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LITTLE WOMEN AND WEREWOLVES February 14, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in Uncategorized.
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     The Lycan Librarian will get back to short stories, but any mention of wolves or werewolves fully distracts her, and so we will veer off in a new direction this Valentine’s Day.
     When my agent first suggested I try writing a mash-up, being a librarian, I gasped aloud and said I wouldn’t do such a thing to a book or an author. He asked I just continue to think about it, and the idea, once planted, held firm. I began to research classic books and their authors, and discovered that Alcott had a taste for more “lurid” writing, and did not want to write a sweet book for young girls, but penned LITTLE WOMEN upon the suggestion of an editor. She did not like the book, and neither did the editor, but his young niece loved it, and the rest of the story is literary history.
     I felt Louisa May Alcott would not only mind, but would fully enjoy seeing werewolves added to her novel, and the more I wrote LITTLE WOMEN AND WEREWOLVES, the more I felt guided by her. I have never before had such an exciting and strange writing experience. In return for her guidance, I kept the book true to her plot, her characters, and, most importantly, her themes. The book was finished and in the editing process when Harriet Reisen’s fascinating biography, LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, THE WOMAN BEHIND LITTLE WOMEN, came out. As I read the book, coincidences kept jumping out at me: I am now the age at which Louisa May Alcott died, we both had our Little Women books accepted before they were finished and while submitting other works for publication, both of our mothers were “angry every day” about their situations, we were both locked in incessant power struggles with our fathers, we were both born with a “gift for ornamentation”, our quick tongues often got us in trouble, we both held a taste for the lurid, and we both “experimented to be independent” in Boston.

     One fact in Reisen’s book jumped out at me with particular force. Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father, was a staunch vegetarian who forbade his family to eat meat and preached that “without a flesh diet, there would be no blood-shedding war”, and that a vegetable diet provided sweet dreams, and a meat diet, nightmares. The family obliged Bronson, as they did in all things, but once Louisa May’s writing put her in a position of financial comfort, she ate a great deal of meat. It is quite fitting, then, that carnivorous werewolves have been added to the very novel which put her in the position to eat all the meat she craved.

     Ms. Reisen has also written a documentary about Louisa May Alcott, which has the same title as the book. Produced by Nancy Porter, it is a fascinating work, part of the PBS American Masters Series, and well worth watching. I simply cannot say enough about the  utterly fantastic job Elizabeth Marvel does in portraying Alcott. If you are a Louisa May Alcott fan, you owe it to yourself to read both above-mentioned books, and treat yourself to a viewing of the documentary.

     Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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