Inspiring women: Jo March

When I had to choose my third name, I chose Jo. My grandmother's name was Mary-Jo and I was crazy about her and am like her in many ways. I was also under the spell of Jo March, the protagonist of Little Women and a depiction of the book's author Louisa May Alcott. (I told the bishop I picked Jo because of St. Joseph. Sometimes, you have to pick your fights...)

Jo's got spunk in spades. Between wanting to be a writer, chopping off her long hair (her "one great beauty"), refusing Laurie's proposal and moving to New York, she was a voice of independence and strength to the young me and I dreamed of being just like her. And in many ways, I still do.

And while Jo marries Professor Bhaer in the book, Alcott later wrote, "Jo should have remained a literary spinster, but so many enthusiastic young ladies wrote to me clamorously demanding that she should marry Laurie, or somebody, that I didn't dare refuse and out of perversity went and made a funny match for her". Much as I would love there to be a story out there that didn't teach women that the only happy ending is in marriage, the thought of Gabriel Byrne as Prof Bhaer softens the blow just a little...
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