Powerful Adaptation

filled star filled star filled star filled star star unfilled
jjb119 Avatar


Adaptations are tricky; at their best, they retain the spirit of the original, while also adding something new, ideally something that makes the reader look at the original in a new light.

By this standard, SO MANY BEGINNINGS is wholly successful. My favorite thing about Little Women is the sense of warmth I get from the strength of the March family's relationships with each other, and that feeling of love is very much present here.

Setting the story in the Freedpeople's Colony of Roanoke Island, with the Marches as a Black family, taught me something new about the world (like other readers, I'd never learned about these colonies) and gave me a fresh perspective on Little Women. For one, though the girls lament their poverty in the original book, this story highlights their real and significant privileges. And the smaller changes Morrow makes—for example, Jo is now primarily a nonfiction writer striving to garner support for their colony—made me think more deeply about the characters of the four girls, beyond their surface-level occupations.

I did want more from Part II of the novel. The difficulty of adapting the whole of Little Women, originally published as two separate books, is enormous, but here Part II comprises only 25% of the novel, and I wanted to see more of the four women to better understand the very interesting choices the author makes with the end of the story. But I did really appreciate those choices and enjoyed the time I got to spend with these familiar, yet unique, characters.