A Near-Perfect Reimagining

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This was going to be one of the easiest five stars of my life until Part II.
SO MANY BEGINNINGS takes the bones of LITTLE WOMEN and elevates it in a way that I haven't seen in a retelling before, although this is more of a character retelling than a plot retelling. Morrow seamlessly avoid the biggest pitfall in LITTLE WOMEN retellings, which have a tendency to flanderize the sisters into "boring", "feisty", "nice", and "annoying", by making each of the sisters incredibly complex. And the way that the trauma from the March family's prior enslavement and how it still impacts them? SO WELL DONE! My favorite would have to be Amy (who I loathed when I first read the baby's first classics version in middle school but tends to be my favorite in retellings) but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved Meg in this--she's the hardest sister to adapt for retellings since her arc is about wanting to get married. Morrow handles her with care and made me love her. I also loved Jo, but that was to be expected. Beth...is still the hardest sister to sell me on in retellings that don't include the manuscript scene but I really loved her too! The way that her illness was handled was done so well; same with the relationship between Jo and Lorie.
Unfortunately the hasty time jump and super short length of Part II made me knock this down from a 5+ favorites rating to a plain 5 stars--it felt like an extended epilogue and took up much, much less of the book than Part I, separating the sisters but not allowing us enough time to see how they've really changed in the three years. This book could have been a hundred pages longer and covered that time in-depth and it would have fixed all of my issues with this book.
If you like Little Women, read this. If you didn't like Little Women, read this. If you haven't read Little Women, read this. Part I is a masterpiece, Part II still good but not as good as it could have been, and the book as a whole is phenomenal.