This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Kat Black's latest novel, Melting Ms Frost, was published as an ebook in November, and was released as a paperback earlier this year. She tells us how Little Women taught her about the power of fiction.
The book I’m putting forward as the one which has had the greatest influence on me is Little Women, the classic coming of age story by Louisa May Alcott.
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I was given a beautiful illustrated copy of the book when I was young – which made it a treasure in itself – but it was the instant and deep connection I felt to the principle character that gave direction to, rather than changed, my life. More than anything – even more than I wanted a pony or to marry Derek from the Bay City Rollers – my pre-adolescent self wanted to be Jo March.
To an awkward youth, what wasn’t there to like about a heroine that was flawed, clumsy, sometimes difficult, but ultimately still portrayed as charming and loveable? From her headstrong independence and her passion for reading and writing, to her hot temper, the character of Jo resonated with me so profoundly that I felt I wanted to crawl into the pages to join her, curled up in the attic with a good book.While it was undoubtedly the connection to the dreamer and the tomboy I felt at such a young age, I think what I grew to admire most about Jo (and aspired to myself) as I matured into a teenager, was her refusal to be moulded into something she was not. She pushed against the constraints that nineteenth century society placed on women and made tough decisions in order to be true to herself. She valued integrity and love over wealth and comfort and compromise.
The story of Little Women was really my first taste of just how powerful the magic of fiction can be. It helped my developing emotions explore themes of relationships and loss, of self worth and romance. But by far the best thing that book did was introduce me to myself, through the mirror of Jo March.