Apr 25 2011 5:00pm

Team Laurie or Team Bhaer?: Taking Sides in the Little Women Triangle

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott“Marriage is an Excellent Thing, After All”

Are you a Laurian or a Bhaerite?

You know what I’m talking about, and surely you were nodding your head—or possibly shaking it vigorously—before you even reached the end of that sentence. The happy conclusion of Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, in which unorthodox heroine Josephine March and her new husband, courtly German Friedrich Bhaer, anticipate a joyful future together, has always been somewhat controversial. You see, Friedrich didn’t get there first. He had a rival. And many readers, even today, like the rival better.

I speak, of course, of Jo’s best friend, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence. He falls violently in love with her; she rejects him; he eventually marries her younger sister, prissy Amy. Generations of readers have cried bitter tears as Jo shoots down adventurous, passionate Laurie and subsequently groaned in disbelief when she falls for the older and stodgier Bhaer. Other readers have cited Bhaer’s steadiness, intelligence, generosity, and goodness of heart as evidence that Jo absolutely, totally, and without question made the right choice. Like I said: controversial.

Today, we resolve to address this hotly debated controversy in the best and only way: We’re going to put it to you, the readers. Who should be the captain of Josephine March’s heart?

They Do Make a Pretty PictureFirst, we have the boy next door himself:

Assets: Young and attractive, Laurie loves Jo with his whole heart. They are similar and taste and temperament. Her family loves him, and his family loves her. And—not to put too fine a point on it—he’s filthy rich. That’s never a bad thing, right?

Liabilities: Laurie is strong-willed, quick-tempered, and impetuous. And stubborn. And emotional:

I’ve loved you ever since I’ve known you, Jo—couldn’t help it, you’ve been so good to me. I’ve tried to show it, but you wouldn’t let me. Now I’m going to make you hear, and give me an answer, for I can’t go on so any longer.

Oh, my. He’s a lot like Jo, in other words. Imagine the two of them living together; the sex would be stratospheric but the fights would be epic. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

But wait! What does Jo have to say? All in all, Jo takes a rather clear-eyed view of the matter:

You’ll get over this after a while, and find some lovely, accomplished girl who will adore you, and make a fine mistress for your fine house. I shouldn’t. I’m homely and awkward and odd and old, and you’d be ashamed of me, and we should quarrel–we can’t help it even now, you see—and I shouldn’t like elegant society and you would, and you’d hate my scribbling and I couldn’t get on without it, and we should be unhappy, and wish we hadn’t done it, and everything would be horrid!

Christian Bale in Little WomenOf note: In the 1994 film version of Little Women, Laurie was portrayed by a young Christian Bale, and who among us would have within her the strength of character to deny a young Christian Bale, well, anything?

But look out! Here comes the competition:

Assets: Herr Professor Friedrich “Fritz” Bhaer is an all-around good egg. He’s more stable in temperament than the volatile Laurie, and if he does convince Jo to stop publishing lurid melodramas after the fashion of one Mrs. S.L.A.N.G. Northbury, he also supports her as she finds her voice as a writer of more wholesome and ultimately (to her, at least) more satisfying fare.

Liabilities: At thirty-nine, Bhaer is (let us say) past the early vigor of youth, especially for the time period in question. One person’s “stable” and “solid” is another person’s “dull.” And as for the writing...imagine if J.R. Ward’s husband had sweetly convinced J.R. that creating vampire erotica was not the best use of her natural-born talents. Where would the world be then?

But surely the lady has an opinion about all this: Jo is actually a bit mortified by the whole situation:

Jo couldn’t even lose her heart in a decorous manner, but sternly tried to quench her feelings, and failing to do so, led a somewhat agitated life. She was mortally afraid of being laughed at for surrendering, after her many and vehement declarations of independence.

…And how does that whole “quenching her feelings” thing work out for her?

…[H]e asked in a tone that meant a great deal: “Heart’s dearest, why do you cry?”

Now if Jo had not been new to this sort of thing she would have said she wasn’t crying, had a cold in her head, or told any other feminine fib proper to the occasion; instead of which that undignified creature answered, with an irrepressible sob, “Because you are going away.”

“Ach, mein Gott, that is so good!” cried Mr. Bhaer… “Jo, I haf nothing but much love to gif you. I came to see if you could care for it, and I waited to be sure that I was something more than a friend. Am I? Can you make a little place in your heart for old Fritz?”

Jo’s brief but heartfelt response—“Oh yes!”—pretty much tells you where she, at least, stands on the interesting question of Laurie vs. Bhaer.

Gabriel Byrne in Little WomenOf note: Gabriel Byrne (mmm, Gabriel Byrne) played Bhaer in the 1994 film version. But did you know that William Shatner (Eek! William Shatner) also portrayed Bhaer, in a 1978 miniseries? It’s also worth mentioning that even Alcott didn’t much care for the conclusion, having preferred to keep Jo a busy, happy spinster, and only marrying her off in response to pressure from her publisher and her fans.

To sum things up: This is, I think we can all agree, an excellent problem for a woman to have. In one corner: Youth, passion, privilege, and similarity of temperament. In the other: wisdom, maturity, stability, and similarity of intellect. It would have been nice if Alcott had rolled both men into one irresistible package, but that’s not the world we live in and at the end of the day THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.

So have at it, Laurians and Bhaerites: Did Jo March make the right choice? Which suitor should she have married?


Kate Nagy is editor at large of Geek Speak Magazine.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Cheryl Sneed
1. CherylSneed
Little Women was my favorite book growing up, I can't tell you how many times I've reread it. As a young girl, I was for Laurie all the way. I couldn't understand how she could resist him, and that scene where he kissed her after sending for Marmee when Beth was so sick made me all goosepimply.

Somewhere along the line, as I grew up and continued to read the book, I came to really appreciate Prof. Bhear and to find the "under the umbrella" scene very sweet and romantic. I now think she made the right choice.

Now, if we're talking movie versions, Byrne over Bale all the way. But the first version I saw was the Katherine Hepburn one and there the choice was between Peter Lawford and some guy who looked like Franz Schubert. A no-brainer, that one!
Janet Webb
2. JanetW
Team Laurie! Altho after Amy stopped being the most annoying younger sister in the world, I think he got the better wife ... for the wife he led ... I just feel that no one really got what they wanted. Everyone's marriage was a little bloodless. The Professor was so professorial and old world -- Laurie was every blond prep-school boyfriend that ever haunts your dreams years later. If I was ever going to write fan fiction and no fears, I'm not, I'd re-write this one. I bet Louise May Alcott felt the same way and that's why she wrote "An Old-Fashioned Girl". "Eight Cousins", hmmm, back to the least likely choice among the bunch.
3. Taragel

Hee. I think LM Alcott scarred me for life with this novel. Because I have such a penchant now for the best friends who could be more trope. (Team Gale! Team Jacob!) And I HATE May-December romances. It's all your fault LMA!

