“Little Women and Me” by Lauren Baratz Logsted

“Little Women” fans, pack your bags and run for the hills. You can go singing about how the hills are alive with the sound of music if you want, but I’d still run. Though, Lauren Baratz Logsted’s new novel “Little Women and Me” (Bloomsbury, November 2011) has some interesting concepts, overall it’s a headache of a story that can’t get past the protagonist’s stupidity.

Here’s what happens: Emily, who, by sheer bad luck (and also the timeliness of her conception), is the middle child of her family. She absolutely dreads her life, despite the fact that the worst thing going for her is the boy she likes doesn’t like her back. When her English professor assigns her a paper about what she would change about her favorite novel, she gets zapped into the world of “Little Women” and begins wrecking havoc on everything she touches.

To be fair, the concept is enticing. It’s not a modern take on the novel, and the way Baratz-Logsted handles it makes for some interesting reading. The key word there is “some.” The fact that she’s transplanted into the fictional family and all the sisters immediately adjust to her presence is interesting and the way Baratz-Logsted uses it to twist the ending was unexpected.

And that’s where the novelty of the story ends.

You know that one friend who is completely boy obsessed? Yeah, that one. The one that thinks about boys and every word is about boys and it seems like she can’t get enough of anything that’s got a dangly bit, even if it doesn’t show the least amount of interest in her? The one that you only kind of like because every now and then she says something entertaining, but most of the time you want to grab the biggest book you own, preferably hardcover, and slam it into her skull?

This is essentially Emily’s character. It doesn’t matter that she’s in an interesting time period with her favorite characters of all time. All she can think about is the one boy she left behind who showed no interest in her whatsoever or manipulating the story so the only male character her age will want to get into her pants rather than Jo’s or Beth’s.

So to “Little Women” fans and the general population of people who can’t stand characters that can only think of one thing – I’d avoid this book. Though the general concept is cool and used rather well, the main character completely wrecks any enjoyment I could have had.