11 – Little Women #1 w/ Kendra Radke

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The very first of a very long series of episodes on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. This is quite a long book and I will be reading through it with Kendra from Westcoast Booksters Podcast! It’s been so much fun having Kendra on, so I hope you will enjoy her as much as I’ve enjoyed chatting with her.

Find Kendra everywhere at @KERadkeUniverse

Find their podcast @WestcoastBooksters everywhere and Twitter at @WCBooksters

Find me at all the places at @BarelyBookish! I hope everyone enjoys this first start into their holiday reading.

Summary from Puffin in Bloom

Purchase book from bookshop.org or Amazon.

Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale of four sisters in a deluxe hardcover edition, with beautiful cover illustrations by Anna Bond, the artist behind world-renowned stationery brand Rifle Paper Co.

Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?”

Transcript

Rachel: Hello everyone, so it’s December. Well, it’s technically the second week of December now, but honestly, December to me always sort of feels like winter and I know that this year winter doesn’t start till the 21st of December. But you know it’s December. It’s getting kind of cold out. Well, in FLaurieda, it’s getting kind of cold out this week, but like most places it’s snowing now, right? Like so to me this is winter. I know it’s not, but it feels like winter. So in my heart I’m going to say it’s winter. So we’re reading Little Women now, and I’ve been told by multiple people that like, or seen I guess on the Internet, I say told as if I’m experiencing this and I’m communicating with them, but it’s actually I just read people’s posts on social media and I feel like I’m talking to them. Yeah. And I they don’t know who I am, but it’s okay. So yeah, I’ve seen multiple places that people say that little women feels kind of like a winter book to them, and I guess that’s probably due to the fact that it starts like the second chapter is Christmas. So we’re going to read Little Women now and read both parts, so this is going to be the first episode in a rather long series of little women episodes, so I hope you guys will enjoy it and you can either watch us destroy your nostalgia because I didn’t read this as a child. And now I’m experiencing it as the first time as an adult, so it should be fun. And I think we have a lot to talk about, so I hope you guys enjoy this very first episode of Little Women.

(Intro Music)

Rachel: Hey, hi, hello everyone and welcome to the Barely Bookish podcast. Today we’re talking about little women with Kendra.

Kendra: Oh hi. I’m not used to being the one that has to do that.

Rachel: I know and you are on a lovely podcast. You wanna tell the people about your podcast.

Kendra: Okay, so I host a podcast with Jessica at Westcoast Booksters and we do book battles where one of us loves it and one of us hates it. Although sometimes it’s like in between and then we also do author interviews.

Rachel: I love it, I love it so much. I honestly when we’re talking about what we’re gonna read, I’m like looking ’cause I have giant bookshelves back you look at all my books and like you know it’s going to be easier for me to rag on something, and I’m like what can I read that I would hate and I couldn’t find anything. So you know. There-then we were just, you know, chatting about which books you’re going to read. So I am very excited to read Serpent & Dove with you.

Kendra: I’m-we-did you start it?

Rachel: I haven’t started it yet. I-my classes end in two weeks and I’m gonna start it then.

Kendra: Okay, I started it yesterday. It has a lot of French words in it, but I’m listening to the audiobook and I’m thinking in my head like oh my God, if I would’ve had to read this.

Rachel: Anyway, this pack is Little Women, so I do think it’s kind of interesting that all the chapters were titled because I haven’t read like necessarily. I don’t know if this is technically a kids book, but it kind of gives me the vibe of the children’s book. I don’t know if it is.

Kendra: I have, I think it’s like nowadays it would be considered a middle grade book.

Rachel: Yeah, Penguin teen classifieds it as a young readers, so I’m going to go with middle grade that feels right, cause it’s like a novel-ish.

Kendra: I find it weird that she talks to the reader.

Rachel: Yeah, that threw me off on like the first chapter will get into it when we get there, but like when we hit the first time that she’s like, oh young readers would like us describe I was like woah woah woah. Whoa, Deadpool, chill. Like I was like I can’t handle this right now. I was like that I was just getting into it and then she’s like let me just take you back a couple steps and we’re gonna talk about these people and I was like okay like.

Kendra: I’ve never read a classic book that does that before.

Rachel: I don’t think, I haven’t either and I can’t think of one off the top of my head that would either. I’m really trying to think of anything I can’t think of one though. I’m gonna get tweeted.

Kendra: The only person that I know that does that is the Deadpool.

Rachel: Deadpool. Lemony Snicket did it remember?

Kendra: Oh, there was a smut book that I read that did it.

Rachel: Really?

Kendra: Yeah.

Rachel: That feels extra weird like that in the middle of like bow chicka, wow, wow and then it like pulls you out and it’s like and then while this was happening far away in the distance and you’re like, whoa. Okay. That would just make me a little weird. Was it good or was it like weird?

Kendra: Okay, so it was weird, it was, it was good for a smut book, but it was weird because it was the Alice in Wonderland smut book.

Rachel: I have a lot of questions and I’m also going to need you to send this to me, ’cause now I just am curious about it.

Kendra: Okay.

Rachel: I just-

Kendra: Oh sorry. I was-technically I was doing it as like a research type thing, cause my friend was like I’m gonna write a smut book and I was like you know, if you write a smut book you have to read a bunch of smut.

