Letters to Louisa

June 7, 2021 4:14 PM

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The author, when she was younger, reading a book on the floor. Photo courtesy of the author.

The author, when she was younger, reading a book on the floor. Photo courtesy of the author.

Dear Louisa May Alcott,

How are you? We miss you here but know that time travel can be dangerous. Because of this, I’ve decided to write you some letters. I’m not sure how they’ll get to you, but I’ll figure something out. You know that I almost always do.

Things are going well here. Your little women are trying to be as kind and mature as you believe us to be. Addi, your Beth, has become much more outgoing than she was when you were last here, and is creative as ever. Karis, your Meg, is still trying to grow up too fast but is becoming more content and wise with each day. Amelie, your Amy, still longs to be the baby of the family but is pushing herself to be more responsible and mature. I’m also well. I don’t think I’ve changed much. I’m still rash, scattered, and distracted. I still can't get my stories published. Guess I just need to work harder. 

Love,  

Lily

Dear Louisa,

Do you remember the Christmas when all those people came over to our house, even though we wanted to just spend time together as a family? Of course you do. It was what you based the first event in Little Women on. I remember you saying that sharing our space and time was nice, but that it was just common courtesy, not generosity. You were disappointed that I was disgruntled for even a moment, so you had your little women in the book share their food with a poor family. 

Anyway, I hope you are doing well. Dad is still preaching, but now we have planted a church. It’s very exciting. Mom, or Marmee, is trying to balance her own work with the housework and is happy but tired. I have always thought that you shouldn’t have downplayed how much work a mother needs to do. Your Marmee is wise, but she seems to leave most of the work to Beth and Hannah, their servant. But, I guess it was your book. I won’t judge too harshly.

Love, 

Lily 


Dear Louisa,

I keep remembering what you told me when I asked why I, Jo, wasn’t the oldest in the story. You said I was too irresponsible, too rash, to be the oldest. You said I would be better as the rebellious younger sister. You never saw the tears in my eyes when you said that. But I didn’t argue when you also passed over Addi (too shy) and made Karis the oldest. I knew you were right.

From, 

Lily

Dear Ms. Louisa,

I sometimes wonder why you chose my family and me as the basis for your book. You never thought we were good enough. You never thought that I was good enough. You magnified our weaknesses but changed us to fit your perfect picture of a family. You made me doubt the beauty and love of my family and myself. Maybe I am a bit irresponsible, but I love my sisters and work hard. I will not keep believing the lies that you feed me. I am a great older sister and a leader.

From this point on, I am cutting off correspondence. You were never part of my life, and you will not be a part of my future. Your book is pure fiction. It was never about my family. Therefore, I will treat it that way from this point forward.

From,

Lily, who was never really Jo

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