As a child, reading was important to me. It ranked right up there with Gilligan’s Island, seeing friends, and M&Ms. I always had a book. My mother read to me at bedtime, and once I could read by myself, I did. I loved Bible stories, Narnia, Nancy Drew, The Wizard of Oz, and all the Little House books. But my favorite was the one I read over and over again: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
The library copy at my school was at least two inches thick with a dark red linen cover, and a few illustrations scattered throughout the book. It was the first really “big” book I finished by myself, and so I read it again. And again. I lost count of how many times I had read it by the fifth grade.
I remember that the first few times I read it, I imagined myself to be each of the central characters. I wanted to see the book from their point of view. As a firstborn daughter, I identified with Meg’s wish to be properly behaved all the time. I had dreams of being an artist like Amy. I wished that I could be as sweet and compassionate as Beth. I even dreamed of having four brave daughters like Marmie. But the character I longed to be was Jo.
She told stories, play acted, entertained, and romanced every moment. In the end she got what she needed, which was very different than what she thought she wanted. As I look back, I see that idea is perhaps the most important theme of the book, because that is what life is all about. You do your honest best. You work hard to reach your goals. You accept your experiences as lessons to learn from, and you trust that God will put all the things into your life that you need to be the best you possible. To be the person He designed you to be.
If you haven’t read it, please pick up a copy of Little Women and do it this week. It’s only 99¢ on kindle.