Little Women is a timeless coming of age novel and treasure trove of stories about the stages of a women’s life, from girlhood to womanhood. At any age, there is something that can be learnt from March sisters and sometimes their character arc is the perfect match to the situation that I am positioned in.
Women and girls who are finding their voice, have a chance to navigate the nuances of their personal identity through Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth. Each protagonist has distinct traits and interests, yet they all come together and learn from each other. When I first read it, it impressed upon me the concept of sisterhood. Even though the March sisters are different, they love and embrace each other for both their strengths and flaws.
I have two loving younger sisters who are also very different to me and female friends who have become like family to me during my life. Through them, I find daily inspiration and ways to challenge myself. Without them, I wouldn’t feel as supported and empowered as I do today.
Little Women reads like a love letter to the girls and women in our everyday life, with the characters being imagined into existence based on the family life of Louisa May Alcott. The injection of her personal relationships into the narrative, makes it feel like an authentic way of delving into the experience of growing up and finding a place in the world.
What lies at the heart of the book is the recognition of the complexity of feminity, enabling me to realise that it is not a single or authoritative view of what makes a woman. How we as women define ourselves and view ourselves, is a decision that is made individually and the ultimate statement of who we are.
“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. They’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.”
Being a woman is multifacted, we all have different goals and dreams. The most powerful thing is that we can come together, even if we come from different backgrounds and walks of life. I will always be learning about myself through the conversations I have with women I look up to. I aligned myself with the values of the Secret Sisterhood because it symbolises the community of women and girls who uplift, empower and support each other.
In the spirit of community, The Secret Sisterhood Book Club has to been launched, to share our thoughts on books about women’s empowerment and the impact that words can have in our own lives. It is a platform to share our learnings and what stood out, with everyone being welcome to take part!
– By Annie Renouf