Block Twenty-Three: Girl’s Joy

Girl's Joy Barbara Brackman Fight For Womens Rights Quilt Grandmother's ChoiceI need to quickly upload my photo and add a very brief narrative of the block which is also called Maiden’s Delight.

I suppose in the dumbing down process of the English language, maiden translates to girl, and delight equals joy – that seems simple enough.

But… once upon a time, I remember sitting in my truck, absolutely dumbstruck, while listening to an NPR program – unbelievable!  Somebody had come up with the bright idea to re-write Little Women by Louisa May Alcott in what they decided was a more user-friendly language.  A language that young girls of the late 20th century could better understand.

My guess is that there were too many words of more than one syllable for this person’s liking.

There was one stand-out idea for reworking Alcott’s book – scrapping Beth’s death scene and starting again from scratch – because what young girl of today would understand the allegory of Beth’s little wild birds flying away?  (I think it was at this point that my jaw dropped.)  Seriously?

I did a kind of hit-and-run internet search and couldn’t find anything except a few Cliff’s Notes versions, so hopefully the author couldn’t find a publishing house to pick up the book.  Either that or the book was published, but it so badly tanked sales-wise, that we’ve been able to erase it from our collective memories.


I’ll leave you with those semi-snarky thoughts because I’m bound for the barn.  I’m needing a shovel and a few tools – there’s a wee issue with a leaky frost-free hydrant that needs sorting out.  Oh wait, I was going to tell you why today’s block related to my ramblings on Little Women.

Did you know that Louisa May Alcott was a strong supporter of women’s suffrage, and that she was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts?

And lastly – or finally, depending on your point of view – if you’ve not read Little Women, no matter your age, do yourself a favor and read it.  Do your daughters a favor as well, give them your copy when you’re finished – or better yet, read it together.

Headshot of Louisa May Alcott

Here are some Louisa May Alcott sources you might find interesting:

Encyclopaedia Britannica


Orchard House

Obituary (from the New York Times)

7 thoughts on “Block Twenty-Three: Girl’s Joy

  1. Katell, Quilteuse Forever

    What a woman this Louisa May Alcott! She had glorious educators such as Thoreau, Emerson or Hawthorne, as I have just read on Wikipedia thanks to you.

    Little Women said nothing to me until I discovered that it is in French “Les quatre filles du docteur March”, which enchanted my childhood. I remember I loved Jo, of course!!
    I will soon read it again, after “The last Runaway” is over. I read slowly in English…


    1. Jo Post author

      The Four Girls of Dr. March – I like your title, too! Jo was the character I think we all secretly wanted to be, I know that I did. For me, the other sisters paled in comparison. Jo had a dynamic personality – honest, outspoken and creative, eager to learn and experience new things, and although it wasn’t discussed openly, Jo was certainly reluctant to settle into the life that was expected of her. Why hurry into the circumscribed role of marriage, children and playing second fiddle to a husband when there was an entire world waiting?

      Alcott’s liberal education was certainly exposed in this book, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it still endures today (unchanged and in its original form). Have a wonderful day, Katell!


  2. candy

    I can’t wrap my brain around a Valley Girl version of Little Women! 😉 We truly have some issues in our education system (and society in general) when we dumb everything down instead of smartening people up! Anyway, I’m going to buy a copy of Little Women for my granddaughter. I’ll probably reread it before she gets it! I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed that book. Thanks for the reminder.


    1. Jo Post author

      Dang! I wish that I’d thought of calling it a Valley Girl version – oh, I could have had a lot of snarky fun with that one (…and Beth said, “For real? like… the old dude, just like, gave me the piano? For sure!” – ha!)


    1. Jo Post author

      Thank you, Cay, for stopping by – I’m really glad you found something of interest, and hopefully you got a chuckle out of it as well!


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