As I searched the library shelves for some light reading for summer I spied this intriguing title, Little Women and Werewolves. The cover picture looked like the famous March girls, but what’s that lurking in the background?
Yes, this is the story of Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth, their loving mother Marmee, their often absent father the Captain, their neighbor boy Laurie. But it seems there was another dimension to Louisa May Alcott’s original manuscript that was deemed too dark for her publisher. According to the manuscript found by Porter Grand, werewolves were also a part of the March family’s life!
The story opens:
“Christmas night will have a full moon so on top of no presents, we can’t go out,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. “It’s fortunate we thought to have a Christmas play, so we could invite friends to stay overnight, or it would have been completely ruined.”
“It’s dreadful to be so poor! And it’s a horror to have no father or brothers about to do heavy chores and protect us from the werewolves,” sighed Meg, rubbing at a spot on her old dress with her thumb.
If you love a good re-telling of a beloved story you will be fascinated by this book. You will be laughing out loud in spots, saying “oh no!” in spots. There are pages and pages of text without any reference to werewolves and then, oh my! Why did Amy’s teacher disappear? You will be shocked, shocked I tell you, when you find out who is roaming the night under the full moon, the part werewolves played in the Civil War, and which prominent citizens are wearing red on their ball gowns and waistcoats. The old-fashioned woodcut illustrations are appropriately gruesome.
Jo is still the tomboy and writer. Meg marries first. Amy wants to marry for money. Sweet Beth still dies. But why is the Captain building an altar of bones, and why are huge platters of rare meat a staple at every party? OK, I really must stop before I give away all the good parts. Just go read it and let me know what you think. I think it’s a new classic!