Gerwig cared more about the actors than the book itself

Christina: Hi. I finally get to talk to you, not person to person, but still back and forth.

Niina: Great to talk to you too! Would you like to start by introducing yourself and what is your relationship with Little Women?

Christina: Hello. My name is Christina and if you are on Tumblr you probably know my blog, JoandFriedrich. It was started because I just love them so much and though they did not get the recognition they deserved. I have been a fan of little women for the longest time. First time I read it was when I was between the ages of 10 to 12. That was some around the age I started to read it. Been a fan ever since.

Niina: That´s amazing.

Christina: It was a great illustrated copy of it. It was the abridged version and then over the years I finally get to hold the copy that wasn't an unabridged version. It was a journey to get to where I am right now. Almost full-blown obsession.

Niina: I think one of the reasons why I actually started my podcast was because of your blog. When I was younger I was obsessed with Little Women. I was in LiveJournal and there was an Amy and Laurie group and Jo and Friedrich group and I was lurking there. They slowly vanished and I think your blog was the only place where I could find other people that were interested in the canon. Everywhere else it was just about the films or very strange views about Little Women that I did not agree with. I am very grateful for your blog and I think many others are too.

Christina: That is so great to hear. I mean, I felt just like you. Either most of the people that were around me didn´t know or care about Little Women and those who did only knew the movie versions. Many of them are great. I have many thoughts about the most recent one. Most of the time most film versions seem to put more focus on Jo and Laurie and I was like. No! I remember when reading the book, it almost felt incestuous to me because I always identified with Jo and I have a brother and so much of Jo´s and Laurie´s relationship while they were growing up felt very much like how I and my brother would interact. These very goofy, ridiculous antics to the point where I would probably do some of the more “boy-stuff”. So when people were like “oh Jo and Laurie” I was like “eew” That´s No. I can´t, like not at all. That for me was just too weird. I can´t even fathom the thought of Jo and Laurie at all.

Niina: That is very true and then there is a quote from Louisa May Alcott where she writes that she wrote Laurie to be the brother that she never had.

Christina: Yeah. It is very shocking that most people don´t pick up on that. Really how incredibly brother and sister their relationship is like and I know that some people are like “Oh I love the idea of childhood friends to lovers but I´m like not them. Not them at all.

Niina: I think with Laurie there are lots of things that people just ignore about his character and we've talked about this before, like the cat-fishing and the proposal and him threatening to hurt himself if she says no and all these very disturbing red flags are there, but they are not in the films and most people don´t know about them.

Christina: It´s amazing just how the media will change your perception of what a story is because I remember, I don´t know if you have seen it, I don´t remember if it was their own post or someone replying to a post they were like “after watching the 2019 film movie maybe I will go and read the book” and they were not just surprised but whole-blown shocked to see that there was no, not even a hint of Jo and Laurie in it and they were like in away disappointed and kind of upset that Gerwig would do that when the book never did. It is amazing how media/movies and what not will change how we perceive how the story should be because that is not how it went at all.

Niina: Somebody commented quite recently that Gerwig cared more about the actors than the book itself and I think that might be true. I think it´s also a problem in the 1994 film and maybe in the 1949 film. She is just continuing this long tradition of romanticizing Laurie. There are no excuses for that.

Christina: No, not at all. I think in general Laurie is a good character but it takes him a while to get to be a great character. They all got flaws. He seems to be the one that really stands out to the point of “okay that´s a very problematic dude”. During this day and age if you did at least one of those things that Laurie did a girl would be like “just dump him, girl, don´t even bother” you know, but like you said they don´t put focus on that and I think it is a shame because when he does propose to Jo, when they portray his heartbreak it is like “oh poor Laurie” but it´s not really “poor Laurie” because you've had so many signs leading up to Jo being like I can´t or I won't because you clearly didn't catch the hint before. I've seen some people who have said “Jo was so mean to him during the proposal” not for nothing but wouldn't you be too after all those years of him trying to flirt with you and trying to kiss you and whatever else and you try to say in the nicest way “no” and you just get so fed up with it. I don´t blame her at all.

Niina: In the book, the reason why Jo goes to New York is that Laurie is harassing her.

Christina: Yes and that is what I was going to say that I hate when the movies do the proposal before New York because it seems like she is just trying to walk away from heartbreak “Oh I can´t watch poor Laurie be sad” no she left before the proposal happened because she wants to get away from him, so that way he can be like, just take time, maybe after some time away you can figure that you don´t really care for me as much as you think you do and that´s why when she comes back she is like “you know what, I´m done”.

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Illustrator, writer and folklorist. Likes cats, tea and period dramas. A host of the Little Women Podcast.

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Niina's Fairychamber

Illustrator, writer and folklorist. Likes cats, tea and period dramas. A host of the Little Women Podcast.