Rachel: Yeah, yeah, that’s as you do.

Kendra: I was like. She was like, oh look, what I found! She’s like you like Alice in Wonderland do I will never look at Alice in Wonderland, the same ever again.

Rachel: Who was it with? Was it Alice and like the Mad Hatter are we talking? Or like do we, a bunch of people like what was it?  Tell me anything.

Kendra: There was Alice and the Caterpillar, but he was a man, not a Caterpillar.

Rachel: I am sorry.

Kendra: And then there was Alice and the rabbit, but he was a man in a rabbit suit.

Rachel: So she with a furry basically.

Kendra: And then there was the Mad Hatter and he was a man that, you know, just I mean, the Mad Hatter is a man.

Rachel: Yeah.

Kendra: And there was the dormouse which but he was not in a mouse suit.

Rachel: Uh huh, was this like reverse Haram? Or was it like each book kinda?

Kendra: No this was one book.

Rachel: Ah okay. Alright, so chapter one is playing pilgrims and we immediately establish that they’re all poor and their father is off to work. But my thing about them being poor is I feel like they’re more middle class and actually poor in my opinion, because like they still have a servant Hannah. And they seem to have basically all everything they need, not necessarily everything they want. You know what I mean? So I don’t know if they’re actually super port or if they’re just down on their times kind of thing.

Kendra: I would say like lower middle class.

Rachel: That’s what I’m thinking too.

Kendra: They’re not needy, but they’re not rich.

Rachel: Yeah, like they can’t get new clothes all the time, but they have clothes that work, you know? So I’m thinking that they’re just kind of like lower middle class for sure. But there’s four daughters Meg, Amy, Jo, and Beth. And this at when we start this book there the day before Christmas, so Christmas Eve and they’re all kind of deciding what they want to spend their money on because their mother said that they’re not going to do a big thing for Christmas this year, since the war is going on. And then I figured out later in the book that this is the Civil War cause I gotta figure out what time frame we’re going for because they mentioned that they’re from the North and they’re Yankees, so this is America Civil War. And now we know where we are so each of the each of the girls want to spend their own money instead, so that they can each get something they want since they’re not going to really do Christmas. But as they are kind of talking over each of the girls is trying to say that they have the hardest out of all of them that, like woe, is me kind of thing when they’re all kind of in the same boat. The older 2 girls are working and then the younger 2 girls are in school. Amy actually goes to school while Beth stays home and does her lessons at home so they kind of all are like doing things, but like they’re all kind of on the same level like no one necessarily has a harder than the other. And we kind of discovered that they used to be rich. But when they talk about when we get to it later, they mentioned how they like how they kind of fell out, but they never really explain it.

Kendra: They don’t, which I thought like I’d like to know that story. How did you become poor?

Rachel: Yeah. Because, like her father, Miss Mrs. Marches father was like best friends with like Mr. Laurence who is like living in a mansion next door. Now like you have to be in a relatively decent area of town if like your next door neighbor has a mansion you know? And it’s like a stone mansion, top.

Kendra: I always wondered if the house that they lived in is like a like a maid house or something for Mr. Laurence, and that’s why they’re so cause they seem so close together, which is odd.

Rachel: Yeah. That could make sense like if it’s like a gatekeeper’s house kind of situation. Yeah, I didn’t think about that, that would make sense though, because like they’re really close like he says Laurie, who we meet later mentions how he can like see them from his room. He can like look into their window and I’m like, oh you guys are really, really close like.

Kendra: Yeah, like he’s peeping Tom, but that word hasn’t been established yet.

Rachel: Cause like I’ve been in big houses before, a friend of mine, her mother, used to like housesit for this lady had a mansion and you can’t see, like when you go, it’s not like you can see your neighbors and you can’t like look into their house, you know, because the house is huge and I’m assuming he’s not like right on the same side of the house as they are. You know?

Kendra: Right. And I just, it was odd too that, okay, so her husband, and Mr. Laurence were big, like good friends, but then her and him never spoke before until now.

Rachel: Yeah, yeah. I know it’s weird, it’s like they’re-how are they such good friends and they’re just not really talking? I and then my other question is, do you think then that her she inherited this house from her parents?

Kendra: I have no idea. I-the whole the whole time I’ve been thinking I think they’re renting from Mr. Laurence. That’s what I came up with because I could not understand how are you so close to this mansion where you only have a hedge in between you and then how have you never spoken to your neighbor before, but yet he’s so nice?

Rachel: Yeah.

Kendra: Like there’s a lot of things that didn’t compute with me, but you know whatever.

Rachel: I know there’s a couple things that I’m like, huh, this is kind of weird.

Kendra: I also didn’t understand why the father left when he didn’t need to and he just went to war when he has four daughters to take care of and a wife at home.

Rachel: So previous to this I had the unfortunate chance to read Gone With the Wind so from my understanding of that horrendously awful 1012-18 pages is that basically it’s like an honor to go to war and serve for your people and like defend the North quote unquote. Like it’s basically when I read that book it was like if you do not go to war, everyone shunned you and look down on you and they’re like what’s wrong with you that you think you’re better than everyone else do not go to war.

Kendra: So strictly for patriotism.

Rachel: Yeah, basically.

