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By Joseph R on 10-04-09
Poor Jo, Couldn't Even Lose Her Heart Decorously
This is a fun book packed with all the trials and tribulations of newlyweds. The narrator C. M. Hebert made it a pleasure. In one instant, poor Meg had struggled all day trying to put up some jelly. Well the darn stuff wouldn't jell. She burnt it; she spilled it; she boiled it over; everything went wrong. The house was a wreck, the kitchen would have qualified for federal disaster aid; nothing was cooked for dinner. Then, would you know it, that husband of hers brought home an unexpected guest for dinner. Yes, it was funny in succeeding years but right then, not so much.
That Mrs. March was a wise woman, no one would dispute. It turns out that she was an even wiser mother-in-law. She kept aloof from her married daughters' troubles unless asked and then horrors of horrors didn't always take the daughter's side; didn't always give the advice the daughter wanted to hear. Oh, if there were more in-laws of her stamp today, there would be fewer divorces. Momma's little Johnny and little Mary all grown up and married aren't always right.
In many ways, this is a how-to book written lightly and humorously but tackling real issues facing couples that are as real today as then. Among the many fine suggestions are that spouses should take care themselves; to recharge themselves, give themselves a break. Take care of the children of course, but not to the exclusion of taking care of one's spouse's needs. Balance is the advice. Your spouse is your partner: 1880 advice which doesn't seem dated to my 2009 ears.
Oh yes, Jo falls in love; more like stumbles in it; plops in it; does an indecorous belly busting flop. It was a delicious romance that only Jo March could have. Like Jane Austen wrote of Marianne Dashwood, "She could never love by halves." Neither could Jo.
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