Cover Image: So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix

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Member Reviews

Thanks to Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Young Listeners, and NetGalley for an advanced listening copy. 

I have never read Little Women, but have been wanting to. When I saw it reimagined with a Black-centric twist, I had to get it. This is the story of 4 sisters growing up in North Carolina during the Civil War. Roanoke is a colony of freedmen and women. The March girls all have different aspirations, but they are sisters with shared dreams who love each other mightily. There were some interesting historical aspects here as well.
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I really wanted to like this book and there were some really good aspects... The history of the freed colonies was interesting, although(without having dinner a lot of research into it), the book made things there (during the war no less) seem a little easier than what I would suspect would have been a hard scrabble existence. I would have like this better if there has not been an effort to force Alcott's Little Women into it...I would have liked the characters for themselves rather than noticing the similarities or discrepancies to Alcott's characters.
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A fascinating look at the four March sisters if their story was reimagined from a different perspective of the Civil War. Kudos to the author for creating such a fascinating new angle on a classic story!

The tone of the book is a bit more serious than the original classic. I learned about some interesting bits of history I didn't know about before, like the Freedmen's Colony on Roanoke Island (such a fascinating setting... I want to know more!). Other changes that I really enjoyed include the new names of the girls, like Amy's name is Amethyst, and Beth's name is Bethlehem (love it!). I also love Amy's story arc (which you'll have to read the book to find out about; it's good!).

Recommended for readers of historical fiction, black interest, and fans of Little Women.

Suitable for: 13 and up - Adults
(For subtle hints at mature topics.)

Audiobook listeners:
I so enjoyed the audio version. Great narrator! Definitely recommendable.
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Have you ever read a book and thought, "This is so good! How has this not been done before?"

That's how I felt about Bethany C. Morrow's So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix. Admittedly, retelling a classic is hard to pull off successfully and many authors fail in the attempt. However, I think Morrow struck the perfect balance of paying homage to the original, while also creating a story that felt fresh, relevant, and entirely its own. I loved seeing the March sisters reimagined as a newly freed Black family on Roanoke Island during the American Civil War.  It's the classic remix I never knew I needed, but am so appreciative of (swipe for a synopsis and close-up of the cover). 

Many thanks to @Macmillian.audio for a gifted audio copy in exchange for an honest review.  I listened to this around the same time as Legendborn, and found the two to be very complimentary. Both made me more curious about the history of the South in the US, particularly the history most of us did not grow up learning about.
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This was a really well done retelling of Little Women. I liked the historical aspect (set in the Reconstruction era), and changing the March family to former slaves building their new lives. Some relationships were changed up and I enjoyed that as well. I think I just wanted a little more from some of the story lines. Definitely worth a read! The audiobook was narrated fantastically, and I think that helped keep me interested in the story. Almost 3.5stars

Thanks to MCPG and Macmillan Audio for the gifted advanced copies in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This remix keeps the bones of the original and shows the perspective of four young freed slaves from the Colony of Roanoke Island. The characters are strong women with the same ties to their family as the original March sisters had. This story stands alone and is an enjoyable story while exploring the challenges during the time period.
The audiobook is narrated by Adenrele Ojo and the author . Their reading is enjoyable and easily to follow the characters. Highly recommend this audiobook and title for those who like historical fiction and who throughly enjoyed Little Women by Lousia Alcott.
I received an ARC eaudiobook from NetGalley and the publisher, MacMillan Children’s Publishing , in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this rendition of the LIttle Women. I am big fan of the original and liked to see the similarities that the author drew out of the characters and situations while staying on your toes through the unknown. I think fans of the original will like the book but it may be confusing or not as fast paced as some readers would like who have not read the original by Louisa May Alcott.
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As a kid who loved Little Women, this re-imagining tugged on my heartstrings in a BIG way. I got both the book and the audio book (so the review will be the same). But i appreciated the new outcomes for the characters. I felt "SEEN" as a Black person who had ancestors living during this time in American history.
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DNF. I really liked the premise but the writing did not work for me at all. It wouldn't be fair to the book if I finished reading and gave it a low rating.
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This is a retelling (or remix, as the subtitle calls it) of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. The four March sisters are similar to those we know, and at the same time very different because they are young Black women who were born slaves. Set during and after the Civil War, in the freed people colony of Roanoke island, where the Marches have finally been able to settle after they escaped slavery. Meg is a teacher, passing on her literacy to other freed people, Jo is a great communicator, now able to put her thoughts to paper rather than writing them in her head and sharing them orally, Beth is gentle and ailing, and adopted daughter Amy is the first of the March family who has the luxury of a childhood, unlike her sisters who all remember the brutality of their former lives as slaves. 

