. And Tess. And both of Sue and Jude.

squoosh Tue 23-Apr-13 22:47:33

Matthew dying always brings a lump to my throat and I've read the bloody book hundreds of times. And yes Ruby's death is even sadder in some ways, pretty, flirty Ruby struck down by galloping consumption, or did she die from flirting......I always had my suspicions that she was being punished for liking the boys too much.

EmpressOfThe7OceansLovesMN Tue 23-Apr-13 23:04:13

The films are never true to the books!

Never really liked Hardy.

How about the Abbey Girls?

I haven't read Return of the Native so it can't be me.

Mill on the Floss was an A Level set text. The bastards.

Poledra Wed 24-Apr-13 10:13:11

I always thought it was a bit of a moral judgement on poor ol' Ruby too, squoosh. Who knew - LM Montgomery had judgey pants!! grin

HumphreyCobbler Wed 24-Apr-13 10:30:56

I disliked Maggie Tulliver. Finished reading and threw the book to the floor in disgust.

Also Cathy in Wuthering Heights. I just did not get that bloody book. Perhaps I should try again?

TooExtra - I love the chalet school books - Joey with her 11 children (and her threat to add quads, that is never fulfilled), and how every woman who gives birth has to spend 10 days in bed. And Matey inspecting the dormitories. And having to use French, English and Germans on alternating days. I would have loved to go to the Chalet School.

I have read a lot of the books mentioned on this thread - to my shame, though, none of the more erudite ones like Mill on the Floss and Wuthering Heights etc. blush

I do remember the Seven Little Australians series, and I thought it was very sad at the end - and then I read the book which is sadder!

Does anyone remember the series - The Swish of the Curtain - where a group of children find a deserted hall with a stage, and decide to make it into a theatre and put on a play?

Has anyone mentioned Noel Streatfield yet?

Poledra Wed 24-Apr-13 11:41:44

SDTG I introduced 9-yo DD1 to Noel Streatfield at the end of last year and she loves them. And I get to reread them too <happy sigh>. Mind you, DD1 prefers to live in alternate worlds - one night recently, as I was leaving her room after saying goodnight, a wistful little voice said 'Mummy, wouldn't it be great if you could go and live in a book just for a little while? I'd go to Hogwarts and Narnia and I'd be Pauline for a bit too.'

HintofBream Wed 24-Apr-13 11:48:38

Yes, SDTG, Ballet Shoes and White Boots, and the tennis one, can't remember the name.
I always ask forlornly on these threads if anyone is a fan of Violet Needham: Black Riders, Stormy Petrel, Bell of the Four Evangalists etc. Occasionally someone has read one of them but there appears to be no bunch of devotees despite there being a flourishing Violet Needham Society.

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 11:48:45

Poledra your daughter sounds lovely, I often wanted to live in a book when I was a child.

I too loved the Chalet School SDTG, although I always thought Jack Maynard was a bit suspect.

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 11:52:53

"Does anyone remember the series - The Swish of the Curtain - where a group of children find a deserted hall with a stage, and decide to make it into a theatre and put on a play? "

Remember it? <bitter laugh> I read them to dd. Repeatedly. She is now 17, directing a play when she should probably be revising for her AS levels, and her ambition is to do a degree in theatre practice and set up her own touring company.

Be very careful. Some of these books are dangerous!

Aw, I love Noel Streatfield. I think Thursday's Child/Far to Go are quite a bit more subtle than lots of ones she rather cranked out with the similar plots.

I love 'three of everything, all of the very best quality'.

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 11:53:25

Oh, and we have a little pony called Banner. Anyone get the reference?

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 11:59:59

I liked Streatfeild but never loved her although I was fond of Pauline, Petrova and Posy. The showbiz theme was overworked a bit.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 24-Apr-13 12:02:45

The Swish of the Curtain had a profound effect on my teenage years too Seeker.

I hope my dd grows up like yours Poledra. I remember that feeling from a child, the desperate yearning to become the character I loved so much. The Dark is Rising series was one of my obsessions, I wanted to be Jane actually I still do

The Chalet school are most notable for the amount of children who fell down cliffs. And the fact that singing or speaking in a clear voice OFTEN brought people back from the dead. I remember one thread where we all speculated on the AIBU threads from Chalet School parents grin

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 12:06:23

Fascinating how breathing cold air gives you bronchitis in the Chalet school too.

Mind you, I've had arguments on mumsnet about that!

