When I was little, one of my most prized possessions was a collection of six thick novels with matching red covers. A present from my grandmother, they had been hers when she was a girl. The six novels did not match merely by chance, but because they were a set of stories that continued together: Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, and Rose in Bloom.
As I child, I never read them. I kept them neatly on the top shelf of my bookcase, organized neatly into a row. I liked to stare up at their maroon spines, all exactly the same height and nearly the same width. It seemed so orderly and mature to have those matching books on my shelf. Then we moved, and I packed them away never to unpack those tomes again.
Although the setting for Little Women is the Civil War, I settled on it for my second “lolita” book because of a regret for not having read those treasured gifts. I knew vaguely of the tale enough to think it could be tied together at least somewhat. After all, through lolita fashion I had found friends dear enough to me to think of sisters and relatives, and together we have been through trials of all kinds.
I was not disappointed. I found the text engaging, and enjoyed following the story of the four girls who each had their own hardships, disappointments, and joys. None of the characters are flat–each has her good and bad sides, just as all people do. Even though they develop through the story as they try their hardest to live good lives, each retains a humanity that makes them seem real. It seems obvious that experiences inspired the best of the work.
I believe that lolita fashion is strongly about being a young lady. The appearance is childish, but the clothing does not directly resemble children’s fashion. There are certainly elements that conjure up images of rosy-cheeked little girls, but the wearer is decidedly intended to be older as the clothing is made to an adult size. Little Women offers advice that any romantic, old-fashioned young lady can take to heart. It does not chide one for longing to hold onto youth but provides guidance looking towards the future.