First of all, I have to admit I was never a big fan of Little Women, which probably makes it easier for me to enjoy this remix of the story. Whenever something occurs differently from what I remember, I’m able to think of the reasons behind the change, and how it develops the world and the characters rather than regret the difference. 

The historical setting is detailed and rich, affording a glimpse into the freed people’s hopes  and their disappointments caused by the ways that white people failed them by appeasing former slave owners and generally being patronizing or racist, or both. The writing style felt very 19th century, an effect that’s accentuated by the narrator, Adenrele Ojo, whose voice, speech rhythm, and intonation, almost gave the impression of eavesdropping on a 19th century woman’s personal correspondance. 

The novel is hopeful, but it also very sad, especially in light of how depressingly little has changed since then. A lot of it is bittersweet, and I find it has stayed with me after I finished listening to the audiobook, as if it isn’t quite done with me yet. It is very rare that a book has that effect on me, so I have to highly recommend reading it. 

I like the idea of these remixed classics, seeing how different perspectives have an effect on the old familiar stories. I loved the surprises, the ways in which So Many Beginnings departed from Little Women, even though I admit that, once again, the character of Beth was a little less distinct than her sisters.
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So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow  is a surprising mix of historical fiction, coming of age and powerful insight into the black experience during the American Civil War. The 4 March sisters in this retelling keep the distinct personality traits from the original but what is unique is seeing their differences as freed slaves living in the Freedpeople's colony on Roanoke Island, NC in 1863. Jo's penchant for writing takes on a whole new dynamic as she writes about slavery and human rights. 

The author narrates this moving story along with Adenrele Ojo. They give us an emotional journey as the sisters come of age and deal with first love, heartache, health issues and a new way of life. The beauty of the story, as in the original, is they deal with life together.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publisher via #Netgalley for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
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💭My review:🐻
I wanted to read this book because I am a big fan of the original novel Little woman. I also love the cover it really drew me and it's so pretty and fits the story so well. I really enjoyed this version, it was so different yet so the same. I think the author did a really good job on the story, I think her writing is so beautiful. The details really made you feel the story. I enjoyed the book and I'm very happy I got to read it.

*Thanks to NetGalley, MacMillan Children's Publishing Group, MacMillan for giving me the chance of reviewing this novel.
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DNF at 20%. At this point, I just think that there's some sort of mismatch between Morrow's writing and me. I have zero luck with her books. Within the short time frame, I was not a fan of the writing. It just felt clunky. I was interested in the characters. I just didn't feel drawn into this story.
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One sentence review:  I loved everything about this Little Women remix set in the Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island in 1863 during the Civil War.

Two important facts about me:  1. I was obsessed by Little Women when I was a kid. 2. I'm a historian.  

For me So Many Beginnings took everything I loved from those original Little Women books - sisterhood, the strength of family, and women finding and being their true selves  - and put it into a historic setting that our American educational system largely ignores.  Morrow also takes some part of the story that have always bugged me a little and gives them a spin that I was 100% there for.

My thoughts:

- I loved that this book centers around freed slaves in the Roanoke Colony.  I really learned a lot.  Morrow does such a great job of showing the complexities of this time in history and the varieties of emotions of the different characters and how there was not universal agreement with regards to settlements or black people's relationship to the Union Army.  It was a tumultuous time and this book really captures that.
- This book, much like Little Women, is a slow burn.  It meanders itself through the characters and slowly brings them to life.  I think Morrow does an excellent job of staying true to the original text, while making a few key changes which help to modernize the text a bit and perhaps make it a bit more accessible for today's YA audience.  I liked the changes.  A Little Women purist may not.
- I think this would be such a valuable piece of literature for either high school English or History courses (or an adjunct between the two).  There are so many great topics addressed in this book that could lead to such great discussions.  I'll qualify this by saying  my kid's high school recently added The Hate You Give and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe to their supplementary reading in 10th grade so it isn't beyond the realm of possibility.

Long story short - I think this is a really well done remix on Little Women.  It is historical while at the same time hits issues that are timely and put a historical perspective on race relations in the United States that seem particularly relevant today.

NARRATION:  The audio on this one was well done.  The narrator handled a wide cast of characters in such a way that I was able to keep their roles straight.
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The original Little Women was the first book that ever made me cry while reading, and has long held a special place in my heart, so when I saw that Bethany C. Morrow would be writing a retelling, So Many Beginnings was pushed straight to the top of my tbr. One thing I think is especially refreshing about So Many Beginnings is that it is a "remix" rather than just a retelling, which I think allowed for some fantastic changes to be made to the source material. I won't share any spoilers here, but I must say that So Many Beginnings had a couple of well-executed divergences from Little Women which made me love the story even more. Bethany C. Morrow brought a new perspective into a well-loved classic, bringing a new level of depth to each of the characters.

