Chapter V. Being Neighborly

A lovely post about Jo’s first meetup with Laurie, and reminder to us all to be good neighbors.

Little Women 150

By Sarah Wadsworth

Looking through the clear plastic dust jacket of my childhood copy of Little Women is like peering through a window: behind the transparent “pane,” Marmee plays the piano while the girls joyously sing. Inside, a bookplate signed in my neatest thirteen-year-old hand takes me from the Marches’ parlor to my own family home. I turn the page and an inscription—”December 1976 / Merry Christmas Sarah”—calls to mind the kindness of the giver to a book-loving girl growing up, like Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, in a home defined by a father’s absence as well as a mother’s presence.

In “Being Neighborly,” kindness is key. The adjective “kind” appears four times, “kindly” three times, and “kinder” once. Kindness is made manifest in acts of thoughtful generosity, each one begetting reciprocal acts in kind. Eager to make friends, Jo arrives at the Laurence house bearing three kittens from Beth…

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