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 12:09:10

I loved how everyone was interrogated as soon as they joined the Chalet School as to whether they were Catholic or Protestant. Was dying for a Buddhist to join the gang.

Tennis Shoes is the tennis one, HintOfBream. I don't know how she came up with that title.

I really do enjoy re-reading childrens' books from my childhood - there are so many good ones. I've got most of the Malcolm Saville Lone Pine stories - when I was a child, I really wanted to be Peta, from the Lone Pine series, because she and the handsomest boy character (whose name I completely forget) ended up as a couple. I've added to my collection of Eva Ibbotson books too - I like her childrens books as much as her books for adults.

And head injuries make your hair curl.

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 12:15:01

And finding love means you give up your ambition to be an archaeologist.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 12:16:14

Yes, I am a fan of Violet Needham! I was quite obsessed with The Black Riders as a child and think her best novels are really excellent, though I find some of them rather weak/mannered these days and can't be bothered with the magical objects. But the ones where she looks at statecraft, and the character of Count Jasper, who starts off seeming like an evil tyrant but one then realises is rather a principled and effective regent, are v impressive.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 24-Apr-13 12:28:36

Does Mary Lou fall in love? I haven't read that one!

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 12:34:57

And no one is ever allowed to keep their full name. You enter the Chalet School as Annabel and within 5 minutes Joey will have you rechristened as Bill.

HintofBream Wed 24-Apr-13 13:02:52

Mooncup a goddess indeed. flowers. Yes, I know what you mean about the the slightly magical ones but the minute I pick one up and start reading I am totaly sucked in, magic or not. The later ones have very flimsy plots too. The earlier ones with Jasper and Dick are the best. I've got 11 of them, and very expensive they are these days though Girls Gone by have done some. I am always hoping to spot one I havn't got in a second handbookshop. Can't understand why so few people are familiar with them.

Shortenings are ok but not nicknames. Hence deliberations between the triplets about whether Richenda could be Ricky or Shendy...

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 13:10:37

I don't remember Mary-Lou falling in love, but going back to the thread title she is definitely one of the most annoying characters in children's fiction.

I always fantasised about going to the Chalet School too but in practice I would have hated it, so bloody wholesome and all that sport.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 13:12:21

Also Joey as an adult is v. controlling, I cringe at the bit where she unilaterally tells Theodora she needs a new name. Her sons' wives would totally have been on MN whinging about their infuriating MIL.

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 13:13:13

Yeah but Kaffee und Kuchen would swing it for me.

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 13:13:35

Poor old Theodora ends up as TED!!!!

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 13:13:50

Not even Thea which would have been lovely.

On reflection, I think I'd rather be a member of staff at the Chalet school - they do seem to have quite a lot of fun, and mostly end up marrying handsome doctors from the San.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 13:22:17

Ah squoosh, you share my feelings on this one grin

The Chalet staff seem to do fuck all teaching. Mostly skiing and going on long walks.

Isn't that what all teaching is like?? << innocent face >>

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 13:41:06

There is some actual teaching in The New Mistress at the Chalet School, as I recall. And there is a bit on teaching methods - EBD (a teacher herself, of course) was v keen on arguing from cause to effect rather than rote learning.

Most of their energies however go in escaping the countless threats that encompass the school on every side.

Cooroo Wed 24-Apr-13 14:54:31

Lovely nostalgic thread. My childhood was steeped in Narnia, Ballet Shoes, Chalet School - and Willard Price's 'Adventure' stories. Oh, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Managed to read all of Narnia books to DD when she was small, also couple of the 'Adventure' stories. Little House and Little Women didn't go down so well. Harry Potter, Northern Lights and Eragon (1st 3) all followed. And then she was 14 and rebelled!

HumphreyCobbler Wed 24-Apr-13 15:56:47

yes, cause and effect is a recurring theme. As well as strictly rockerless cradles.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 24-Apr-13 17:14:15

Seeker, yes, the Romney Marsh books with Tamsin, Rissa, Meryon and Roger!

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 24-Apr-13 17:20:48

I was never sure if I wanted to be Pauline or Posy. Petrova didn't appeal at all.

Teaching historical movements across Europe rather than following the kings of England are also mentioned a lot in the CS. And learning languages by the direct method of having to speak them all day long. And um, using 'modern methods' of mathematics as opposed to the type favoured by the likes of Polly Heriot. She's another one who started life as Hildegard Mariana Sophonisba and wound up as Polly, by the way.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Wed 24-Apr-13 17:23:23

I didn't think Mary Lou fell in love either - I thought she gave up archaeology nobly to look after Verity Carey when her mother died. Maybe she did fall in love in a later book, though.

