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28 May 2018

The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

REVIEW BY ROSAMUND FEENEY

It's not easy to take on a classic, but Anna Todd does just that in 'The Spring Girls' which describes itself as a modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

the spring girls 9781501130717 hr

Set in 2017's New Orleans, the Spring sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy - live with their mother on an army base while their father is stationed in Iraq. Their lives are far from the March sisters as these girls cope with online bullying, anxiety and American politics, but the narrative of four sisters entering adulthood remains the same.

The plot line is familiar as we follow the girls over a year, beginning with the deployment of their father and arrival of their neighbour Laurie. Some elements of the characters don't quite translate to the modern setting although I can't see a way in which they would. Jo's aspiration to have a career rather than a boyfriend doesn't make her as shocking as her 1868 counterpart, and instead I found 20 year old Meg's obsession with getting married to John Brooke and having children just too out of place for a woman in 2017. Despite this, Beth and Amy have managed to keep their roles as the most selfless and innocent members of the household and the dynamics between the girls are unchanged.

There are multiple references to the original, including an incident with a hair-straightener and the opening line 'Christmas just wont be Christmas without any presents,' which does make this a bit of a comfort read. While those familiar with the March sisters are likely to enjoy this more, Todd has managed to capture the craziness and love of the family which made Little Women such a classic

And for those wondering what happens to Beth in this version, I'm not going to give any spoilers!