Tag Archives: Little Women

#TheGreatAmericanRead “What we do for Love” Episode #4, #PBS

You can guess by the title of this current episode, that we’re talking about books where love features heavily. And it’s not just romantic love either. There’s love of family, love of country. There’s even love of self.

The books listed fall into different categories of love, starting with love that’s not exactly of the normal definition.

  1. Destructive love. In these books, we see what the protagonist thinks of as love, can be something else entirely. From obsession to unrequited to leaving the love of your life,  these loves fall on the darker side of the emotion. Americanah, Looking for Alaska and the Great Gatsby are part of this category.  Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t think Jay Gatsby is just a little left of stable, mentally? He is so obsessed with Daisy he remakes himself into something he isn’t just so he will fit into the man-mold he thinks she wants. Ultimately and too late, he realizes how destructive that love is. Unrequited love is the major theme in Look For Alaska, John Green’s Debut YA Novel. The story concerns Miles and a classmate of his, the out-of-his-league Alaska. Americanah is told from a Nigerian immigrant’s perspective and deals with coming to a new country and leaving a first love behind.
3. My favorite category, of course, is romantic love and the two books listed, Pride and Prejudice and Gone With The Wind are my two favorite books of all time, as anyone who is a frequent reader of my blog knows! Pride and Prejudice set the tone and example for what a romantic novel should be almost 3oo years ago. Jane Austen quite literally redefined the blueprint of the romance book. And, like Little Women, the protagonist is a second sister. Independent, outspoken, opinionated Elizabeth Bennet is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s foil on every level. Or is she? That’s the crux of their story. This may be the first enemies to lovers trope written and it is still at the top of the heap.
Mitchell’s GWTW tells the tale of another independent and opinionated woman, Scarlett O’Hara, but where most people who have seen the movie think Rhett Butler was the love of her life, they’d be wrong. Which is why, in my mind, the book is always better than the movie. Hands down. Scarlett’s one real, enduring love is her home, Tara. Keeping it is the motivator in almost all of her actions and thoughts, something the book details way better than the movie ever could.
4. The last “Love” category explored was the Enduring love story, or the love that lasts eternally. Some of the choices here were a bit odd to me, but when delved into, do deserve to be here. They include Call of the Wild, The Notebook and (another fav of mine) Anne of Green Gables.
Call Of the Wild tells -at its  basic level – the story of a man and his dog – and how that love they have for each other endures even when one of them dies. While I am not a Nicholas Sparks fan, the Notebook does a good job of showing how, when you love someone, you will go through all the trials and fires of life with them and still love them even when they don’t remember who you are.
Anne Shirley is another of those protagonists who just settles into you heart from the first page. By her shear love of life, living, and people, she turns a sour, dour spinster who doesn’t even want Anne, into a woman who is devoted to Anne entirely. This book covers all aspects of love, from family to friendship, to romantic love, and enduring love. It’s a great book!!
 
This documentary series has been so wonderful to watch and learn from, I sincerely hope you catch it when it’s aired or watch it on demand or on-line later. Since it’s so much easier for me to speak than write – go figure!- I’ll be giving a facebook Live talk this afternoon on my FB author page at 2pm EST of you want to join in and discuss some of these books. Here’s my link: Peggy Jaeger, Author Hope you can join me.
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Mothers…we all have them

Today is one of those days my husband refers to  Hallmark-made days. A day – he feels – greeting card companies institute and promote. I think I read somewhere  there are more cards sent on this day than on Valentine’s day and Easter combined.

And I believe it because we all have, or have had at some time, a Mother. We wouldn’t be here right now if we didn’t.

Since I am such an avid reader, Mother’s day got me to thinking about all the famous and infamous mothers in literature. There have been a bunch of memorable ones and like I’ve said before, Google and Wikipedia have lists for everything, so did a search for the Best Mothers in fiction.

Here are some of the tops names. See how many you recognize and if you agree with their inclusion in the list.

It’s interesting, I think, to note that two of the moms are defacto moms, not biological ones. Mammy, in GWTW, is Scarlett O’Hara’s nanny, and is African American to Scarlett’s lilly white, but she is closer to her than any mother who gave birth to her. Mammy is the sound of  Scarlett’s  conscious on most decisions, and cares for her charge more than Scarlett’s mother ever did. Mame Dennis is Patrick’s Aunt, but she raises him after he is orphaned and brings him to maturity, offering him a world of excitement and adventure to squash his staid upbringing. She instills in him a sense of fun and whimsy he’s never had before, all the while showing him unconditional love and devotion.

I also find it interesting that two of the moms – Mammy and Marmee – are raising their “children” during times of war and national strife and economic downfall. They valiantly attempt to protect their young from all the horrors of war – famine, poverty, loss – and help their children grow into productive adults. Ma Ingalls has to face uprooting her family to travel west for a better life. She copes with floods, drought, sickness, blindness, famine and poverty within her family, yet always manages to make their lives a little bit better through her kind actions and thoughtful heart.

Mrs. Lancaster must deal with every parent’s nightmare : a sick and potentially dying child with cancer. She wants nothing more than to make her daughter’s life light and happy despite the tragic diagnosis, and through her caring and loving ways, she epitomizes the intrinsic and internal strength of will every mother possesses.

That’s what I come away with from having read all these books: the strength of the “mothers.” Be it internal, external, religious or spiritual, all these women have strength, Strength of character, of morality, emotional strength, fortitude, and determination. There is not one mother on this list who wouldn’t fight to the death to protect their young. The instinctual force of maternal protection inhabits every one of them.

Today, think about your Mom, or the person you consider Mom. In a way it’s a little sad we have to earmark one day a year  to remember her – we should be paying her homage everyday, and in the perfect world without stressors and strife, we would. But today, call her and tell her what she means to you. Sending a card or flowers is nice, but in reality, the thing your mom wants most is the gift of your time – of you!

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