At least she didn't frak up the conclusion of my favorite novel of hers (An Old-Fashioned Girl, Polly & Tom 4EVA!)
Susanna Fraser
4. Susanna Fraser
Team Laurie! I sort of get Jo/Alcott's objections...but I'm married to someone arguably too much like me, and I think the way we enable each other's introversion and tendencies to chaos is worth it for the joy of having someone around who GETS us.

Really, I'd be on Team Neither if I could, because I can see why she said no to Laurie, but Bhaer was too extreme in the other direction. So maybe I'm Team Bhaer-if-he-were-younger-and-sexier?

I actually like the ending of Eight Cousins/Rose in Bloom, because I would've chosen Mac over Charlie myself. He's still young and attractive, just quiet, nice, and geeky with it. And I like quiet, nice, and geeky men better than your Charlie-style party boys.
Wendy the Super Librarian
5. SuperWendy
OK, seriously - did you have to bring up William Shatner? I could have gone my whole life without that knowledge.

I'm a lot like Cheryl. When I first read Little Women (I was in the 8th grade), I wept bitter tears when Jo spurned Laurie. My wee lil' tween heart just about broke in half! How could she! And who the hell is this professor dude and why is Jo with him and not dreamy, dreamy Laurie? And then Laurie marries that skanky ho-bag Amy? AMY?!?!?! The stupid twit who threw Jo's manuscript in the fire?!?!?! ARGH!!!!!!!

But, as I've gotten older, I'm pretty much on Team Bhaer. Frankly, I just think he and Jo are more suitably matched. I think because it's a more grown-up relationship. Yes, Jo could have had a passionate affair with Laurie - but would it have lasted? I don't think so. And like you said - the fights! Oh man, it would have been like Taylor/Burton in 19th century New England. Wowzers.
Kaye Dacus
6. Kaye Dacus
I'm totally Team Bhaer! Though, yes, it's heart rending when that first, young love is torn apart, it's easy to see that Jo and Laurie aren't good for each other--that they'd always be better as friends (i.e., brother and sister) than as lovers.

Perhaps it's because I didn't come to Little Women until I was in my early twenties that I already had a little maturity of my own through which to view these relationships (and maybe it's because my first exposure to it was watching the 1994 film and falling head-over-heels for Gabriel Byrne as Professor Bhaer). When I read the book following seeing the movie and, therefore, knowing how it ended, it enabled me to see throughout how Jo and Laurie's relationship wouldn't work rather than hoping that it would. I guess it's a case of "read the book before seeing the film adaptation!"
Regina Thorne
7. reginathorn
Aww, poor Professor handicapped by his ridiculous accent! And 39 is TOTALLY NOT OLD because it's younger than me :D I must admit that I thought Laurie/Amy made a wonderful pair in the end but I always always Team Laurie for Jo. And Team Charlie for Rose as well, for that matter!!

However, I have to stand up for Amy a bit because I just LIKED her. Beth, on the other hand, annoyed the heck out of me! And Meg was a nonentity.
8. alicet
I was always team Laurie. I loved Little Women but couldn't re-read the book for a long time because of my disappointment with Jo's choice. Probably because I read the book when I was in my tweens- I couldn't understand how Jo would give up the dashing and rich Laurie for a much older guy. Well now that I am older I still don't get it so maybe I haven't matured enough.
9. Diana Birchall
Well, neither, of course. Louisa May Alcott remained a sturdy independent literary spinster, and so should Jo have done. In fact, that is what Alcott herself said, in a letter to her friend Alf Whitman. "Jo should have remained a literary spinster, but so many enthusiastic young ladies wrote to me clamorously demanding that she marry Laurie or somebody, that I didn't dare refuse, but out of perversity went and made a funny match for her."
10. brontegirl
@Taragel, Oh, An Old-Fashioned Girl is my favorite LMA novel too, as much as I like Little Women! Team Bhaer for me though--I never did think he was all that stuffy.
OT --- I am using the laptop and can't figure out how to get the umlat over the e in bronte . . . frustrating, lol . . . I didn't want anyone to see the
umlat-less bronte and think I don't know how to spell it, lol :).
Myretta Robens
11. Myretta
Team Bhaer. Probably, because, like @Kaye Dacus, I was an adult when I first read Little Women and Jo's relationship with the professor seemed like a grown-up relationship . And, yes, Gabriel Byrne did not hurt the cause.

By the way, I just love that @CherylSneed thought the 1933 Professor Bhaer looked like Franz Shubert. How many times do you hear that?
12. Barb in Maryland
@CherylSneed. Point of Order: Peter Lawford was Laurie to June Allyson's Jo in the 1949 version. That's the star-studded one where they flipped the ages of Beth and Amy, so that a blonde(!!)Elizabeth Taylor could play Amy and child-star Margaret O'Brien played the dying Beth. Rossanno Brazzi(later Emil in the movie 'South Pacific') played Bhaer and Janet Leigh played Meg. My all time favorite version of 'Little Women'--I have lost track of how many times I've seen it.
Though I will admit that I enjoyed the 1994 version. Gabriel Byrne was certainly yummy as Bhaer!
FYI: Team Bhaer all the way.
Cheryl Sneed
13. CherylSneed
@Barb in Maryland - yikes! You're right, Peter Lawford wasn't in the Hepburn version, thanks for the correction. Though he was very yummy. :)
14. Ms. M
I am a long-time Bhaerite and I would argue that theirs is the more passionate match. While Laurie certainly adores Jo, there's not any indication that she might feel the same way until near the end and that is more because she starts to fear being alone. Jo's most romantic gesture is when she more or less proposes to the Professor at the end of the book. And Bhaer has a deeper understanding of Jo and helps her to achieve the artistic path that she agrees is best for her. And Amy is likely a better wife for Laurie: ladylike, artistic, and softer.

I also appreciate that the 90s Little Women movie (a real gem) gave us a fairly sexy Bhaer in Gabriel Byrne to compete with Bale.
15. Sheri H
I remember after reading Little Women I couldn't wait to read Jo's Boys, which is the continuation of Jo's life. You have only to read that to see how boring Jo's life with the professor was. Laurie and Jo were soul mates. He loved her and would have supported her writing. Biiiiiiiiig mistake.
16. LSUReader
Jo was right to marry Prof. Bhaer. She didn't love Laurie. And I always thought that the young man's desire Laurie had for Jo wasn't real love. He proved that when he married Jo's sister Amy. Really--If he'd loved Jo, he would have found a wife outside of the March family.
17. Rachel70
I read the books, but was not a fan of them or of Bronte's. Since she rejected Laurie (who I did like), Jo should've remained unmarried. It seemed more in character for her. I didn't care for the Professor. I felt it was hastily written in and now that I've read that LMA did that as an appeasement to her serial readers, WOW! I am even more entitled to believe that.
18. raewoodland
Team Bhaer! I have loved that Jo ends up with Professor Bhaer, he is everything I would want in a man and that goes for when I was in junior high, high school, college, and now in my mid-twenties. But I also love Mr. Rochester, and Remus Lupin so it may just be my type.
19. Mo
Sadly, I came to this discussion very late. But, I did want to add my 2 cents. Jo and Laurie would have been a miserable failure of a marriage in my opinion for the simple reason that Jo was never in love with him. It takes 2 to make a marriage work and she was right in all her reasons for not marrying him.

