By Colleen Turner
Ahhhhâ€¦I am home!Â Reading to me has always been an experience that transports me to another place and time, the one that can only exist in the dusty-smelling, page-fluttering world in my fingertips.Â With each new adventure I long to skip ahead, see what will await me just around the cornerâ€¦but I resist!Â Why spoil the excitement that will only be that much sweeter when it finally unfurls at the end of the road?
My favorite land to visit above all others lies within the pages of Little Women.Â While I, personally, have no sisters to speak of I do when I open this book.Â I find myself sitting alongside Joe, Meg, Beth and Amy in their attic as they rehearse a new play, laughing along as each takes their part.Â I am hiding just behind them while Joe inevitably breaks poor Laurieâ€™s heart, tears spilling from my eyes, impeding my view of them. Â And, of course, I weep and mourn along with my literary family, kneeling by Bethâ€™s bed (how will my tears ever dry on her blanket) as she passes.
I first discovered Little Women in my early teen years and am amazed at how my views of the book and its topics change as I age and mature along with the characters.Â As a young woman reading the story I was entranced by the joy the sisterâ€™s brought to each other and longed for a sister of my own.Â I didnâ€™t read into the underlying storylines of war, self exploration, love that reached past oneâ€™s familial bounds. As I grew, always coming back to this favorite world every few years, I delved deeper into the fear this family felt as their father was away at war.Â We all new, us sisters, that horrible things were lurking just around the bend and that father was there, risking his life, for us all.Â As I fell in love and, as we all do, had my heart broken, I was able to feel Laurieâ€™s heartbreak as well and Joeâ€™s pain for hurting Laurie, her trusted friend.Â While writing my own papers for college I could actually feel the joy and excitement, always mixed with a tinge of apprehension and self doubt, as Joe made her way to New York and learned to grow on her own, away from (insert name of home).
In the end, whenever I again have read that last page and, reluctantly, closed the book and put it back on my shelf, the story stays with me.Â What would my sisters do in this situation?Â Well, letâ€™s ask!Â I guess I will have to open that book up again after all.