Kendra: It’s just the manly, that sounds like a boy thing.

Rachel: Literally does it’s, it’s, it’s something it’s really something.

Kendra: So it’s something that we wouldn’t really understand today, but back then it was just what you did.

Rachel: Yeah, it was kind of like you had to and-or-and like if you didn’t everyone was not nice about it like they made it known that you should have been at war.

Kendra: Okay so yeah, okay, that, yeah, I could get that.

Rachel: Yeah, like Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind didn’t go to war and every, everytime everyone’s saw them like you horrible, horrendous human, why didn’t you go like it was really bad.

Kendra: Well, I could understand about like the younger men, but the older men that you know they don’t function the same when you’re younger, that’s why I was wondering cause their dad. They, they seem older, but maybe they’re not as old as I’m thinking.

Rachel: I mean the oldest one is 16, and when you think about like when people had kids, their dad is probably like max 40. You know?

Kendra: I mean, I’m close to 40, but that still seems old to me. You know, like I would not want to even at my age right now I’d be like I don’t know if you’d want me at war like I don’t work like I used to.

Rachel: I know, it’s like having me flashbacks to when I actually contemplated maybe joining the military and I’m like me in the military, like I work out but like if you put a rucksack on me, I’m just going to fall asleep and lay on the ground like there’s no way I’m bringing that anywhere. But yeah, so that’s kind of the reason why he’s actually at war is that, like it was a huge thing for everyone to go. They don’t really talk about it nearly as much in this book, but like when I was reading Gone With the Wind if, but the North was also better off in the South and Gone With the Wind was like focused solely on the South, which is why I had a lot of problems with it. Also that it’s supposed to be like America’s love story and there’s no love story in the entire book. You get to the end of the 1018 pages and no one loves each other. Everyone hates each other, and I’m like, where’s the love? Where’s the romance like? It doesn’t exist. So each of the girls is like trying to say they have it hardest. Jo saying she does not enjoy quote, girly, activities, unquote, and she would rather go fighting with her dad. And I was like it’s interesting for me reading a lot of these classic literatures cause, classic books I mean, is that you know you kind of think of the past is people didn’t really understand people and like modern ideas, but like Jo not wanting to be like what we think of is like, like standard female tasks and like things that you used to force women to do and her not wanting that is like very modern of this book. You know what I mean?

Kendra: Yeah, I get that.

Rachel: So I appreciate her as a character, kind of, I just think you know.

Kendra: I’m gonna say it, I wonder if, and people are going to hate me for saying this, but I’m gonna say it anyway, I wonder if we were to rewrite it in this day and age, if Jo wouldn’t just be a transvestite.

Rachel:  That’s what I was, I was wondering should be transgender cause I mean she does not seem comfortable in her own body and like they talk about her not knowing what to do with her body and not like feeling lanky and tall and uncomfortable, so I always like as I’m reading this, I’ve started to wonder that as well. And like it’s interesting to like put that out there when you wonder, so I talked about this with Pride and Prejudice because my last guess and I were kind of thinking that Charlotte Lucas might be lesbian so we were talking a lot about that. And it’s interesting to think that maybe the author knew someone and based her off of Jo and you’re like, what did that person look like and live like in that time? You know what I mean?

Kendra: That could be.

Rachel: Yeah, but I just kinda feel bad for Jo here and I-

Kendra: I’m so sorry if I ruined your classic relation-but I had to say it cause-

Rachel: No! I was thinking it too, so I was honestly going to bring it up so. But yeah, I just I don’t think that ruins it. I think it kind of shows like how books age and how we start to understand people more in the lives they could have been leading in the time that they were in and if they have the ability to be who they wanted to be what would that look like you know?

Kendra: Right.

Rachel: So I just if Jo ends up, marrying a man at the end of this because like she does one of those like turn around, so now she’s girly cause she met the man I’m going to lose my mind. I will lose my mind like if she marries a man and she becomes the same kind of-then she’s the same type of person and she actually falls in love, fine. But if she becomes girly at the end of this and they make her like into wanting female, like traditionally female type rules. I’m going to be kind of mad. I think Jo is lovely and I’m just I want the best for her. I want the world for her. So this is the point where the author straight up takes us out of the story saying that the readers like to know how people look, so she’ll take a moment to describe the characters and, what in the Deadpool.

Kendra: That was weird.

Rachel: I know. What in the MCU universe is-I was like, woah, woah, I literally stopped reading at that point and I was like I already am a little uncomfortable, cause I was like I don’t like to come out if I’m in a story like I need to be in it and like reading it and enjoying it and it was like as soon as that part came, you could have described them differently, but instead of taking us out of the story, they don’t do it again after that moment.

Kendra: Yeah, she it’s like random moments that she’ll do it in the book, every time I’m like, you know, I’m here. I don’t like that.

Rachel: I know I feel like there’s a face staring up at me, out of like the book and I’m like ah go away! So then we get to all the character descriptions and like I’m not going to go through them all, but I’ll give you the basis. Margaret is 16. Jo is 15. Elizabeth, also known as Beth, is 13 and Amy at that beginning stage, they don’t give her an age, but later we find out she’s 12. At that point, they describe Jo the absolute most out of all the characters. Like they give like Margaret a couple sentences, they describe Jo for like 3 paragraphs and then they’re like also we have Elizabeth and Amy. And like Elizabeth is shy.

