Monday, 22 July 2019

Review: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy by Rey Teruero & Bre Indigo

Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women gets modern day makeover in Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy a beautifully illustrated graphic novel, intended for middle grade readers. In this version, the March sisters are living in the big city. Dad's away serving in the military overseas, while their mother is juggling full time work and looking after their four daughters. In a contemporary twist, the Marches are a blended family--Meg is their father's daughter from his first marriage, while Jo is their mother's daughter from an earlier relationship. The pair married when both girls were little, their father adopted Jo and then younger sisters Beth and Amy came along. Oh, and did I mention that this family also happens to be bi-racial?

The story weaves events from the original and gives them an contemporary twist--for example Beth is struck down with Leukaemia rather than Scarlett Fever, while Amy's experiences of bullying at school take a slightly different turn. There are also some contemporary twists in store for Meg and Jo. In this version, Meg's destiny isn't to be a wife or mother, though it takes her a while to see that, while Jo, well I'll be interested to see what readers make of that. Certainly the plot of Little Women gives the authors all the source material they need to make that twist believable. And perhaps even more so when readers meet the character that replaces the formidable Aunt March.

While this book has a strong modern feel, and a strong feminist message at its heart, the story is let down by the fact that this is pushed at the reader at nearly every opportunity, to the point where it feels like it is trying a little too hard to offer readers what is otherwise a sound message about girl power and self belief. 

Recommended to fans of the original, and girls everywhere who need a bit of girl power and a bit of inspiration.