Advice from Little Women Characters
[All movie still from Little Women 1994, Columbia Pictures]
Happy almost birthday, Louisa May Alcott! If she were alive today, this beloved American novelist would be turning 184: she was born on November 29th in 1832. In honor of her special day, and in honor of the way that Little Women sometimes feels like a book-shaped piece of advice about how to live the life that makes you happy, we’ve rounded up some advice the characters from Little Women might give today.
Warning, though: the characters aren’t always perfect, so you might want to take some of their advice with a grain of salt. Or a teaspoon.
Look, just take the whole canister of salt.
Every day should be a good hair day, so always invest in a good curling iron! Don’t waste your money on cheap tools – it is worth it to have Instagram-worthy hair. But a word of caution: be careful when curling. You might accidentally burn your gorgeous locks, and this could potentially ruin your good time at the dance (!!!). Also, never discount your friend’s tutor. He could become your next husband. Don’t be surprised, however, if your parents tell you that you will have to wait to get married because you are too young.
Don’t worry, though. This will give you time to perfect your hairstyling skills.
Rule number one: do not leave your manuscripts lying around if you have gotten in a huge fight with one of your younger sisters, because she might throw it in the fire. To protect against losing it completely, also be sure to keep extra copies of your work – flash drives were invited for a reason!
As for your love life, don’t be surprised if people get upset when you won’t marry your best friend (seriously, why are people always so up in that part of your personal business?). Folks aren’t too pleased when the couple they ship doesn’t end up together.
This will be exacerbated if you marry an older man who comes off as condescending and doesn’t seem to support your writing. But hey, if you can make that relationship work, then go for it, girl.
Be careful when you are around sick people. Use a lot of hand sanitizer. And face masks. And sing all of Happy Birthday to yourself when you’re washing your hands to get all the germs off.
Also, don’t be afraid to break out of the quiet sister mold. You tend to be forgotten when you are just the “sweet one.” Nobody will want to be you for Halloween.
If you are on bedrest, sewing is great for passing the time.
If you want to find love, forget wherever you are right now and go to Europe! Sure, you might end up marrying your older sister’s best friend, but nobody will mind. The whole family will be really happy for you, even if it is a rebound relationship for him.
Be really careful when you are ice skating, especially if you are going with people who are mad at you. You will probably fall through the ice because they won’t warn you about the thin patches. Still, there is the side benefit of them forgiving you, even though you burned their manuscript. (Oh, and also? Don’t burn people’s manuscripts. You will regret that.)
If you are stuck living with your grandfather, it is going to get lonely. Be sure to hang out with the girls next door. You can participate in their plays and go on adventures with them. Just try not to get too close to one of the girls if she’s particularly headstrong. She will friendzone you, and you will have no hope of having a romantic relationship with her. Ever.
Still, even if that happens, have a backup plan. You can always date one of her younger sisters and become part of the family that way! Questionable tactic? Yes. Does it work? You betcha.
Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at www.thebookishfox.com.