I listened to the audiobook of So Many Beginnings, which I think had a hand in making me love this story so completely. The narrator, Adanrele Ojo, had a fantastic cadence to her storytelling, and her voices for the characters were amazing! Multiple times, I had to stop what I was doing because I had gotten lost in listening to the story.

My Recommendation-
So Many Beginnings should be required reading for any and all fans of Little Women, and of stories filled with sisterhood and strong women. I would especially recommend So Many Beginnings to anyone looking for an engaging audiobook to listen to at the start of this fall season!
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I love that this remix is historically accurate and highlights previously disregarded stories of real lives. It was really well written. I think I liked the remix of Jo's character the best because I think she highlights black feminism a bit.
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An Underrepresented Part of History

SO MANY BEGINNINGS is a historic retelling of LITTLE WOMEN following a Black family in the early reconstruction-era South. A joy to listen to, the audiobook narration somehow manages to capture the often emotional journeys of the March sisters while remaining almost hypnotically calm and poetic.

I was hesitant going into reading this story, because when there are many protagonists, I can often get lost and confused which plotline belongs to which character. Yet, Morrow does a fantastic job making each March sister so unique and detailed, they seem to jump off the page as real people, flawed and yet lovable.

Admittedly, I have never read the original LITTLE WOMEN (gasp!), so I can make no comment on how closely this book models the other. Morrow’s retelling, however, just might tempt me enough to pick up Alcott’s.
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Black girlhood is an undersung experience, especially in periods where most can only conceive of their oppression, such as the years of 1863-1866 covered in So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix. We are lucky then that Bethany C. Morrow, champion of Black girl to womanhood, helms this venerable entry into the lexicon, using her sharp observance in depicting the nuanced dynamic among the ladies of the March family behind the overwhelming challenges they face.

It has never been easy to be a Black woman in Western society, yet we have never had any issue finding our joy. For the March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (in age order), nothing brings them more joy than reveling in each other’s hopes and dreams, aiding these pursuits where they can. For Meg, that means encouraging her burgeoning hopes of finding the ideal suitor in a community still finding its footing post-Emancipation with several prospects enlisting in the Civil War. As the oldest March daughter, she’s the one most adept at gauging how their family’s talents and needs can best be met under the guidance of the mother, Minnie. So when it comes to Jo’s possible pursuit of writing and romance, it is Meg who makes the suggestion that helps both Jo and Amy move closer to their dreams. Amy, in typical youngest child fashion, cannot sit still such that even her untrained dancing catches the attention of a young white woman with a connection to a dancing academy in Boston. She is excited to take on this opportunity despite the heartsickness it brings on being away from much of her family. However, Boston may hold more than enough excitement to take matters of her heart into another direction entirely. Kept home to treat a mysterious chronic illness, Beth tends to use her talent as a seamstress to explore the area around Roanoke Colony. Yet, seeking better understanding for the disease that ails her may lead her onto the greatest journey of any March family member.

As a lover of historical fiction, I was excited to learn that Morrow was taking on the genre by remixing Little Women—a story that I enjoyed in middle school but which didn’t hold up for me as an adult. How could it when it presents an idyllic white womanhood devoid of any true analysis of the world around them during the Civil War? Morrow shows that being Black means never having the convenience of ignoring the impact of the world around us on our daily lives—because most things impact us. In this novel, we see Meg make decisions that weigh the level of literacy she can help the freedmen in their community achieve. Jo joins in on community efforts from building houses to writing about her enslavement in hopes of popularizing the intense reality of Black life. Every March lady makes her voice heard and considers the best way to envision lives of their own while pushing back at any signs of oppression in their emancipation—Beth, in particular, refuses to use materials once worn by the people who owned the big house near the colony. This precise examination of the U.S. as it is in 1863, which sadly mirrors much of the U.S. today, is the insightful voice that I’d hoped to hear in Morrow’s handling of this material and research of this period. 

If you, too, are a sucker for a good historical fiction piece, especially one that centers Black girlhood, then you simply MUST pick up this book. Come for the familiar family dynamic, stay for a fresh remix that gives exactly what needs to be given.
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I absolutely loved little women so I knew I had to read this one as well! I enjoyed the newly remixed version of a classic and really enjoyed getting to know the characters
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I love the idea for this: a re-telling of Little Women where the family are living in a community of freed slaves during the American Civil War. When the story was focused on the lives of the sisters rather than shoehorning in references/re-tellings from Little Women, it was powerful and compelling. I particularly loved the change to Jo's disagreement with her potential publisher. All in all, it was good, but a lot of it felt really held back by trying to stay "true" to the original.

The narrator was Adenrele Ojo and she was good; there were moments where the characters voices were indistinct, but it wasn't a hardship in any way.

I received a copy of this audiobook from NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for free in exchange for an honest, voluntary review.
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