Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review: Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 336
Received: ARC from author
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

Emily is sick and tired of being a middle sister. So when she gets an assignment to describe what she'd change about a classic novel, Emily pounces on Little Women. After all, if she can't change things in her own family, maybe she can bring a little justice to the March sisters. (Kill off Beth? Have cute Laurie wind up with Amy instead of Jo? What was Louisa May Alcott thinking?!)

But when Emily gets mysteriously transported into the world of the book, she discovers that righting fictional wrongs won't be easy. And after being immersed in a time and place so different from her own, it may be Emily-not the four March sisters-who undergoes the most surprising change of all.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted's winning confection will appeal to fans of Little Women as well as anyone who enjoys a modern twist on an old favorite.


I'm breaking out the pom-poms

There's no question about it, I'm a hyperventilating, cheering, hand-flapping clapping, total fangirl of Lauren Baratz-Logsted. I fell in love with her Gothic suspense The Twin's Daughter, adored her girl-pretending-to-be-a-boy boarding school romp The Education of Bet, and I had a laugh-out-loud blast with her latest, Little Women and Me!

WARNING: What kind of Little Women fan are you?

I may be totally wrong here, but I think people who love--or are at least familiar with--Little Women are the readers who will get the most out of this book. Now, you don't need to have read the book cover to cover (I haven't! I know, for shame). Just watch a movie version (I HIGHLY recommend the 1994 version with Winona Ryder and Christian Bale) and you'll be all set (are English teachers everywhere cringing at my recommendation to ignore the book?).

Now for the fans, what kind of fan are you? Are you the type who adores every single aspect of Louisa May Alcott's masterpiece and you cannot allow even the tiniest criticism of her genius work?

Or are you able to accept some friendly digs? Because, I mean, look, as much as I loooove the story, there's definitely room for a little good-natured mockery. Getting a copy of Pilgrim's Progress and some advice on how to improve your character as a Christmas present? LAME-O, Marmee! Am I right? And as cool and awesome and free-spiritedly amazing as Jo can be, her shtick can get a little annoying, right? Talk about bossy and over-dramatic! But I love them.

So, ok, if what I just said above gave you a serious case of the eye-twitch and you're ready to reach into your computer and strangle me for my blasphemy, then don't even consider reading Little Women and Me. You won't like it.

But, if you were nodding along and maybe even cracked a smile, then you so need to get your hands on a copy of this book! You know fractured fairy tales? Think of this as a fractured classic.

What to expect

Get ready to run through a significant portion of Little Women as Emily lives the events of the book as a fifth March sister. It was like taking a nostalgic romp through the highlights of one of my favorite stories with a sarcastic and thoroughly modern teenager keeping up a running commentary on the whole thing. To say it was funny is an understatement. I was constantly either laughing, smirking, or snickering throughout the whole experience. I kept exclaiming, "That's so true!!" at all of Emily's snarky observations.

Emily isn't exactly a perfect girl herself, though. Her fatal flaw is jealousy, and wow does she do some stupid, pig-headed things because of it! As a result, I had a hard time liking her at times. But you know what, jealousy makes us do stupid things, and Emily is a teenager, not a saint. As much as I found her frustrating sometimes, I also loved her for her totally real and honest reactions. Some of her actions and thoughts weren't very attractive, but I have to admit that they were relatable.

As Emily butts heads with Jo and criticizes Amy (though, come on, Amy so deserves it), she also sees how she can behave in a very similar manner. Ah ha! The light bulb comes on. You can see the lessons coming from a mile away, but Emily doesn't. Sometimes this tactic can be frustrating as you're sitting there impatiently waiting for the character to just GET IT ALREADY, but I didn't feel that way at all with Little Women and Me. I loved watching Emily blunder through things and then eventually, finally, make the connections. Dare I say I even felt a bit like Marmee, patiently waiting for her darling daughter to connect the dots?

What NOT to expect and where that fifth star went

So I was happily following along with the story when I suddenly realized how few pages were left. There was all this important stuff that still had to happen in the original story and I wanted to continue along with Little Women: The Version Hilariously Annotated by a Modern Teenager, but then it ended! Now, ok, the ending makes sense and I do see why it had to end there, but I was having so much fun. More is more for me, and I wanted more. I wanted to run right through to the end where Jo and Professor Bhaer confess their love and kiss under the umbrella (and, yes, I know this wouldn't have worked at all. I mean, what would Emily do, hide in the bushes and watch like a creepy stalker? No, but I bet she would have had something funny to say about it).