That said, I was tragically crushed by his choosing Amy. Anyone, anyone - some wierd lady off the street - would have been a better choice than Amy. I absolutely hated Amy and hated that she was given such a plum of a marriage.

@LSUReader: I totally agree. Had he truly loved Jo, there is no way he could have loved Amy as well, though I am never truly sure that he does love Amy and he most certainly would not have married within Jo's family.
20. Tomas
As a young, spirited, brash male myself, I suspected that picking up Little Women might've been a mistake. I generally gravitate toward more virile literary fare than this, but I very much enjoy 19th century novels and was curious about this classic. Well, it was a mistake indeed--but not in the way that I expected! The book itself was a joy to read, engaging and engrossing and wonderful; but man oh man, never, ever have I experienced such disappointment at two literary characters not ending up together. The chapter entitled "Heartache" left me as crushed as if I had been in Laurie's place, and when I began to see a Laurie/Amy match beginning to take shape, man... it really bummed me out. The Bhaer stuff I could barely stomach.

So yeah, Team Laurie here.

(Damn you, Louisa May Alcott.)
21. Em
Well I saw the 1994 film first, then I read the book, so that probably effected my view. I mean, both Laurie and Prof. Bhaer were totally good-looking in the film! I can see that if I had read any discussions or opinions of the film or book, I probably wouldve hated something somewhere. But really, I just adore the book and the movie!

But my opinion on the relationships, well I felt that Laurie seemed to bring out the tomboy in Jo, where as Prof. Bhaer seemed to bring out the true lady in Jo, that was always there. Laurie and Jo were way to similar, not that thats a bad thing in all love relationships, but their personality was one that wouldve clashed in a marriage. I love all the characters in the book and 1994 film, and Amy turns out so lovely in the end and I think she is a perfect match for Laurie, as Jo for Professor Bhaer.

I do believe that your opinion would vary greatly when and what you read or watched, as I can say after watching the 1994 film and reading the book, I completely despised the 1933 film. Meg looked too young, Amy was too snooty, Jo and Beth annoying, and I almost gagged when I saw Prof. Bhaer. Had I seen the 1933 film before anything I might have been on team Laurie, but I think I still am on Team Bhaer.
22. Em
Sorry, that was a bit much. I didn't "completely despise" the 1933 film, but I did not enjoy it very much.
23. Alessandria
Definitely Team Laurie. I've loved this pairing since I first read the book at 11, and still do at age 35. Amy & Prof Bhaer just don't do anything for me character-wise. I don't understand Jo's reasons for rejecting Laurie, as personally, I think people who have alot in common and are similar in temperament, do make fine spouses to each other. I tried reading the sequels to LW, but couldn't stomach reading about the "other" spouses.
24. alessandria
p.s. I've always felt that since LMA didn't marry Jo to Laurie, she should have kept Jo single; and had Laurie marry someone OUTSIDE the March family. Given Jo's fierce independence, it wouldn't have been in the least bit surprising had she remained unmarried. In fact, after "Heartache," I thought that was what was going to happen. Now Amy & Laurie was another shocking union. To me, that relationship seemed sudden and forced and had me question the depth of Laurie's self-professed love for Jo - either that or he married on a rebound.
25. Music101
Team Laurie all the way! I think that their marriage may have had some bumps along the road but I think it would have worked. Laurie had so much passion were as Professor B. was well..... old to be frank. If he, Laurie, had to marry anyone else, WHY AMY! Amy reminds me of that bratty, popular blonde chick in school. She never had hard struggles and kinda had it easy ( that's the vibe I got) I think she & Fred would have been happy together. In the 1994 movie I rather liked the choice of the actress for Jo. She looks just how I imagined (except without auburn hair) ;-) I wish LMA had another character that had certain qualities of both in one. I also feel that Marmee killed Beth. Beth was so young & probably shouldn't have gone to the Hummels to help. Meg or Hannah should have gone.
26. joycejanik
Its okay for Jo not to marry Laurie..

BUT WHY DOES LAURIE HAVE TO MARRY AMY!!! its been weeks and i'm still in heartache over this.. i've read this novel at least 10 times and i still get so affected by it.. im not even a teenager!

I agree with one of the posters here.. Laurie should have married someone outside the March family..

Huhuhu.. such a great book.. it can make me so angry!

it would probably be sweeter if Laurie never married and Jo never married.
27. Jassy
I was just blogging about this and honestly I always believed that Professor Bhaer and Jo were meant to be. I totally bought Jo's reasons for not marrying Laurie. I mean, her heart just wasn't in it, she would of been uncomfortable in the life that would be expected of her as Laurie's wife. I think she choose right. I hate the '94 movie. I just couldn't take the modern spins it imposed on the Marches. I do have a hilarious memory of seeing the film in the theater and the whole audience GASPING when Laurie brought Amy home as his wife. Hehe. Anyway, I think I've always thought that the perfect husband would be an older bookish professor of some sort and that's pretty much Alcott's doing.
28. Madel
I'm probably fiercely biased (not probably, I really am) because Christian Bale is just so fucking hot, and I've no idea how in hell anyone could've denied him proposing, like. frealz. Batman, guys. We're talking about Batman, here. How...? I don't understand.

So it definitely tore my heart apart into a million quivering little pieces when Jo rejected Laurie. I'd read the book back in 7th or 8th grade, and watched the 1994 movie a few years after that (and again about two hours ago), and though I honestly barely remember the book, the movie portrayal of that moment killed me. He just looked so hurt, and you could see the hope in his face and the subsequent crushing moment when he realized that Jo really wouldn't marry him. And I just vehemently believed that they were so perfect together. (I still do)

But of course, I do understand (not support) the decisions they both made. I'd have to disagree with the other posters preferring Jo to remain unmarried, I thought it was rather sweet and shines light on the nature of 'love' in the way that, independent as she was, she still remained prone to the effects of loving someone, especially someone so unlikely. It's more real, I guess. Laurie would've been the fairy-tale ending (which is why we all loved it so much), but Bhaer is the harsh reality that no, we don't always get the handsome, rich, dashing prince but that's all and well.

(except for the weeping shippers, never for us)

Amy also fits in more with Laurie, I think. She was refined and graceful and everything Laurie needed (even though we all know it was Jo he really wanted). And Amy's always wanted to marry the rich guy, so I guess they both get what was coming. I just felt as if they were sort of using each other. He wanted to get in with the March's, and she wanted to be with the rich dude. Love, I think was secondary with them. Even in the movie, it all seemed very superficial the way Laurie suddenly began courting Amy, after seeing her. Because how could he have suddenly fallen in love in that span of time, if not only for her looks, especially after knowing her for so long without sparing her a glance? (I know she was young, and that woulda been a bit creepy, but still. He gravitated towards Jo, when Amy was there the entire time)

Their choices make sense. It appeals to logic, but not really to the heart where it really matters and that's what breaks me.

Fucking Christian Bale.
I still don't understand.

