Saturday, September 19, 2020

Cartoon Saturday- Jo

Gros, Kathleen. Jo
September 22nd 2020 by Quill Tree Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this modern reimaging of the classic Little Women, we see the March family struggling with their father's deployment. There mother is a nurse who works long hours, and the girls follow the basic trajectory of the original novel. Meg is kind of boring, interested in a young man and a mature high school student. Amy is immature and bratty (sorry, never been an Amy fan), and Beth is in remission from leukemia and does not die. Laurie is still a neighbor, although not as ridiculously well-to-do (Has it ever bothered anyone that neighbors would be so wildly divergent economically? Not that it couldn't happen;it just always seemed odd.), and enjoys being with the family. The grandfather is portrayed much as the original. The real star, always, is Jo. In this book, she is a high schooler looking to find her place. She attends a newspaper meeting and finds that she enjoys working there, honing her writing with the help of the editor, Freddie (a girl). This book takes the family through a school year, and many of the experiences mirror ones in the Alcott book.
Strengths: This remains mostly true to the original, but with an updated time period, which makes it go down better than my readers, who are not always fans of historical fiction. The characters are well developed, and the modernization of the mother and father especially good to see. Including a variety of current social issues is a plus. The illustrations are charming and will definitely appeal to fans of graphic novels.
Weaknesses: I'm always glad to see books with LGBTQIA+ characters, but I'm also a little confused as to why so many reimaginings see Jo as gay. That's fine, but what about her romance with Professor Bhaer? I was never a Laurie fan, and although I was surprised that Jo married at all, I was okay with Bhaer. I did not realize that there was such a schism in Alcott fandom about him. ( Anyway, not a weakness so much as something that confuses me.
What I really think: Terciero and Indigo's Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women circulates well, although no one ever goes on to pick up the original. I guess I'm a purist; read the original or don't bother with the story, but this is not everyone's view, so it's good to see these reimaginings. I've read the Aeneid in Latin and the Odyssey in Greek, so maybe I take this opinion a bit too far. At least I haven't read The Inferno in Italian!
Ms. Yingling

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