Booking Through Thursday: Rewrite

If you could rewrite the ending of any book, which book would it be? And how would you change it?

Oh, there’s plenty of books that need a punchier ending, especially installments in a series. But my immediate reaction to seeing this question was to change the ending of Little Women.

In Little Women, Jo and Laurie are clearly meant for each other–they’re adorable and a little awkward around each other, they get each other, and Laurie is handsome and loaded. But because Jo was based on Louisa May Alcott and Laurie was based on a friend, Alcott was reluctant to pair them off, despite the outpouring of fan mail demanding it. (Little Women was published in two parts.) To spite them, Alcott paired Laurie off with one of Jo’s sisters and Jo off with a German professor twice her age. As you can imagine, I was not happy to see this, and I’d change the ending to have Jo and Laurie end up together.

If I could change one thing more, I’d keep Lev Grossman from writing that sequel to The Magicians; having a sequel destroys the beautifully ambiguous ending of the first book. But who knows? He might pull it off well, so I think I’d just stick with the Little Women rewrite.

14 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday: Rewrite

  1. I kind of liked the ending to Little Women, because, if Jo and Laurie would have ended up together, the ending would have been predictable, but as it is, even though it made me sad that they didn’t end up together, it wasn’t so predictable. That’s just my two cents, which isn’t worth much these days. hehe

  2. I am with you on Little Women. Some things just should be a certain way! I recently read Like Water for Chocolate and felt the same way about the end. Two people who should NOT have ended up together did. It frustrates me! Especially when it happens at the end, once I’ve invested all that reading time.

    The other one I’d change is The Kite Runner. Not the plot, but the writing. I really loved the first half of the book, then all of a sudden the writing style did a one-eighty and it was like I was reading a different book. I understand that maybe it was supposed to mirror the main character’s feelings, but it didn’t work for me.

    • Even the film version had to make excuses, although it did what it could–Jo never shows interest in Laurie, as she does in the book, and Laurie and Amy are set up from the start. (There’s this adorable exchange where little Amy asks Laurie to promise to kiss her if she hasn’t been kissed by the time she’s of a proper age for him; he agrees.)

      Oh, that’s a good idea!

  3. Yes, Little Women was the first book that came to mind for me, too. Hated that ending when I was a kid. I can see now that it was inevitable and perfect, but back then I actually wept when Laurie showed up with Amy.

    Can’t imagine a sequel to The Magicians. Is Grossman really going to try that?

    • …I still hate it. The film version with Christian Bale is the only one that makes me like Laurie and Amy together, as they’re set up from the beginning instead of just being paired off to keep Laurie from being a threat to Jo and the professor.

      Yes, he is. It’s called The Magician King and focuses on Quentin and friends five years after taking up the thrones in Fillory–it’s loosely based on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I am not happy about this.

  4. I agree, Jo and Laurie belong together. I love the book but the ending could be better.

    I liked The Magicians but I don’t want a second book. Honestly, I don’t think I could take a second book with those characters.

  5. It would be awkward to pair up your fictional self with a fictional version of someone you didn’t actually marry. But I feel like I read somewhere that Laurie was a blend of two people Alcott knew. Still awkward, I guess.

    That said, I was furious when Laurie married rubbish Amy. And she called him “my lord”. This sounds like it would be terrible for Laurie! Jo would have kept him in line, and then not married that rubbish professor who made her stop writing adventure stories.

  6. I agree about Little Women! Even though I read it multiple times as a child, when I read it as an adult I had totally forgotten that Jo and Laurie don’t end up together and it made me mad all over again! I guess I wanted them together so much that in my head they did end up together. 🙂

  7. So true! I always felt so cheated when Amy and Laurie paired up, and thought the most recent film version did a good job, if only by the casting of Gabriel Byrne as the Prof 🙂

    Another book I wish I could change the ending is ‘Tigana’ by Guy Gavriel Kay. I know the ending he wrote is tragically apt, I just really wish Baerd and Dianora could have met again.

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