IMO Laurie will always love Jo. And both their marriages will be content, but never the all-consuming, passionate romance that could've been. (And I just hate those big, earth-shattering what ifs) Ugh. I'm in pain just thinking of the waste of such a good couple. D:

So, I'll just lay here, conjuring up fanciful Jo/Laurie affair scenarios like the upset teenage girl that I am.
Virginia Green
29. vloveg
I don't remember my initial 'tween take on things, but Fritz is one of my favorite heroes (I wonder if that's the cause or effect of my professor fetish). That umbrella scene is one I can read over and over again. I actually read Jo's Boys and Little Men at one point, and thought that life suited her much better than life with Laurie. Fritz understood Jo and loved her as she was, even as he encouraged her to be the best version of herself. Laurie was in love with being a member of the March family, and Jo was simply the most affectionate daughter of the bunch.
But, yeah, hard to imagine anyone turning down young Christian Bale. However, I made the mistake of watching that movie shortly after finishing a read-through of the book, and the inaccuracies were too annoying for me to get swept away. But I'm like that with my favorite novels.
30. lauren swine
i was hoping that Laurie and Jo would get married but NO why him????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
31. Nelson
I just finished reading the book and I was shocked when Jo refused Laurie. I thought it was terrifically ill-conceived. Amy ended up winning in the end but all along I felt that Jo & Laurie was a once-in-a-million true love. I never saw any of the films - only read the first book and I had a mental image of the german being even older and more poverty stricken; so I was shocked when Jo ended up marrying him. I didn't have an image of him being an attractive man at all.
32. Erin62
She made a big mistake. I thought so when I was a kid, and I still do. She did the "right and practical" thing. I wish I had followed my heart, and I wish she had followed hers. She and Laurie had a lot of passion and love for each other. Ah, well.
33. SassyT
Team Laurie all the way. Don't get me wrong. I like Bhaer but he's too old for Jo. She needs someone more lively. And she and Laurie were so close. Oh, well. I loved both the June Allyson/Peter Lawford and the Winona Rider/Christian Bale versions. And yes, Gabriel Byrne did make hating on the Professor really
34. NovemberMarch
It's all very confusing, because I love the Professor and Jo, but not as romantic interests (I don't like how her character changes to fit with his), and Laurie and Amy's frienship is adorable, but I don't really like them as a couple. There's no denying the chemistry between Jo and Laurie, but I feel like they probably would have stayed best as flirtatious friends/platonic life partners (I have this little scenario in my head of Laurie and Jo being best friends and traveling Europe together). However (and this is where it gets very hard to sort out), I think Amy makes Laurie into a more mature man -- and when he comes back from Europe, having married Amy, suddenly I can very much see a marriage working between him and Jo.

So maybe the ideal situation is this -- Laurie proposes to Jo, she turns him down, he goes to Europe, Amy sets him straight but they /don't/ fall in love, and then Laurie comes back and they get together? Idk :p
So, I guess I'm Team Laurie, but under very specific circumstances.

But I really don't hate Bhaer, or Amy. And also, can anyone else see Bhaer and Amy being really unlikely friends? (I haven't read the sequel, and I'm halfway through rereading the book now so I don't really remember the end of it, so I don't remember if they interacted.)
35. yo
the fact jo supposedly never had any romantic feelings for freaking laurie and just saw him as a brother made me think she might be asexual or a lesbian. or maybe just in denial. i mean cmon he was perfect (at least in a teenagers eyes and i still see him that way, i havent read the book in years)
i actually never read the whole baher or amy thing. i always had the little women first part that ends with jo and laurie together (jo sitting in an armchair and laurie by her side or something). i found out from my mom she didnt marry laurie but amy did and i was like WHAT. and refused to ever read the 2nd part, lol. i'd read it now but i dont like reading online and i cant find the book anywhere.
36. Omar Aga
I'm team Laurie and Amy and i might be a minority but i stand by my choice. Jo and Laurie's love or lack of it from her side was so "novelly" for me... it was so dramatic and i can see why it might appeal to young horomonal passionate teenagers and older hopeless romantics out there... but to be realistic love needs to be nurtured and the two people in a relationship must know how to deal with each other without driving each other crazy because there will be points where you could easily drive the other person crazy. Amy was able to get laurie out of his funk so easily and without driving him crazy and that is a first sign of a realistically successfully working relationship.
As for their love being not so believable cause they were using each other.... people need to really read the book without any prejudice against Amy to realize that their love was as real as possible... it was not stormy or passionate but that doesn't make it less real... unfortunately we live in a world affected by movies to think that only big stormy loves are the real deal... it is actually the silent more contained ones that prove strong enough to last.
I totally bought into their relationship and reading the book i was dreading Jo and Laurie ending together because that was soooo Romantic Comedy and not Realistic... anyone with enough sense could see that they were no romantic match and that that would have cost them all the brothely sisterly love they had for each other... Jo and LMA had enough sense thank GOD.
the truth is all the characters grew in the novel... none of them was perfect and Amy was no exception, wasn't it Amy who rejected a much richer guy because she realized that she wanted more in life than money and didn't she tell Laurie that she wished someties that he was poor so that she could still choose him out of love.... didn't she regret her words regarding money and throught they were immature and didn't she feel that being loved was much more important than being a society queen.... and even that she did end up a society queen... it was not because she schemed to get ther... it was more like the universe rewarding her for finally getting it right with chhosing love... so the love wasn't secondary but the money was and she put it to a great use... a gold digger would self indugle but Amy immediately started helping all those who needed help... sign of a kind good heart.

i find it funny how people easily forget all her redeaming qualities and easily put her in this two dimentional evil box and call it a day... it is not fair neither to Amy nor May her real life alter ego the sister LMA based Amy on.

as for Jo... I liked her with the professor... i did... but i didn't really want her to get married... i really wanted her to find happiness in her school with her kids.... i just felt it was the way she should have been.... neverthless i didn't hate her with the prof.
37. Laurie-Lover
Team Laurie! Ok, I'm extremely biased due to the fact that I ALWAYS gravitate toward best friends-turned-lovers pairings and I think Laurie is incredibly hot. I love how Jo and Laurie totally get each other! I first read this book in the forth grade and felt that Laurie and Jo should've ended up together and that Amy was just a rebound (without actually knowng what shipping and rebound were XD) and four years later I still feel that way. I'm on Team Laurie forever and always
38. Team Laurie
Team Laurie. I guess Bhaer isn't too bad as well, but I've always loved the chemistry between Jo and Laurie... They've always seemed like two peas in a pod. I've always wished that her feelings toward Bhaer were only temporary, but by the time I reached the part in which Bhaer and Jo married, there weren't enough pages left for a sudden plot twist. I really feel that Laurie and Jo could have been soulmates.

The ending wouldn't have been as infuriating if not for Laurie's pairing with Amy. Seriously, I just don't understand the appeal with Amy. She ruined Jo's manuscript, she's a twit and a brat, and she just feels so wrong for Laurie. She's just not enough of an intellectual to be with Laurie. She's too plain, too bland, too sour to be Laurie's wife. I take a little satisfication in thinking "what if". What if Jo said yes to Laurie's proposal? Would their relationship break apart because of "Laurie's feelings towards Amy"? I personally believe Laurie and Jo are so compatible that they compliment each other, and they challenge each other.

