How do you respond when someone asks you “why do you like this?” How do you explain your fandom? I like that I grew up with these authors. I like that I could revisit the characters and it felt like talking to a friend you haven’t seen but slip right back into your old conversations. I like that I could talk about the books to my mom, my friends. They were attainable themes that stood the test of time and almost became a rite of passage during childhood. They also were perfect platforms for your imagination. I remember many, many summers with my best friend Patti playing Anne or Laura or Jo in the forest behind the duck pond.
The last few years have only strengthen my admiration for the authors as I began researching their biographies and the history around their chapters. These characters sprang from hardship, they were isolated, they overcame but what they could control they did. They could be optimistic, intelligent, their work ethic could push them through difficult years. Laura loses a brother, her sister goes blind, her family continues to move West as they lose crop after crop but she keeps looking to the future. Her family is so supportive and loving, something she doesn’t take for granted. Anne loses both her parents and her childhood is spend working for cruel families or isolated in an orphanage. Given a chance to thrive she becomes a top student, a teacher. Where so much modern literature has girls chasing after boys Anne shows girls the success that learning and kindness bring. And what tomboy didn’t love Jo March? Her passion and talent for writing showed what hard work could accomplish. The bonds she shared with her sisters showed what friendship should be: loving support.
So why do I love these authors? Because they taught lessons at that tender age when the world begins to influence you more than your parents. How lucky that we have literature from Laura, Maud and Lousia that taught me intelligent, strong, caring women finish first.