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 17:28:53

No- sorry, I got it wrong. Mary Lou was the token blue stocking!

seeker Wed 24-Apr-13 17:31:01

"Seeker, yes, the Romney Marsh books with Tamsin, Rissa, Meryon and Roger!"

Yay! The white pony on my profile as so nearly Cascade-but we decided she was too old to change her name. The girl could well have been Tamsin too, but my dp put his foot down!

squoosh Wed 24-Apr-13 17:45:55

Has anyone read this? The fans are not pleased. Does sound a bit grim.

MyNameIsAnAnagram Wed 24-Apr-13 18:51:43

Oh I loved the Romney marsh books grin

MrsFrederickWentworth Wed 24-Apr-13 20:47:47

I wanted mostly to be Posy.

I love the way her siblings squabble in all the books.

And I love The Dark is Rising series. I wanted to be Will.

Preferred Kingscote to the Chalet School. And also to the Abbey girls series. All those twins.

I read the little house series to Ds who enjoyed them, tho he enjoyed the one about Almanzo less, funnily enough.

I've read that, squoosh - I wasn't at all happy with it either. It was just disaster after disaster, each more unbelievable an the last. I think what upset me the most was the way that so many of the characters acted totally out of character. Tbh, I am not even sure if I still have it - I might have thrown it away in disgust.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 24-Apr-13 21:07:48

I have just read the plot summary of Chalet Girls Grow Up.

Oh my god. Chalet school meets Eastenders. It is HILARIOUS.

Someone offered this as a serious sequel? Really? How did they ever have the nerve?

KingscoteStaff Wed 24-Apr-13 21:35:31

Just wanted to add that reading the Little House books has vastly improved my 9 yo DD's attitude to household chores!

RedHelenB Thu 25-Apr-13 06:59:28

Mrs Fred - Farmboy was my fav - loved the bit where he ruined the parlour paper & Eliza covering up for him & when they make the ice cream.

SorrelForbes Thu 25-Apr-13 15:53:32

As my user name would suggest, I am a huge fan of Noel Streatfeild. I think I have pretty much all her childrens books and a few of her adult ones (sadly, most are out of print). The Whicharts is worth reading. It's an adult version of Ballet Shoes and is very dark. I have a short story (found somewhere on-line a couple of years ago) about what happened next for the Fossil girls.

If I have a daughter her name will be Posy

SorrelForbes Thu 25-Apr-13 15:54:49
MrsFrederickWentworth Thu 25-Apr-13 18:51:18

Red, I loved that, and feeding the pig the candy.

I loved the fossils in California. Not read the

Cooroo Fri 26-Apr-13 07:38:58

thank you Sorrel - I never realised Noel Streatfeild wrote any adult novels. I've bought Saplings for my Kindle. Looks dark - I loved her treatment of the effects of war towards the end of A Vicarage Family, and look forward to reading this very much!

SorrelForbes Fri 26-Apr-13 07:42:14

Saplings is dark indeed. I have a brand new spare copy of The Whicharts which is be happy to part with for a reasonable contribution to my book fund!

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 26-Apr-13 11:56:43

Not read the short stories nor later ones.
Ok, irritating children's people, Gemma. Clara in Heidi, Tom Brown, Diana in Anne of Green Gables, Susan in Swallows and Amazon, Susan in Narnia ( but she was deliberately irritating) and Lucy in the film version, Awful Laurie and Tim and Patrick in The Marlows.

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 12:09:17

I'll grant you Laurie and Tim, and indeed Ginty - though they're all very convincingly portrayed - but Patrick is fab!

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 12:11:52

All of the Famous Five in different ways.

And Patrick is insufferable! Such an intellectual snob.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 26-Apr-13 12:12:11

Lawrie, Tim and Patrick are all fantastic characters shock

Anne from FF is the anti-feminist. The Comic Strip took her and George off perfectly.

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 12:50:25

I was a dreadful intellectual snob when I was a teenager, possibly that is why I like Patrick grin

Anyway, though, all the annoying characters in Antonia Forest are very thoughtfully and deliberately depicted... whereas Amy March, Dora in David Copperfield etc are not supposed to be annoying. There is a gulf between the author's intentions and the actual result which doesn't exist in AF.

