May 23rd, 2010

the red queen.

Review: Little Women and Werewolves by Louisa May Alcott, Porter Grand

Little Women and Werewolves

by Louisa May Alcott, Porter Grand


The famous story of Little Women as Ms. Alcott originally intended it – with werewolves!  Removed from the text of the original novel at the suggestion of a concerned editor, this long-suppressed manuscript has finally been published in full.  During the Civil War, the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – must learn how to grow into proper young women by day and worry over werewolves stalking their town at night.  When Jo and Beth discover that their handsome neighbor Laurie and his grandfather are both werewolves, they resolve to keep it a secret from the others.  After all, they’re only monsters on the night of the full moon…

So yeah.  In the spirit of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Little Women and Werewolves takes the text of an old classic and fuses with a new writer’s monstrous insertions.  It’s been a good six or eight years since I last read Alcott’s novel, but I remember it pretty well since I once played Jo in a school play.

First, the werewolves.  Since the transformation for man to werewolf only happens in the evening, on the night of the full moon, the ‘monsters’ are regular people most of the time.  So it was pretty easy for Porter Grand to keep the main characters essentially the same in personality and lifestyle.  There’s more of a threat to the girls from the Brigade, a group of men and women who search for werewolves with a witch hunter’s fanaticism, executing those suspected of being werewolves or merely being a werewolf sympathizer.   

I knew that new scenes would have to be added to fully utilize the gore potential.  Some of them were quite fun, such as when werewolf-Laurie hunts down one of Amy’s cruel teachers and eats him.  But others were quite strange.  After Mr. March returns from the war, he organizes an exhibition of the men who lost limbs during the war.  I mean, he basically makes a freak show of amputees.  It’s a fundraiser for war veterans.  That’s so weird.  After several of the amputees are eaten by werewolves, he devotes himself to creating a giant alter in the local church built from the skeletons of werewolf victims. It’s not humorous or horrible…just utterly bizarre.

Some of the characters’ personalities and relationships were changed in a way that wasn’t true to the original novel at all.  Jo wants her youngest sister Amy to die after they have a fight; Beth develops a romantic relationship with Grandfather Laurence instead of mere friendship.  I felt that the juxtaposition of Little Women’s morality tales and the semi-gothic horror wolf hunts never really meshed into a whole story.  Ultimately, I thought this monster mash-up failed. 


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