Laurie & Jo forever! Maybe Bhaer could marry Amy.
39. Realist
If I could choose as Jo, I think I want to choose Laurie... but the funny thing is, I also have a very close male friendship since high school, he almost fit a lot of the descriptions as "Teddy", but I realized the reason he could become my closest friend was because I didn't see him as someone that I would have romantic love with, since the beginning... so, the choice of choosing Laurie is apparently, an ideal... otherwise, we'd long have a crush toward each other before the story develops to "Heartbreak"... cuz with our passion towards things... can't imagine...

On the other hand, I've also met my match of the professor kind of guy... understanding, caring, supporting, and even financially wealthier than the professor in the novel (he's also a phD)... Well, at first, it all seems great to be with someone like the professor, but the boredom from the relationship can be quite conflicting @ times... Afterall, Jo's personality became tied down by the presence of this professor because his charisma is completely the opposite of that to Laurie's (similar to Jo)...
As much as we may be charmed by the professor's encouragement towrard Jo, her writings have to be inspired from something stronger, more likely a stimulant such as Laurie would make more sense in keeping Jo to remain as who she truly is...

Therefore, I've come to realize, this book is indeed only fiction... it might have made more sense in the 19th century...
We are living in an era over 1,000 years later, we might still dream of having a romantic love or a stable love... but in reality, Jo is better off marrying another character... if only Alcott can seriously consider providing a true male character in this novel...

At the end, I do support the idea of Jo getting married, but neither of these guys could match her... and we wonder why so many of us would rather she stayed single...?! Yet, I want Jo to have a truly happy marriage... because, with her bravery, she deserves the love from someone that shows the same courage, love, and independence... that in order she can be complete... ah, so I guess I am the romantic... ^.~
40. Rin
Sorry for reviving this thread, but, I'm thirteen today, and to celebrate that, I had my 100th read of Little Women. Century, woot woot!



*sniff* I'll go back to reading those delightful Jo/Laurie fanfics.

I positively adore Loulou Alcott (Blame Georgia Nicoleson for that Jo-ish Introduction),BUT WHY LOUISA? WHY?!? WHY PROFESSOR BAER AND AMY MARCH?

I honestly believe as long as literature is appreciated, we will break our hearts while reading this adorably evil...heart-breaking piece, and we'll do it all over again. Because Louisa was an evil genius and we love her for it, and we love Jo, and adore Laurie, we'll weep for Beth, and Laugh at Margaret's expense, we'll join our spectacled eyes at Amy and we'll read it all over again.

Little Women is what it is, the rest is up to us, to kick our imagination out of the nest and watch it soar, the way we want it to . That's why it's a classic, you never get over them.
41. Ambolite
I honestly like all characters (that is, of the 1994 adaptation). What bugs me is Jo's reasons to refuse Laurie. They got along ideally and never had a fight. To me, anticipating a relationship decline because of being best friends, having similar tempers and tastes is absurd and superstious. In my personal experience, people who are the "mirror" image of me are the ones I get along with and ejoy the company of best. Nothing against the professor and Jo, though. Point is, mature people with good intentions can make anything work against all odds, especially when there are none... *sigh* I just don't get it...
42. Alie
Sorry, Team Bhaer. Laurie and Jo are "soulmates" but not in the romantic sense. Laurie needs someone like Amy, someone who could be be in the upper circles that Laurie interacted with. She is painted as a brat but I think she greatly matures in the latter part of the book, she is a little snobby but not unkind and not abrasive.
Laurie's proposal to Jo was brash and he was too immature for marriage.He had to grow up (to be fair, Amy set him straight without having to fight him like Jo did), he didn't allow for there to be a true romance. The Professor allowed for Jo to slowly fall in love with him and his courting of her was full of patience. Something that Laurie was not that good with until later. I think Jo and Laurie made perfect matches in their spouses.
Also to be fair, the relationship between Amy and Laurie is kind of sweet. In the later part of the book, Laurie is more of a flirt with Amy and even helps her out! There is a slight flirtation between them that isn't with Jo because Jo just isn't the flirting type. Of course, Amy matures in Europe and while still being refined, she does set Laurie straight with the March common sense. She does not merely marry for money as she could have married someone richer (Fred Vaughn).
43. Allien
I am Team LAURIE. This book(novel) was great I really loved it but WHY DIDNT JO MARRY LAURIE they were soul mates , perfect for each other . First I had only read the book and I got really sad because of this but when I saw the 1994 movie igot really upset , mad and furious and every time I read it I have the same feeling.i totally think that Jo should have married Laurie
44. Viola :)
When I was younger, I always thought I'd want someone like Laurie- passionate, headstrong, foolishly romantic, and I blamed Jo for giving him up. Now I'm a bit older and am in a wonderful relationship with someone who is incredibly creative and interesting, but also stable and grounded, like the professor. My best friend and I almost had a relationship at one point, but we are much, much better as platonic best friends. I am SO happy in my relationship, and it makes sense to me that Jo would be to. I think Loisa May Alcott knew what her character needed, but also knew and understood real life. That's why this novel is so enjoyable!
45. DevlG
I am Team Laurie ! I read the book first when I was 15 years old and immediately identified with Jo, with the love of books and clumsiness etc...I found the chemistry between them fantastically written for a book of that time. I was heartbroken when she refused him - I totally think they would have had a wonderful marriage and they wouldn't have fought so much either after they both matured. I am 41 now and still feel the same!

Laurie's love was deep and true - in the first half of the book right up to Heartache he is portrayed as someone sensitive and kind as well as jolly and mischievous, who didn't much care for high society flirtatious girls and confided in Jo that he preferred 'sensible' ones....when he was partying in college, he was just having a good time and behaving like any college kid does. He was attracted to Jo because she was different than the other girls and they understood each other completely....

And then suddenly after 'Heartache' and after meeting Amy in Europe his character changes and he becomes someone who loves attending parties and the goal of his life becomes hosting splendid social events, as he tells the March family when he returns with Amy as his wife - really??!!!

I think he settled for Amy and would have regretted getting married to her when he came back and saw Jo again - there are enough hints in 'Surprises' that he still cared and had not got over her. He simply accepted that Jo wouldn't have him and decided to have friendship at least.

Even after reading about their romance in Europe multiple times, I got the feeling that he was only very fond of Amy as a friend with whom he cud be flirtatious and have fun with after spending 2 years being miserable over Jo... a known face from his past, a way to connect with Jo and of course, an attractive young woman.

Thorughout Little Women and the sequels, his love for Amy seemed more like fondness and his love for Jo the deep romantic kind. He also seemed to get more happiness being with her, and wistful at other times when he's shown with Amy.

He just needed to propose again after returning from Europe and should not have married Amy, he was more matured and stable then and Jo had also matured and become softer - oh Laurie, why didn't you wait!!!