Kendra: Maybe the author was Jo.

Rachel: Maybe, I don’t know much about this author, so like if I research into her later and I find actually lived like a really cool life or she you know, lived alone with her female best friend. Then I’ll be like all right. I get it.

Kendra: Beth, I thought Beth was interesting too, because she obviously has a lot of mental health problems going on.

Rachel: I just feel so bad for Beth because like she’s just she’s like cripping-cripplingly shy, you know?  It’s deter-deter-deters a lot of her life and she actually had to stay out of school because she couldn’t handle going to school and I just I felt really bad about it. But at least she’s still getting an education and they’re able to afford for her to get lessons at home instead of going to public school.

Kendra: I feel like me and Beth could never be friends because I’d hurt her feelings all the time.

Rachel: Aw.

Kendra: Like not on purpose, but on accident, you know?

Rachel: Yeah. See like I do a lot of those we can hang out in silence, kind of friends, so I probably would be fine with Beth because you know, she wouldn’t want to say anything. I wouldn’t want to say anything. And then after a couple hours I’d be like alright same time tomorrow? And she’s like yup and I’m like cool and then I’d leave. But like I, I feel like me and Beth we get along. I feel like me and Jo would get along. But like if you put me in a room with Amy I would lose my mind. Like already, I can tell you, that it’s not going to go well for me.

Kendra: She was like she annoys me too, but at the same time she’s very young, so like her mindset is right for her age.

Rachel: Yeah, for sure. I think cause she’s only what did I say? 12, so she’s a child and the baby so it’s fine. I mean, she’ll probably grow out of it, but it’s like that’s kind of the age outside of terrible twos that I can’t handle it like when they’re at like that preteen phase and they’re like, I know everything in the world and you’re like, no, you’re a baby.

Kendra: Yeah, I get that too.

Rachel: Like why I hated middle school. So at that point, I said Jo has to be the main character cause she got the most description, which I really don’t think there is a main character. I feel like all the girls are equally main characters in their own way.

Kendra: I-yeah, I-I don’t-the weird thing that I don’t relate to any one of them, so I find this book dreadfully boring.

Rachel: Yeah, I don’t think I really relate to any of them because like at the end of the chapter, there always seems to be a lesson, and they learn from it and they grow and they’re like and I’m going to try to be a better person tomorrow, I’m not going to go to bed angry and I’m like, uh huh.  Yeah, I totally do all of those things.  I totally grow every single day.

Kendra: I do not do that at all.

Rachel: I definitely don’t, but I, I would love to, I would love to be able to be like, yeah I have like that self reflection every night and be like oh this is how I could go. I would love to be that person, I’m not, I would love to though because my heart, my heart says you know maybe you could still be like your wonderful cottage core self and I’m like I know I couldn’t because I’m dumpster. I’m a dumpster fire, but you know, I would love to be cottage core but they don’t allow dumpster fires in cottages. You know? So.  I’m gonna just like you know you look-I would get to like look like this and wear cute sweaters, but then the inside I know it’s just a shell. It’s a cover up, you know it’s fine.

Kendra: Well, think about this, what if the cottage was in nowhereland?

Rachel: You know if Baba Yaga can live in a cottage, you know, I think I can make it happen.

Kendra: Exactly.

Rachel: Hear me out, if Baba Yaga is probably the closest cottage core Queen that I could be. So if anyone’s looking for a Baba Yaga, Baba Yaga replacement, let me know, I’m in FLaurieda. I think I could be a swamp monster with the chicken house, so just throw that out there, you know, put that into the void. I think I can make it happen. Moving on from my fantasies of my chicken house. Okay, so all my girls are saying that they’re going to go get like presents for their mother instead of presents for themselves. And that’s a very nice thing that I just, you know, can’t relate to. And then they all put on some sort of play for Christmas, and I was trying to figure out like I guess it’s just the four of them like this, at this point they’re just talking about the play. Oh no, they actually put on the play now, but I think it’s just the four of them and they I think they invited the neighbor kids to come watch. But I couldn’t really tell. So cute, but I couldn’t really tell if it was like everyone was invited or like what kind of situation that was truly. So I think the neighbor kids came cause they mentioned that there was a couple other people there. So then it’s revealed that Jo actually wrote the play, which was pretty cute and I thought it was like a really nice touch that they added that she’s actually writing it and we kind of get to find out about more of her writing throughout the rest of the book. Then the girl’s Mother is now home and they all are eating dinner and their Dad’s wrote that, their Dad wrote them this long letter, so they try and finish dinner quickly so they can read it, so like they’re like really excited about hearing from their Dad, which is nice. I do wonder if we’re actually going to ever meet the Dad throughout this entire book cause we’re twelve chapters in and he still gone at war.

Kendra: I mean, I can spoil it for you if you want me to.

Rachel: Tell me if we’re gonna meet him or not.

Kendra: Yes, we’re going to.

Rachel: Okay alright, no other spoilers, but I just wanted to make sure that we actually will, cause I’m like if we get all the way to the end and like the dad never comes home I’m gonna be like a little annoyed about it. So and then in his letter he calls them little women so immediately we get the title of the book in chapter one, which was cute, but I was like okay like things are getting real now.

