Title: The Spring Girls
Author: Anna Todd
Read by: Cassandra Campbell, Madeleine Maby, Erin Mallon, Joy Osmanski
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 11 hours and 25 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster. Thank-you!
When I read the summary of The Spring Girls by Anna Todd and saw it was a modern-day retelling of Little Women, I knew I needed to read it. The Spring Girls (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) are living on a base in New Orleans with their mother waiting for their father’s return from Afghanistan. The girls experience both love and loss.
I should let it be known that I am a Little Women super fan. I’ve read the novel several times, listened to an audiobook, read many other Louisa May Alcott books including biographies of the author. I’ve watched the many movie versions too many times to count and even watched the Japanese anime version as a child.
I found the book to be a disappointing retelling of Little Women. The book goes through first person view points of the sisters and “Meredith” or Marmee from the original, with most of the story focusing on Meg rather than Jo of the original. Meg in the modern-day version is frankly a tramp, but she doesn’t want you to think of her as a tramp. This book missed what was so compelling about the original novel. The great relationships between the “Little Women” as they grew through time and came of age. It was their relationships with each other and what they wanted from life that was the focus of the novel, it was not a book about the conquest of men like The Spring Girls. The Spring Girls failed to capture the spirit of each of the original March girls. I think it would have been better served to be a standalone novel that wasn’t associated with Little Women at all.
One major segment of the book had Meg being the victim of naked pictures being passed around by an old boyfriend. This could have been something to feel sympathy about, but I had a hard time with it. Meg talked a LOT about how she used her body to get what she wanted from life and from men. No one deserves to have naked pictures of themselves passed around, but you set yourself up for that when you let your boyfriend do it. There was no personal responsibility from Meg on this or how making your way through life using your body is not a good thing. I didn’t really like her at all.
I did think it was inspiring to make the King family that Meg worked for to be a wealthy African American family. It was interesting at first to have a love interest in that family, but I thought it was strange how this was the focus and John Brooke was totally displaced. Again, if this wasn’t Little Women, maybe . . . but it was supposed to be a modern Little Women. John Brooke became a character vastly different than the original and I thought it interesting that neither man introduced Meg to their family while they were dating.
Jo has a dream to go to New York, but spends most of the novel developing a romantic relationship with Laurie. Beth can’t seem to leave the house and Amy is obnoxious, even more so than original Amy. It was kind of a strange take on Little Women.
It did work to have the family set on a military base waiting for their father’s return from Afghanistan. I wish they would have focused on that more and how the family dealt with his injuries when he returned. That seemed like a background story.
Although I didn’t care for the story, it was a great audiobook. I liked how each 1st person narrator in the book got their own narrator in the story and some of the best in the business are on this book. So strangely I enjoyed listening to this book and the audio while also really not liking the storyline.
This audiobook has a beautiful cover. I loved it and it matches the title so well.
Overall, the narration on the audio was five stars, but I’d give the actual story something like two stars. I had a hard time finishing it as I realized I didn’t really care what was going to happen in this story.