They would have been themselves had they married, and not changed to please their spouses, like they did! And Laurie always supported her writing and I'm sure grown up Jo would have hosted the few important business parties properly for her Lauirie's sake :-(

I don't think I will ever get over it! .. sniff, sniff
46. But Gabriel Byrne
Even as a nine-year-old, I was solidly team Bhaer. I identified with Jo a little too much, though, so my conclusion that they're perfect for each other might be colored by my own preference.
47. Iluvaqt
I would have chosen Laurie when I was younger. I married a Laurie. If he hadn't matured, curbed his temper and become a more attentive person with age, our relationship wouldn't have lasted. He's a bit more Pr Bhaer now. Jo made the right choice. She wouldn't have had the patience nor the temperance to help Laurie grow to the man he could be.
48. MariannnaD
Alcott wanted a twist in the plot and that's all there is to it. She didn't want the pairing of jo and laurie at the end because it was too obvious, it was what readers expected and seeked to be "original". Huge gamble since she had readers rooting for laurie and jo to be together for the whole first book and the ending felt to them like they had invested themselves in a collapsing house of cards.
In my opinion the question is not who suited her best, because cleverly both of them did, in their different ways. It's why Alcott chose to cultivate a strong attachment in the hearts of her readers towards a pairing, portray such chemistry and connection between her protagonists for a whole book too and then threw it all in the fire. It felt like a shot in the back, since there were no warning signs that jo and laurie were not compatible, quite the opposite. Yes, storybook endings are not always the case in real life. But it seemed that jo didn't see herself worthy or couldn't be bothered to marry out of the comfort zone. She made the comfortable, lazy choice. It didn't "feel" real. It was uncharacteristic and unworthy of her.
49. Laura Rose
Oh! I felt so sick after I finished reading it. I anticipated Jo and Teddy being together from the start. When Jo turned him down I looked at the number of pages that remained in the book and though 'Hey! There's still plenty of time for Jo to say 'yes'. Don't worry'. But no, I was heartbroken. I couldn't help but want to cry when Laurie came to comfort Amy for the loss of her sister. I wanted him to comfort Jo! I actually did cry when they were engaged. :) And Bhaer, oh. I felt no connection to him, or with Jo. With Laurie, I fell in love with him from the very beggining. I overall loved the book, but not the ending. It's been tormenting me ever since I finished it! I actually considered writing my own alternate ending where Teddy and Jo end up together! :)
50. Alice Ocho
Team Laurie! What if Laurie only married Amy so he could be closer to Jo? To me, it seemed like Laurie only liked Amy as a little sister, as in the first book, when Amy complains that Laurie treated her like a little girl. Also, Jo's marriage with Bhaer, is a little dull, like in the book Jo's boys.
51. Maddy Stevens
Laurie and Jo just ending up with each other would have been too predictable. So, instead, what if at Jo's or Laurie's wedding, they looked at each other and realized they couldn't live with marrying someone else, ran to each other, and later married?
52. Newcomer
I watched the 1994 movie, have read the entire book 4 times, and still firmly belive in Team Laurie.

I can't see Laurie and Amy as a couple, only as an Older Brother-Little Sister.
And Bhaer, well... For starters was old. And to finish, just seemed too... slow.
Upon seeing the movie, I came away with the unshakable impression that Bhaer would just stifle Jo's energetic nature with his infinite dullness, maturity, and calm.

53. arianalamark99
I discovered Little Women through the Broadway musical based on the text. I was involved in the production for two months, the show itself played for four weekends. The music in the production is wonderful (I am totally into theater so that of course struck me first) but I found that I became more divested in the plot itself once I began to read the actual print and look up clips form the '94 adaption. (Gabriel Byrne and Winona Ryder are two of my favorite film stars, how could I resist the temptation?)

After watching the musical numerous times, watching the '94 adaption, and reading the novel, I developed a tremendous ammount of support for Jo and Fredreich's relationship.. Jaurie shippers, hear me out.

From the very beginning of my fasniation with Little Women, I never sensed any authentic, romantic chemistry between Laurie and Jo. I believe that Laurie was merely infatated with Jo, he was never truly in love with her. In addition to this, I am convinced that Jo and Laurie's personalities would have created a toxic relationship; they were too similar to one another, they didn't have enough balance. Their quick wit and passion could have attributed to their relationship in a positive light, but Jo and Laurie were both extremely ill - tempered and impatinet. One argument could have lead to catostrophic results. It's plain to see that Jo and Laurie were meant to coexist has platonic friends.

Professor Bhaer was a character that I gravitated to almost immediately. (no, it wasn't just because of Gabriel Byrne's charming portrayal) Even though the Professor isn't meant to be physcially appealing, his personality makes up for it. Fredreich is mature, kind - heartened, intelligent, and above all, patient. Despite of Jo and Fredreich's differences in nature and age, the pair fit beautifully together. Fredreich deeply loved and accepted Jo for the woman that she was. He wanted to see her succeed, he wanted to see her push herself; he was there for her as a source of support throughout her journey as a literary artist, but he also allowed her to discover her talents and drive for herself..

Patience was another huge part of Jo and Fredriech's relationship. As Jo grew up and matured he took his time developing their relationship despite of his feelings for her. Fredriech's patience benefitted the couple as they began to slowly fall in love with each other. The pair's steady development, and Fredriech's mannerisms also assisted Jo in becoming the confident woman and artist that she was all along.

