Why the ending of Little Women should have been different

Sinéad Moriarty muses on one of her favourite childhood stories, Little Women, and explains her preferred ending for the character Jo

When I was ten years old, I read a book that changed my life and Louisa May Alcott became my hero. Reading her most successful and famous book, Little Women, changed the way I viewed literary heroines. Jo March was the person I wanted to be. She wasn’t a beautiful rose, an elegant teenager, a perfect daughter or a studious schoolgirl. She was plain, impetuous, passionate, stubborn, wilful and loved reading and writing. This girl was right up my alley. I wanted to be her.

Little Women

Jo should have married Laurie

It still bothers me (35 years later!) that her youngest sister, Amy, was the one who ended up with gorgeous, dashing, kind, millionaire Laurie. Jo deserved to be with him, he adored her, he understood her and he was her best friend.

Penniless Professor Bhaer wasn’t what I wanted for Jo. After a childhood struggling to make ends meet, I wanted her to marry Laurie and live a life of luxury and happiness and never have to worry about money again. She would have had a lovely study in which to write her novels and a warm house and food on the table every night.

But for some reason Alcott decided that Jo would continue to struggle on with Professor Bhaer while selfish Amy lolled about in the lap of luxury with Laurie. It just doesn’t seem right!

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