Kendra: They actually say it a lot like be a proper little woman and you’re like, okay, you can stop now.

Rachel: Yeah, I mean usually you get like the title of the book in like the middle of the book, you know and that’s when things are getting serious. So then seeing it that much I was like, okay, like weird. It is what it is I guess, and then they decide to play an adventure game in real life called the Pilgrims. And they’re going to play until their father comes home, which they still do not really outline this game at all. They’re just quote playing it and enjoying their adventure until their dad gets home so they make everything out of a task.

Kendra: I was wondering if they were like really descendants from pilgrims.

Rachel: I mean, probably like they’ve got to be close because it’s like the Civil War is happening. That’s only a couple generations of, you know Europeans being in America, so they probably are pilgrims. Or at least close to it they had to have, you know, come over from somewhere. So maybe, I don’t know. Or at least, it’s probably when they did those like cops and robbers types of games, you know that were really popular, similar ideas like pilgrims were popular, so they made a game out of it.

Kendra: So maybe they were playing pilgrims and Indians, but she just didn’t put in the Indian part?

Rachel: Maybe I don’t know, they don’t, they don’t explain this game at all, and they’re like, well, just play it and I’m like okay. And then they said something about like lions being a part of the game and like they all had to come over come there like lion, you know which was talking to Mr. Laurence later on. And I’m like, okay like, what is this game? Why do pilgrims have to overcome the lions, you know?

Kendra: I thought they were talking about like real lions like, like the lions came to eat the pilgrims or something.

Rachel: I don’t know like as far as I know they came on a ship. They took a bunch of land and then they’re like here now we’re pilgrims because we stole this land and I’m like okay, you know that happened and now they’re just like there’s a lot of steps becoming to get like your road of paradise for some reason. So then Chapter 2 a very Merry Christmas, which if you can guess this takes place over Christmas. It’s like, I hate chapter titles because I feel like they give away the entire thing.

Kendra: Yeah, I do too. I don’t like them at all.

Rachel: Yeah, and it’s like these have been decent except like the next chapter is like. I think it’s the next chapter where it’s like Mr. Laurence and you’re like, oh, I wonder who were about to meet then, you know, but it’s like I just don’t really like chapter titles. But anyways, the beginning of Chapter 2 each girl awoke with a book under their pillow, which will serve as their guide. We have no idea what’s in these books because it’s never explained.

Kendra: I think it’s the Bible.

Rachel: Is it the Bible?

Kendra: Yeah, I think it that she got him them all new Bibles. That’s why they were talking about reading passages in the morning before they started their day.

Rachel: That would make sense, cause I’m just like, having only tried to read the Bible once and like barely made it through, I just don’t ever think of it as a book. You know what I mean?

Kendra: Yeah.

Rachel: So I wouldn’t, I would never really thought like-that makes sense cause I’m like what like what it would be a guidebook and let’s like a scavenger hunt or like.

Kendra: The Bible.

Rachel: Yeah yeah, that makes more sense, cause I’m just like in my head, I’m imagining one of those like really big like I spy kind of books and I’m like, you know, this is a weird gift for them to have to read 30 minutes every morning. I’m like you read it in 30 minutes, you finish it so I really don’t know. But you saying Bible makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking, cause I was like I don’t know how they can’t finish it every morning. But no, that makes a lot more sense. So okay, now I have that in my head. So then Meg suggested suggest that they read it each morning and they all start immediately reading it. Then after 30 minutes they all go downstairs and thank their mother. But she’s already gone. So we’re introduced to Hannah instead and she’s their like live-in servant. I think she lives there. They don’t ever say she doesn’t, so I’m assuming she must live there.

Kendra: I think most servants lived with whoever they were serving back then.

Rachel: You know, but then she does go on vacation later on and she’s not in the house all day, so maybe she doesn’t.

Kendra: But vacations like that, you’re not supposed to be in the house.

Rachel: Yeah, but I mean like.

Kendra: I don’t know either, I have no idea.

Rachel: Staycations I don’t know. Maybe she doesn’t live, maybe she does. Who knows? They don’t say Well, I’m going to assume that she probably does live there, though. Amy then comes home and exchange-exchange her Cologne bottle for a bigger one for her mother, so she’s trying not to be quote selfish anymore and I was like okay so now she has no money left for herself which is a very nice thing to do. One of their neighbors is very poor, so they decided to go take their breakfast over there to feed them. And there’s like 6 little kids and they were all starving and so they go help and give the food to the little kids. And they held they were all like freezing to that they literally say that they had like purple fingers and toes. And like the fact that they did not lose appendages is like surprising to me.

Kendra: Well I mean it’s middle grade so.

Rachel: That is true. I keep forgetting that. So they help all these kids and then they go back home and this is when they actually do the performance of the theater and Jo gets to play all the male parts since no men were admitted to the actual theater.

Kendra: I’m not even gonna lie while I was reading this chapter, I was falling asleep during their play.

Rachel: I don’t blame you because it’s like the play itself is so vague that you don’t even know what’s like really happening throughout the entire thing where it’s like if you could have cliff notes of a play that’s not inherently well written, that’s basically what you’re reading. Like I had no idea what was going on the entire time.