The ending was also just a touch too abrupt for my tastes. Maybe it's because I was so immersed in the book, and maybe it's because of the episodic nature of Little Women that makes an ending sort of come out of the blue a little anyway, but I didn't feel any lead up to the end. I'm a reader that needs to be coddled. Maybe I don't need quite as much coddling as The Lord of the Rings (that had, what, like five different endings??), but I need a gentle nudge and slowing down to let me know that things are going to start wrapping up soon. This was more of a BAM! Ok, we're done!

I also would have liked to have seen a little more resolution with Emily's life. Just a few scenes to show her more fully applying the lessons she learned. Instead we're more left with her acknowledging the lessons and an assumption that she will act on them, but we don't get to see that happen as much as I would have liked.

Finally, I wanted a little more explanation for how Emily got sucked into the book. Really lay it out for me. Hit me with the obvious stick. I kept waiting for a fairy godmother to pop out and explain the phenomenon to her, but no such luck.

Now, ok, I know I'm knocking the ending a little, but I also have to say that the Big Reveal is SO cool! I never would have thought of it, but Lauren Baratz-Logsted's solution is incredibly creative and I can totally buy it. Lauren is an absolute genius!

Bottom line

Reading this book felt like inviting a snarky friend over for a sleepover and watching Little Women together while keeping up a running commentary of modern teen impressions. So it was pretty much a snarky giggle-fest. I may have been a little disappointed with the ending, but part of that disappointment stems from how much fun I had. I feel like the party is over and now I'm dreary because I know I'll have to wait a whole week before I can invite Emily over for another sleepover party. Except there won't be another sleepover party because this is a standalone book and I'm kinda bummed about that.

Maybe Emily can get sucked into another book? Please? If she does, then I am SO there.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

I'm not sure which cover will be on the final version, but this is a photo of my ARC

Do you have any questions about Little Women and Me that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Looking for another book like this? 
You might like: 

Click on the covers to go to my reviews.


  1. I just checked out The Education of Bet based on your recommendation and this looks like it will be a lot of fun too. Personally I'm very pro-Laurie and Jo and I can definitely handle some sarcasm thrown at Little Women, although people should definitely read the WHOLE book ;D

  2. *hugs*
    I am a fan of the book (and the movie! Hello, Christian Bale looked HOT!) but I definitely love poking fun at it - and I have very strong views on the whole Laurie-Jo-Amy situation.

    Anyway, I think I would enjoy this book, though it sucks the abrupt ending, I hate those.

    Also, thanks for the heads up about the Education of Bet, because I've been meaning to buy that one.

    Thanks for the fab review ;) I did smirk and laugh a lot while reading it

  3. This sounds like so much fun! I love Little Women but there are some things I'd definitely change about it, can't wait to read this - thanks for sharing! :D

  4. Such an awesome review Small! I can't wait to read this need and join in on the "snarky giggle-fest".

    I have read Crazy Beautiful also by Lauren and it was a darker novel but still really well written.

  5. This book sounds like so much fun! I love commentary on movies I've seen several times over. Sadly only, like, one friend of mine can stand to watch movies with me now. ^^;

    I like your ARC cover way better then the above mentioned image in your description. It relates more to the theme of the book to me. Great review Small! :)

    ~Kelsa P.

  6. Oh I loved your review...;)

    I have a confession- Ive never read Little Women...OR even watched the movie....I know how can I call myself a reader...!!!

  7. I've been really looking forward to reading this since I'm a big fan of the original book.

    Great review!

  8. You will probably laugh at me when I say this, but when I was a kid I tried on numerous occasions to read "Little Women". Each time I attempted I didn't make it very far before I developed a huge headache. (The Boxcar Children Series and Nancy Drew had the same affect on me - lol).

    So, when I see this one, I'm very scared off. After reading your review, I almost want to give it a try, though. You write a very persuasive review for sure. :-)

  9. This reminds me of a Jane Austen remake movie where the main character gets magically transported to Austen's book and switches placed with the real Elizabeth Bennett. I can't remember the name, but it was awesome.

    This book is right up my alley! Thanks!

  10. This sounds perfect for me! Must read now! And in the meantime I'm going to re-watch the Christian Bale movie for the millionth time. I'll try to avoid licking the screen.

  11. yayayayay!!! I just received my ARC in the mail and I'm stoked to read it. I loved your review (so engaging!) and it just made me want to read it even more! :D I also read your reviews on her other books that you loved and I can't wait to read those, either. ;)

    Thanks for a great review!

  12. I love Little Woman and like you I seriously never finished the book. I did however LOVE the Christian Bale adaption as it was Christian Bale...yummY! I also agree that things didn't quite turn out right for my taste even if I know what happened was mostly right (I guess..). This books sounds really good. There are so many classics where I am hoping and wishing for the snark to ensue...and it never does. This is perfect! Awesome review!