Sorrel - what sort of a contribution would you be thinking of? I have a limited budget, but might be interested in buying your copy of The Wicharts. I hope you don't mind me asking.

MooncupGoddess Fri 26-Apr-13 13:41:26

Saplings is terribly upsetting, is Whicharts as painful? Lovely to see you, Sorrel - Curtain's Up is my favourite Streatfeild, I always feel it's unfairly neglected.

Though on the subject of annoying characters, I can't bear the housekeeper/nanny types in NS's books, like Hannah in Curtain's Up. They're always irritatingly cheery and utterly lacking depth. I guess they date back to Noel's childhood before WW1, and they're increasingly unconvincing by the 1940s/50s. Most baffling of all is Peaseblossom in The Painted Garden - a childhood friend of the mother's who realises when the oldest child is born that the mother is too useless to cope, so moves in to help, and is still there 13 years later, by which time the children are aged 9-13 and all at school. Neither the mother or Peaseblossom has done a day's paid work in that time and presumably Peaseblossom is supported entirely by the father. What on earth?

SorrelForbes Fri 26-Apr-13 13:56:28

The Whicharts isn't quite as painful as Saplings but thbe story and characters are painted as quite tawdry and grubby. GUM is a Colonel and is actually the biological father of all three girls.

Curtain Up is my favourite (after Ballet Shoes). I love the section where Sorrell understudies her cousin as Ariel in The Tempest.

Oh yes, the annoyingly similar nannies! Peaseblossom is very odd, forceful but a bit pathetic too (the seasickness). All the genteel poverty is quite amusing today.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius It's on Amazon for £10.20 (inc P&P) so £6? Agggh, I'm rubbish at selling things!

HumphreyCobbler Fri 26-Apr-13 14:25:27

"Anyway, though, all the annoying characters in Antonia Forest are very thoughtfully and deliberately depicted... whereas Amy March, Dora in David Copperfield etc are not supposed to be annoying. There is a gulf between the author's intentions and the actual result which doesn't exist in AF."

This is very true MooncupGoddess

I've sent you a pm, Sorrell.

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 26-Apr-13 14:43:08

While I agree about Laurie and Tim and of course Ginty, I don't think she intended Patrick to be so annoying.
He was the romantic intellectual moral catholic who stuck to his guns even if unwillingly.

I always thought it was a bit like Jo and Laurie, Nick and Patrick were destined for each other.

RedHelenB Fri 26-Apr-13 15:55:52

I didn't find any of AF characters annoying because they weren't 2 dimensional. Would have loved to be part of the Marlow family when I was a kid!! Loved their alternative Christmas when their parents were away!

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 26-Apr-13 16:06:09

Red, which one is that in?

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 17:37:44

The picnic in the cave! I so wanted to do that. We have a tradition of winter picnics in our family because of that book. Was it Run Away Home?

RedHelenB Fri 26-Apr-13 17:51:23

That's right Seeker - runaway home. Wish they would reprint them all!!

RedHelenB Fri 26-Apr-13 17:53:32

Gives chapter summaries - very useful for jogging your memory!

KingscoteStaff Fri 26-Apr-13 22:37:21

Yes, yes, the picnic, and Ann staying at home just in case the parents phoned.

And I desperately wanted to be Nicola riding into town and being seen by Esther!

Won't hear a word against Patrick. Tim and Laurie were the first ambiguous characters I remember reading - until then everyone was a goodie or baddie. That moment when Tim is snippy with Nick took me to a completely new level of reading.

BalloonSlayer Sat 27-Apr-13 07:38:56

I think Dora is supposed to be annoying, just not quite as annoying as she actually is.

She is David Copperfield's "child-wife" signifying his lack of maturity. She isn't mature enough to be a proper wife, and he isn't grown up enough to realise this and they get into a real mess domestically, with her unable to do the accounts etc, wailing that the numbers "just won't add up." God, she' s PATHETIC urgh!

I think DC's possibly unexpressed homosexual obsession with Steerforth is one of the reasons why DC can't find himself a "real woman" to have a full relationship with until after Steerforth has died.
(Although Dora has been pregnant so there has at least been a sexual relationship, because without that reference you'd wonder, you'd imagine that stupid dog getting in the way or something.)

I wonder whether Dora was based on Dickens own wife whom he seemed embarrassed by.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sat 27-Apr-13 20:08:42

Wasn't she based on someone he fell in love with whom he then turned into Flora Finching. Who was extremely silly. But it is a cruel portrait.

I don't think Catherine ever had that lightness of touch.

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