Kendra: My thing was during this chapter they actually called Jo, Sancho, which if you know the Spanish word Sancho, that means like male mistress for women.

Rachel: Oh, so I didn’t know that.

Kendra: So it’s like if you’re around a lot of Hispanic people, they’ll tease each other and like if their husbands are not with them or their boyfriends over like oh and a male, another male comes and talks to them “oh, is that your Sancho?” Like, so I was like very intrigued and I was like wait is that what she’s talking about or are they, is that just like a random nickname she used cause again Civil War time.

Rachel: Yeah. Yeah. I did not know that though, so like it’s, I don’t know they, make, Jo plays a lot of male roles throughout the entire book too, not only in here, but then later when we get to the part of the Parliament Group too, like they’re all men in that, but it’s just interesting to see that. Like I wonder if that was intentional? I really do.

Kendra: I do too, because like they call it I like, when I read it, I was like whoa, wait a minute I was like what is going on here? And then when she said it I was like, that is really random, because, again, Civil War time, so I don’t think any Hispanics were in the area at the time. There could have been, I don’t know, but that’s really random that they, that she had it in there and I was, it just caught my eye and I was like Sancho like oh like what’s going on?

Rachel: You’re like, oh, this is a little bit of flavor.

Kendra: Yeah.

Rachel: Weird that they use that if she didn’t use it intentionally, and now I’m gonna have to do more research on this author to figure out, what’s happening. But they end up going through the whole play, and I’m not going to repeat any of it because I don’t know what’s happening. So read that for yourselves listeners. So they finish their show and the mother calls down to dinner. And it’s like a huge affair. And this is when we find out that Mr. Laurence actually sent it. And we find out that he’s their neighbor and the family wants to get to know them, but no one really knows them. Even though the mother and her mother’s father and Mr. Laurence was supposedly really close, for some reason we don’t know him and we find out that Mr. Laurence has a grandson that people don’t know much about. And he seems to have some sort of interest in Meg. Which is not really like in the twelve chapters, just like briefly mentioned, but it’s not really ever talked about, you know?

Kendra: Yeah I-I was getting like that whole vibe from Laurie that he was like a shut in or something and then the, the old man Mr. Laurence, I was warned about him first of all an I heard about his thing with giving them food and I was like okay dirty old man trying to get attention of five women, yeah.

Rachel: Yeah.

Kendra: Okay.

Rachel: Yeah, like I don’t like this already.

Kendra: But then, while you know while you’re reading, it’s so middle grade, you’re like, yeah, that’s not gonna happen in this ook.

Rachel: I know it’s like when they left, when Laurence and Jo are alone I was like oh, and then you know is something going to happen? And then I’m like, oh, this is a children’s novel, nevermind.

Kendra: Yeah.

Rachel: Backtrack on that one, but, yeah, I don’t even know let’s like I don’t really know what his intention is, or if he’s actually just being nice. But I think they briefly mentioned that Laurie, the grandson, is pretty sick, so I don’t know if that’s why he’s so much of a shut in because they like mentioned his health a handful of times. So I kind of wonder if maybe it’s, it’s not necessarily that he, the grandfather wants him to be, if it’s more so that he’s like physically, rather sick, so he has to be shut in, but I don’t know. I don’t know if that will be explored further.

Kendra: Well, the mother get-the mother gives her theory and I don’t remember which chapter that’s in, so I could be like jumping way forward then I’m supposed to be, but the mother says that her theory is that both of his parents died and I can’t remember what they died of, but she’s like, so I think in my opinion he’s just trying to keep his grandson close because that’s who, that’s the only person he has left, so he makes him stay inside because he’s worried something is going to happen to me. Which is, I mean, that that makes sense too.

Rachel: Yeah, ’cause they kind of they talk about that and I think it’s coming up here soon so we’ll probably talk more about it when we get there but yeah, it’s it’s just kind of sad. I don’t know, but I mean at least you have a really cushy pri-prison I guess living in a mansion.

Kendra: Right?

Rachel: So Chapter 3, the Laurence boy, I wonder who we’re going to find out about. So Jo is curled up in a corner reading and eating apples, and honestly that felt ideal to me. And Mrs. Gardner has invited Megan, Joan-Jett, Megan, Jo to advance-and-to a dance on New Year’s Eve. So the girls are trying to figure out what their clothes are going to be for-which of their clothes are nicest and Jo has pretty much stained everything she owns. And then we jump straight to New Year’s Eve and the girls are getting ready. So at this point, Jo burned off Megan’s hair, or not Megan, Jo burned off Meg’s hair when she tried to make ringlet curls.

Kendra: I don’t know about you, but I would not trust Jo the boy to do my hair.

Rachel: I know I’m like if she doesn’t do her own hair, I am a little nervous about her touching mine especially because they said that she used a hot tongs and paper and I’m like how did it not catch fire immediately? Like who thought that was a good idea?

Kendra: I know and I don’t know how I know this, but back in the day how they used to curl hair is they take the curling iron or whatever they were curling with they put it in the fire, they let it warm up, and then they take it out of fire, and how you would see if it was too hot was you test it on paper. If it burned the paper, that means it’s going to burn your hair, if it didn’t burn the papers, and that means it’s safe to use on your hair. I don’t remember how I know that, but I do know that little tip.