Overall, I firmly believe that Jo and Fredriech's relationship possesed true romance and balance. I don't think that a relationship between Jo and Laurie could compare to that of Jo and Fredriech's. Laurie was lacking all the qualities that Fredriech lacked, qualities that, in the end, benefitted Jo. FINALLY, not to be biased, but I've always preffered the Professor's character. It's not that I don't like Laurie, it's just that I've never been the type of girl that's gone for the bubbly "boy next door" type.
54. Evodia
Team Bhaer!!! Just because of the Professor Bhaer of Gabriel Byrne - a very smart, good looking, respectable , charming, gentle man , solid as a rock.... (at least it seems so...). I have even written my own 'Diary of Fritz'.
I saw the 1994 film first and were deeply touched by the last scene under the umbrella. This Professor Bhaer was my dream of a man. I think Laurie is just a boy. Then I saw different versions of the film in Youtube, but I don't like all the other Professor Bhaers . Now I have read the book and I was somehow disappointed of Professor Bhaer there. He is a caricature of a professor - hard to understand that Jo falls for him.
But inspite of this I am still thinking that Laurie isn't the right man for her!
55. Evodia
I just want to add that Gabriel Byrne as Professor Friedrich Bhaer doesn't look like a German (not even as Irish in my opinion) but French! And I must know it cause I am German
56. ValerieVal
I may sound stubborn and too bold (the Jo in me), and this theory is likely to never be proven, but I stand by the fact that Louisa May Alcott wouldn't marry Jo to Laurie (to my extreme dismay and heartache) simply by the fact that she didn't have that (happy) ending of her own. She shaped Jo in the character to reflect a lot of who she was as a person, and marrying her to Laurie was just something that she couldn't betray herself to do. However, the struggle must have been real when she got all that pressure from her fans and publisher, so like every human being incentified by the fearsome toll of rejection and disappointment, she had to find an alternate ending to her story to appease the masses. However, having Jo marry Laurie just couldn't happen. As mentioned already, it would be a betrayal to her own life, and that path was simply untweakable. Thus, she found some weird cop out way of marrying Jo. And if she had to marry Jo, she couldn't leave Laurie alone either. Seeing Jo marry off first would've killed him, "I'll be hanged," as was mentioned by the poor boy if he were ever to face such a tragic event (at the time). Thus, absolutely unnaturally, he went to Europe (where Amy, the younger sister was at the time), though moody at first, got over Jo, and fell in love with Amy. Did I mention unnatural? It was so unnatural that it was explicitly stated in the book itself that he was surprised at himself at how fast he was moving on and even getting angry at his own fickleness, especially since he was expecting to love Jo for the rest of his life and be tormented by the fact that she couldn't love him back (ok, that would've been heart-wrenching to see too, despite being romantic, and maybe Alcott didn't want that for him). Was it two or three years later, he came back married to Amy. Though the reunion with Jo was touching, and you could see there was a trace of what could've (should've) happened when they reunited, it was clearly stated that Laurie loved Amy as a woman and Jo as a sister by then, as he himself said - they traded places in his life. Though Louisa May Alcott wrote that part beautifully, it still made you kind of go, I cannot believe you Laurie, how could you. I don't know why, but I just get the sense that the author marred a bit of Laurie's character on purpose at that point. Maybe because Laurie reflected that one love of hers (forgot the name) who didn't last. My guess is that he found someone else too, which maybe didn't settle amazingly with her. Either way, that was a really long spin to how she had to marry Laurie off first, so that he didn't suffer that devastating blow of seeing Jo marry someone else, even though it really hurt him as a character (I don't know if that is a popular opinion, though it is mine). Thus, once Laurie came back, and they had their touching, yet finalizing moment, the author could finally conclude and somehow appease her fans (though I'm sure not in the way they had exactly hoped for), by marrying her to that German professor. Apparently, Alcott was a fan of German culture because of her dad's profession? I'm not clear on the details, but either way, I feel like she just created some cop out dude, maybe based on who she could imagine herself marrying at the time she wrote the book, I think she was in herr 40s. Who knows.

So if you can't tell, I'm team Laurie/Teddy. Completely and thoroughly. He stole my heart, and like the rest of the world, I don't understand how Jo could refuse him. Yeah, I've considered all the blablabla about how their personality clashed and the professor was a much better match in the long run and she shouldn't say yes to someone she doesn't have feelings for, but at the end of the day, I still don't know how she refused someone who had she loved to be around, had incredibly fun with, who was talented and motivated, and not to mention, handsome. Especially for someone so young, and having never been in love to be potentially jaded by it, how could she not have a drop of feeling for him. I hate to hypothesize this way, but maybe our dear author just didn't swing that way (if you know what I mean).

Regardless, she created a beautiful heroine. One so relatable, with incredible benevolence, but not without faults. I was particularly touched by Jo's incredible ability to love others (though she didn't love -as a woman- the one character I really wanted her to).
57. ValerieVal
^To add onto that point about our author just not swinging that way. An alternative may that she regretted her choice (she had also rejected that one love she experienced), and is too stubborn to change her character's fate as well.
58. mrswilkins
For years I stopped reading Little Women at Laurie's proposal, so disheartened I was with how things would turn out. Not that I think Jo was wrong to refuse him - she really believed that she didn't have romantic feelings for him, she trusted her mother's judgment (who thought they didn't suit each other romantically), she thought she wasn't 'good enough' for him, she thought they were too similar in taste and temperament to be happy together. So on an emotional level, she really couldn't do anything else other than refuse him - she cares for him too much to string him along, or to have him marry her and then be miserable. "And everything would be horrid!" (from the book)

I also really didn't like the way Laurie had gone about proposing - his first few lines were fine, when he tells her how much he loves her and how he couldn't help it (because really, Jo is awesome - she's completely unafraid to be unconventional and care for people in practical ways, and to be kind to people society would normally overlook, plus she's a clever and brilliant writer who runs and dances and skates). But then when she begins to say no, he says something along the lines of "Marry me, everyone expects it!" At this point in time, he has absolutely no plan for his life - he's just graduated from college, all he wants to do is have adventures with Jo. Has he got a plan as to what to do after that? What if they got married and Jo fell pregnant unexpectedly early in the marriage? (And he still hadn't sorted out what to do regarding business, or his music, etc?) Nope, no word about any of this, and no recognition that he was absolutely not ready to propose to her or to be a husband or father.

BUT it shouldn't have ended there! Laurie should've returned to Jo and won her - like really, serious, awesome patient, courtship stuff (I'm thinking Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gilbert Blythe, even Frederick Wentworth without the anger and the angst, kind of chasing). He should've gone to Europe, grown up, worked out what he wanted to do with his life, come back and said, "I still love you, for all of these reasons, I can only imagine life alongside you, will you marry me?" And he should've come back to comfort Jo when Beth was ill (why on earth was he comforting Amy instead, when ostensibly Jo is his best friend and love of his life? I mean travel was difficult and long in those days, sure, but really?! And Mr Laurence, to whom Beth is a favorite, doesn't insist on coming back home, or even contributing financially to Beth's medical treatment, doesn't seem to make sense). THEN I think Jo would be right to accept him, because then Theodore Laurence would actually be a man deserving of her.
59. CMR
I can't believe this thread has lasted so long! I guess it proves the enduring love for all things 'Little Women'.
I've read 'Little Women' many times over the years, starting with the "children's classics" version when I was around eight. I'm in my twenties now and I most recently re-read it last year, but I'm afraid I can't agree with those who were saying that perhaps growing up changed their views on Laurie vs Bhaer. I've always loved Laurie, and LMA's ending to her book has been a constant depression to me ever since! The only thing that was, I admit, reasonable about it was that Jo picked the steady, mature, and wise Professor Bhaer (even though I think she and Laurie were a much better match). Marrying Laurie off to Amy was probably one of the poorest and most unrealistic choices I've ever witnessed in a book. In fact, critics have said that the author herself was uncomfortably aware of Amy's lack of development and her sudden, undeserved good fortune. We are given no real indication that the spoiled, self-centered Amy has changed at all by the time the author allows her to snare a (still-grieving) Laurie. I can't stand Amy and I really cannot fathom what LMA was thinking, unless she meant it as a good joke. For those who question Laurie's devotion to Jo when he goes and marries her sister--well, I'm inclined to think that it wasn't poor Laurie's fault at all. LMA certainly knew how to drop a bag of bricks on her readers!