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  13. Oh, I love your review for this one! Little Women is one of my all-time favourite books, so I've held off reading a bit of a recreation, but now I'm sold! :)

  14. I'm so glad this is good! I'm supposed to do this for a blog tour but I'm not sure if I'll ever get the book. I sure hope so! Great breakdown of the book!


  15. I haven't read Little Women but I'll be seeing the movie now thanks to you so I'll be a little prepared for this one. I've only read Lauren's The Education of Bet and liked it, and since I know how much you like her novels, I'll have to add this one to my wishlist.

  16. Sounds really great. I love these kind of books. Yeah I adored the original book, but this sounds very lighthearted and just so fun. ;) And I def. need to read a Lauren Baratz-Logsted book. ;)

  17. Hi there! I'm a new follower and I found you on Jenny's Supernatural Snark blog. :)

    Little Women is one of my favorite childhood reads. I'm not exactly happy how it ended regarding Laurie. I'm SO glad that Amy finally gets made fun of (she totally deserves it). Thanks to your detailed review, I know what to expect from the book. Thanks so much!

  18. Bookworm1858, Ooh I hope you like them! I think you’ll like LW&M. (and I know, I know, someday I will read the whole thing. I’ve read the first half a bunch of times…does that count? :P)

    Alex, I think you’ll like it! I hope you do :) If you were smirking and laughing reading my review, then I’m sure you’ll be doing it even more reading the book!

    Belle, after reading your hilarious posts about A Little Princess, I can so see you liking LW&M!

    Nic, Thank you! That one did seem very dark. Much too dark for me, but I love her lighter books.

    Kelsa, I had a blast reading it :) I can so see you liking it if you like commenting on movies! I like both covers, but I think the ARC one captures the humor better. The other one looks a little too sweet.

    Tina, Thank you! Haha, I haven’t read it in full and I’ve only seen one movie version. But, it is THE movie version, at least I think so :P

    Kelsey, I think it was your mailbox that I saw ARCs were finally available! I hope you like it. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your review.

    Gina, Aw, I will laugh but I will also empathize. I haven’t been able to finish reading Little Women either. I’ve tried so many times! I loved The Boxcar Children though :P Try watching the movie version I mentioned. I think it would enhance the reading experience, and maybe having a snarky teen commenting on everything will help avert your headache :)

    Book Geek, LOST IN AUSTEN!! I loved that movie :) LW&M was very much like that movie.

    Logan, That movie is where my love of Christian Bale started. Mmm, best Laurie ever :)

  19. Sierra, Yay! I hope you like it! I can definitely see you liking her other books that I mentioned.

    Jen, Haha, oh good, at least I’m not alone. I say I love Little Women and then it really undermines my point when I admit that I haven’t finished the book :P I think you’ll like the ending and the snark :)

    Melissa, Thank you! Just be prepared for lots of snark and good-natured poking fun at the original.

    Heather, I hope you love it! I’m always afraid to participate in blog tours in case I don’t like the book :P

    A Canadian Girl, The movie will prepare you perfectly and it’s such a good movie in its own right. I hope you like both the book and movie! :)

    Nina, Oh please do read one of her books! This was fun and as long as you’re cool with poking fun at the original, then I think you’ll like it. Especially if you’re not 100% in love with the original ending.

    Rummanah, Hi! Thank you for following! I hope you enjoy your time here :) Given what you said, I think you’re definitely going to like this book!

  20. I love Little Women (great comfort read) and wouldn't mind the friendly digs so this would be perfect for me! I really need to set myself a challenge to read this author's books but I'm not allowed to buy any more till I finish the unread ones I already have :( Thanks for the persuasive review :D

  21. So, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I really know nothing about Little Women, the book, the movie, even the plot really. Someday I'll read it (because I can't see myself just watching the movie) and maybe then I'll get around to reading this book (because it does sound quite good from your review). But until then, this book will have to be put on the back-burner, unfortunately.

  22. I am DYING to read this one. So fantastic to hear you enjoyed it! I can't wait!

  23. Stephanie, I hope you like it! Haha, I also hope you’re better at keeping to those book buying bans than I am. I think you’ll like Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

    Aylee, Aw, you should go rent the movie! Or read the book (which is probably what I should be encouraging).

    Brittany, Hope you like it!

  24. This sounds like a great book but only squee-worthy if I actually have read Little Women. I've seen the film adaptation a long time ago but of course that's nothing like reading the book. :P

  25. Cialina, You should be just fine. I've only read parts of the book, and those a long time ago. I based all my memories of the original off of the movie.


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