Rachel: Inherently, I am not one that wants to do their hair anyways, like as you can tell, my hair is in a bun like I don’t do my hair, but like if I had that-those types of utensils, and that’s all I had to do my hair, I’m never going to do it. Like it’s going to look the way it looks day in and day out. I’m never touching it.

Kendra: But back then they like took very like they took a lot of what is it called into their appearance.

Rachel: They took a lot of care.

Kendra: They took a lot of pride into their appearance back then.

Rachel: But yeah, so they burn their hair off and they get over it by deciding to like tease, Meg’s hair in the front and I just want a picture of that. I really do because I just need to know how that turned out.

Kendra: I would love a picture of that actually.

Rachel: Yeah, they’re like frizzy’s the style and I’m like is it?  Is it though? So neither girl is comfortable right now because they just, you know, only each of them only has one clean glove because Jo ruins all of her gloves and all of her outfits and Jo can’t turn her back to anybody she has a giant stain running down the back, so they’re all like uncomfortable. And Meg’s in way too small issues because she didn’t have any that fit. But they say quote, let us be elegant or die unquote. And I felt that I really did.

Kendra: I didn’t feel that at all, like I don’t wear high heel shoes anymore. I wear strictly flats. I don’t know when I made that I think I made that change like a couple of years ago cause I kept buying shoes cause they were so pretty and I am a shoe whore and-but I could never walk in them because like you’re walking for two minutes and my feet hurt. So I’m one of those people that I like my comfort so I really don’t care. If the shoes don’t technically match the outfit, I will do my best, but I’m strictly usually in flats or sandals or tennis shoes. You won’t see me in high heels, unless I take a picture in them for like 2 seconds and then.

Rachel: See, I’m a weird mix like I have days where I like to wear heels but I always wear platforms you won’t really catch me in stilettos but my boyfriend is 6 foot 3 so I have the ability to basically make him carry me around if I no longer interested in wearing the shoes. And so I kinda enjoy wearing heels, but like I have not touched a pair since Covid started at all.

Kendra: Understandable.

Rachel: So they’re officially on their way to the party now. Jo is literally as they got to the party standing by herself against a wall and not having any fun, which I felt kind of bad about. But then you know, someone starts approaching Jo and it’s like this red headed guy and she sees him approach her and she nopes out of there and goes and hides in a closet which I felt that that I was like, yeah, I get it, I would do the same. So she goes and hides in the closet with Laurie. Oh, she didn’t know he was in there. But she gets in there.

Kendra: I wondered if it was just that specific boy that she was scared of, or if it was just all boys at the time.

Rachel: I feel like it’s all boys first.

Kendra: Because these dances there, it’s like the only social time they get. And she is what, 15? So she wasn’t even curious about boys at the time, not even a little bit?

Rachel: No, I think she was like I have no interest in meeting any men and she’s like someone trying to approach her and she’s like no thank you. No thank you, not interested and I guess they’re not we find out later that they’re not actually quote out yet. So like once you, once you become out, then you’re looking for a husband. But none of the girls are out yet, so they’re still technically children, and they’re not allowed to like date or court boys yet, cause they’re not out.

Kendra: Then why is Meg all excited to go?

Rachel: I don’t know because they actually say something about how they’re surprised Meg isn’t out yet, because like her mother, just hasn’t put them out into society. So like I found out later, and when I was reading Pride and Prejudice that to be out to society is like this whole big production and that’s why they talk later on about how Meg doesn’t have any dresses, and they’re like that’s weird, why don’t you have any dresses? And then they find out she’s not out to society because when you’re out of society you have to like, wear, like go to balls, basically like a couple times a week.

Kendra: Maybe she’s not out yet because they’re poor.

Rachel: Possibly. Very possibly, and honestly I think they also don’t want to put her out yet because I think Meg will get snatched up very quickly.

Kendra: And they don’t want that to happen because they’d miss her.

Rachel: I think they’d miss her and I don’t think they want to do it until their dad gets home, cause like then he misses that entire thing. And like she’s only 15 right? No, she’s turning 16. Or it’s close to 16, so like she’s at that age where most girls are going out now and like becoming out being presented out to society, I don’t know the right way to say that, so it is kind of strange that she’s not. But also it’s not to the point where she is very strange yet like it’s just kind of weird. But, yeah, so none of the girls are out so, they’re not really supposed to be like interacting with boys. They’re technically supposed to have a chaperone, and they don’t, so that’s thing. So Jo hides behind a curtain, and that’s when we find out that Laurie is already in there and his actual name is Theodore, which I thought was cute. But then everyone is calling him Dora, so he’s like, nope, changing it to Laurie, and I say Laurie in my head, cause that’s how I read it. I don’t know if that’s actually how you say it, but that’s how I say it.

Kendra: I never know if that’s actually how you say it. In fact, I probably get words wrong 50% of the time.

Rachel: I feel that like I said something the other day that I’d only ever read and everyone was like what like what did you just say I’m I always get corrected by that cause all of my words that I’ve learned are all through like reading cause I don’t watch a whole lot of TV so it’s always fun to try and figure out how it’s actually pronounced.

Kendra: Right? Or you hear word on audiobook and you’re like that’s not how I was saying it the entire time.