As for Jo and Friedrich... it's hard to fault Jo for her choice (unless you're faulting her for not choosing Laurie), because there really isn't anything *wrong* with Friederich. He's Jo's opposite, in many ways--calm, mild-mannered, steady, so you could argue that they are a fine match. But after reading "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys," I just can't support Friedrich over Laurie. There's really nothing between Jo and Friedrich, no profound connection or understanding. They share some interests, they balance each other out, they have a bunch of cute kids, and they run a school. All in all, I found her relationship with him to be disappointingly boring. I guess they can read to each other by firelight for excitement sometimes. Yet throughout all of this, Jo and Laurie remain the closest of friends. You could even argue that *theirs* is really the substantial relationship of the sequels, the one that continues to grow and develop and delight. It's like even the author couldn't bring herself to give up on them.

So why didn't she give us Jo and Laurie? Lousia May Alcott was a spinster, surprisingly independant and self-willed for her time, and much of Jo is based off of her creator. After "Little Women" was released (the first half of what would soon be the full novel we know now), many fans wrote letters to Alcott asking about the marriages of the little women. And of course, with the ending of the book focused on Jo and Laurie, many naturally assumed the best friends would end up together. It just made sense. But I think Alcott took distinct offense to her readers assumptions. She didn't want her beloved Jo to marry at all, and now her fans had gone and paired her off with the boy next door without her assent. After pressure from the public and especially her publisher, Alcott provided Jo with a marriage to Professor Friedrich--and she did this in purposeful, direct contrast to what her readers expected (and hoped for); so I guess we can congratulate her on her sense of independence (and humor)! I would have preferred that Jo remained single, like she had vowed to Laurie, above such a throw-over of Jo and Laurie's perfect companionship. So the passionate, emotional, lovesick Laurie was randomly stuck with flat, unimpressive Amy, and Jo was married to that professor guy she knew.

Jo and Laurie were best friends. Soul mates. They shared everything--interests, secrets, passions, laughter, tears, memories. They grew up together. They knew each other better than anyone in the world. Let me remind you that Jo is never described as pretty or elegant or anything that a shallow Laurie would have desired. She was plain, she was poor, she was a tomboy, she was independent, wild, stubborn, and hot-tempered. Laurie described her as having freaks and faults and oddities. Yet he loved her, all the years he knew her. He loved her because of all her faults and oddities. They were what made her Jo, and Laurie adored Jo. He wanted nothing more than the Jo he knew and loved, the Jo he could count on, the Jo that made him better. Amy did none of this for him. Amy barely knew him. There was no real understanding between them, no sympathies (think of what Jane Eyre said about Mr. Rochester marrying Blanche). And as for Jo--she depended on Laurie. She knew that when she was sad, Laurie could cheer her up. When she was lonely, Laurie was the best comfort. When she wanted excitement, Laurie would go on whatever adventure she thought up. He would never turn her down. They were there for each other, wholeheartedly and unreservedly. I've always seen Jo's reluctance towards "true love" for Laurie as very similar to Anne's in AOGG. Anne rejects Gilbert because they are, she thinks, best friends and nothing more. She knows what she wants out of life and she's convinced that marriage to Gilbert wouldn't offer it. Of course, Anne later realizes that her ideas of love are all wrong, and that there is nothing more real and romantic then the thought of spending your life with your dearest friend. Maybe L.M Montgomery was a secret 'Little Women' fan and wrote her series to correct the ending of Jo and Laurie! ;)

I think people should marry their equal. I'm not married, so maybe I've got this all completely wrong, but I think I would want to marry my, dare I say it, best friend. A couple people suggested that if given the chance, Laurie could have matured, and then returned to Jo. I agree with this. I think it would have worked out. They fight, they disagree, they fly off the handle. They're both passionate, stubborn, and emotional. But they're equals. They bring on the best in one another, and they *look* for the best in one another. They depend on each other for everything, and they know that they can count on one another for anything. Out of all the relationships in the books (say what you will about the 'realism' of Jo and Friedrich), Jo and Laurie had a lasting, profouond, beautiful relationship, and I will forever acknowledge this to be the most heartbreaking of literary mistakes.

Haha, okay, so I'm a bit passionate about this subject! That went on way longer than I meant it to... anyway, yeah, Team Laurie FTW! I've only ever seen the 1949 and 1994 versions, both of which I like, but I think the 1949 is my favorite (even with the liberties it took) becasuse I love June Allyson and Peter Lawford.
60. Trix Wilkins
I confess, I got so worked up about this, I ended up writing a book about it - for all of us who loved Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, yet also wondered: what if she had lived, and he had returned...

It's called the Courtship of Jo March - the link to the GoodReads entry as follows, for those who are interested :)
61. Alexis J
I'm going to throw in some personal perspective, as Jo's narrative is extremely important to me.

I am very much like Jo March. I'm a writer, I was incredibly boyish growing up, and I love adventure. When I was younger, I had a lot of guy friends and liked guys a lot like Laurie, but they always ended in disaster. Some of them stayed my friends and that was okay.

BUT, I ended up marrying a guy just like Professor Bhaer. He's older too, but why is that such a big deal to people? Older doesn't automatically equate paternal, it just comes off that way at times because of the dynamic such a difference brings. I think Bhaer respected and encouraged Jo's dreams and independent mind.

I think Jo/Laurie relationships can work out, but I am glad Alcott gave us a beautiful picture of finding happiness with the humble and quiet spirit. It is also very non-cliche and unique that Jo refused Laurie's proposal. It's a shock, and it's well done. Beyond that, Bhaer is extremely supportive of Jo. He may critique passionately, but I think that is more loving than not saying what you really think. Jo asked for his thoughts too, so it wasn't unwelcomed. I am penning a novel right now, and my husband has helped with proofreading and critique every step of the way. I don't know where I'd be without his perspective.

I personally don't think there is enough Jo and Bhaer relationships out there. They're quieter, perhaps not as dashing or dramatic, but they have deep, deep heart. They have different personalities, but their tastes are similar. Bhaer is cultured and has lived a little, I think Jo needed that in someone. Someone who has seen beyond her small world.

Laurie and Jo shared everything as friends, but I don't think they were walking the path of life at the same pace. Would Laurie have taken Jo's manuscript to a publisher then carry it all the way back to her home with the few cents of spare change he has? I don't really think so. Laurie is lovely, but he's always swept away in the moment and, though Jo is adventurous, I don't think they ultimatlely wanted the same things out of life. I think Jo had wisdom in forseeing the possible disaster of their discontent because she knows how they both operate and what they want.
62. LouisenotLouisa
My mother and my childhood librarians thought I should love Louisa May Alcott because of my name and because they did. I didn't love Little Women, mostly because as a literal-minded proto-feminist child I didn't really understand that Jo was defying gender norms for her time and carving out a significant independence. Of the two suitors, I was always Team Laurie - and I didn't like the apparent underlying message that I shouldn't aim to fall in love with an equal and best friend but with a more powerful older man who could make my decisions (Amy and Meg also end up with older men, too).

However, I like the relationship that Laurie and Jo build as adults, as seen in glimpses in Little Men and in Jo's Boys. Laurie is creepily protective of his beautiful blonde daughter Bess and he seems to give in to Amy's whims and demands, but he and Jo stay friends. I don't remember anyone acting like that friendship is inappropriately intimate or like the romantic prospects need to be revisited - but they remain important good influences in each other's lives.
Post a comment