Rachel: I audio booked the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses book series I-I solely audio booked it so when I looked at how Rhysand was spelled and how Feyre was spelled I was like, I’m sorry what like that’s how you’re going to spell those names like that is not how they sound to me.

Kendra: Do not get me started on those books.

Rachel: Anyways, so Laurie went to a school called Vevey.

Kendra: Yeah, I don’t know.

Rachel: Which I think is in France because they could only speak French the entire time, so if it’s not in France, that’s just kind of weird. And then Jo and Laurie ended up chatting really comfortably with each other. And Jo found out that Laurie’s about to turn 16 so they are about the same age. And so you know they hang out in this broom closet by themselves, and Laurie is trying to take Jo out to dance. And I was like maybe he likes Jo or maybe they’re just friends like at this point I was like it’s too soon to tell, but I was trying to figure out where the authors trying to lead us, you know, let’s start like guessing.

Kendra: I always think that they like because in that day and age, like I said you, you didn’t talk to the opposite sex except at this place, so for him and her to be talking the way they are.

Rachel: Yeah.

Kendra: I’m assuming that they like each other.

Rachel: I think honestly it-

Kendra: But I know what happened, so I’m not going to say.

Rachel: Okay, I’m gonna just throw my predictions out there and then I’ll get to the end and be like I was so wrong. But I-I have a feeling that they’re gonna end up together just solely based off their friendship. Like I don’t think that they are romantically interested in each other, but like they might marry each other out of convenience because their friends did that make sense? Like that’s my guess.

Kendra: It could be. That could be.

Rachel: We’ll get to the end and your just gonna be like laughing like remember when you thought. So Meg calls Jo over and turns out that she sprained her ankle from wearing like way too small of shoes and they can’t figure out how to get home because they can’t afford a carriage. And so as we’re trying to figure out what they’re going to do, Meg runs to go get coffee and Jo or sorry. Jo runs to go get Meg coffee and Jo immediately spills it all over herself, ruins the one nice glove that she borrowed from Meg and you know, continues to destroy this dress, which can they not get stains out because like her entire dress is so rude, I’m like do you not like scrub it, soak it for a while, trying to get some of these stains out, or what?

Kendra: I don’t like, I-I don’t, I don’t drink coffee so I don’t know anything about coffee stains, but I’m assuming they’re really hard to get out.

Rachel: I don’t know man like it’s not that hard to like go home and at least soak it in water to try and get some of the stains lifted before they set in.

Kendra: But do they have indoor plumbing?

Rachel: Oh. Well, okay, how-they talk about Jo getting the water for making food so they have to have some sort of water storage.

Kendra: True.

Rachel: Because-

Kendra: I thought I had you, but I didn’t.

Rachel: I just like, so they have to have something though, because otherwise, like I don’t think Jo on that day when she makes food for everybody is just like strolling along to the you know nearest pond or whatever. So I don’t know, but I feel like they had the possibility to like take care of this, but they did not. So then after spilling everything all over herself, Laurie hears them talking about it and offers his grandfather’s carriage to take them home which is really nice. And then the girls accept and he sits so they can all talk in chat he sits in the box with the guy who drives the car-whoever ends up driving the carriage. He sits up there and then they all get back home, which I thought was cute. Okay, so that’s all we’re gonna talk about today. Kendra where can all the people of the Internet find you and your podcast? And if you want to tell everybody a little bit more about it and those kinds of things, I know you already did in the intro. But if you want to add anything you know you feel free.

Kendra: So me personally, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, I think that’s it and it’s all at KERadkeUniverse.

Rachel: And I’ve got the show notes.

Kendra: And then, for our podcast it’s on Instagram it’s at westcoastbooksters and then on Twitter it’s wcbooksters cause it was too long for Twitter. And then I also made a Pinterest for the podcast, but it was kind of like a joke thing because I teased Jessica about tentacles.

Rachel: What?

Kendra: And-yeah we have a like a joke about tentacles and how she likes her tentacles. And then she’ll tell, you no I don’t like them, Kendra likes them, but anyway so I have like a whole Pinterest board of just decor for her tentacles.

Rachel: I love a meme Pinterest board.

Kendra: On Pinterest, I don’t think she’s ever seen it like I don’t even know she’s aware of it, but it’s under Jessica’s decor.

Rachel: I love that.

Kendra: And I think we’re also on Facebook for Westcoast Booksters too.

Rachel: Okay, perfect yeah. So make sure y’all check them out check out their podcast and all that good stuff and we will catch you in the next recording. Bye.

Kendra: Bye.

(Outro Music)

Rachel: Thank you all so much for listening to this episode of the Barely Bookish podcast. I hope you all are enjoying our read through of Little Women and we will be back next week with another episode about Little Women. If you want to find me, I am at barelybookish everywhere.  I’m on tiktok, all those great places, Instagram, you know. We also have some Discord servers, so if you like book clubs like virtual book clubs, or if you want to join a book chat totally join those and you can find links to everything on barelybookish.com/connect. And yeah, so our logo was designed by my little sister Sarah. Our theme song is called Video Game Blockbuster by Raphael Krux. And that’s how I all I have for you guys this week. So I will catch you all next week, bye.

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