Tandem x Indie Publishers Showcase

Here at the Tandem Collective we love working with Independent Presses and we do what we can to support them – Which is why we’re bringing you this amazing showcase event chock full of upcoming releases from all of your favourite Indies!

Hosted by the incredible Leena Norms, we’ll have 5 panels from retellings to self-discovery, crime to heartbreaking family sagas. There really is something for everyone!

Pim Wangtechawat is on a panel to discuss “FAMILY – Moving Forward and Looking Back” with the following authors: Onyi Nwabineli (author of Someday, Maybe), Josh Silver (Happy Head) and Hanne Ørstavik (Ti Amo).


Library Journal Day of Dialog 2023 Panel

For more than two decades, Library Journal’s Day of Dialog has been the most anticipated librarian-only gathering of the year. Now it’s gone digital and is free to attend! The next all-day event is scheduled for May 4 and will feature a close-up look at the biggest forthcoming books for summer/fall 2023. 

Once again, you’ll hear from top authors in genre fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction. And you still get to dialog by visiting virtual booths, talking with authors, and networking with colleagues.

Pim Wangtechawat is on a panel to discuss her debut novel, The Moon Represents My Heart, alongside authors whose novels share the theme of “Family”: Adrienne Brodeur (author of Little Monsters), J.C. Cervantes (The Enchanted Hacienda) and Jenny Xie (Holding Pattern).

Event times: 9:00 AM ET – 5:30 PM ET 


Periods, Prose and Poetry Workshop

In collaboration with non-profit organisation HER, author Pim Wangtechawat hosts a workshop to empower female bodies, minds, and spirits through writing. The workshop is full of activities to help spark your creativity, and create and share works that are fun, experimental, and expressive.

An empowering, intimate, and refreshing experience, the workshop reminds us to love our bodies, express gratitude, and never lose sight of who we are.

Thank you everyone who joined us, and we hope you enjoyed the reflective conversations, sentimental memories, and authentic pieces that were shared!

Netflix and 21Laps have optioned Pim Wangtechawat’s forthcoming debut novel ‘The Moon Represents My Heart.”

In advance of the second half of Stranger Things season four premiering tomorrow, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Netflix and 21 Laps are staying in the supernatural business.

As part of the production company’s overall deal with the streamer, the two have optioned The Moon Represents My Heart, the forthcoming debut novel from Pim Wangtechawat, in a competitive situation and will develop the project as a limited series. Grandview sold the option rights on behalf of Mushens Entertainment’s Liza DeBlock.

Executive producing alongside 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy and Josh Barry is Gemma Chan, who also is attached to star in the story about a British-Chinese family with the secret ability to time travel. After the parents vanish, their son and daughter search for them across time while coming of age as adults.

21 Laps senior vp Emily Morris, who brought the book to Netflix, will oversee the project for the producers alongside manager Moera Ainai.

The Moon Represents My Heart (incidentally, also the title of a Mandarin pop classic made famous by Teresa Teng in 1977) will be published next spring by OneWorld Publications in the U.K., with Italian rights sold to Keller Editore.

In addition to her upcoming onscreen work (which includes Olivia Wilde’s thriller Don’t Worry Darling, Apple’s climate change anthology series Extrapolations and New Regency’s sci-fi feature True Love), Chan’s slate as an executive producer includes an upcoming Anna May Wong biopic produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi and Working Title and penned by Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang.

The Eternals star is represented by M88, the U.K.’s Independent and WME.

Book Launch “Belittled Citizens: The Cultural Politics of Childhood on Bangkok’s Margins”

I feel so honoured to be invited by SEA JUNCTION (South East Asia Junction) to speak about Thai childhood at the book launch for Giuseppe Bolotta’s BELITTLED CITIZENS: THE CULTURAL POLITICS OF CHILDHOOD ON BANGKOK’S MARGINS on 28th December, 2021.

I had the pleasure of reviewing this book for the Mekong Review, and got to interview so many amazing kids as a result. The review is one of my favourite pieces I’ve ever written. It was a great experience providing commentary at the book launch and being part of a discussion about a topic that is so close to my heart.

Mentoring Sessions


Mentoring sessions are led by the mentee’s preferences. During our first session, we will discuss how the mentee would like to utilise this mentorship program, and all the following sessions will be planned accordingly. Workload will also be adjusted to fit the mentee’s schedule.

The sessions might look like this:

SESSION 1 (60 minutes) Free Writing & Let’s Get to Know Each Other!

  • Get to know the mentee
  • Discuss the mentee’s writing and previous experience
  • Free Writing activity
  • Discuss how the mentee would like to utilise this mentorship program
  • “What kind of author are you?” (Passionate Topics VS Comfort Narratives) 
  • Homework – bring a piece of writing for discussion

SESSION 2  (60 minutes) Purpose & Themes

  • Masterclass the mentee’s work
  • What is the importance of “Purpose” in writing?
  • What is your purpose as a writer?
  • What themes are you interested in? How do these tie into your purpose as a writer?
  • Homework – bring ten story ideas

SESSION 3  (60 minutes) Ten Story Ideas

  • Discuss the mentee’s ten story ideas
  • Start developing the strongest two ideas
  • What are the themes and purposes of these two stories?

SESSION 4 (60 minutes) Characters

  • Discuss different types of characters
  • How to start building characters (Wants VS Needs)
  • Start creating characters for the mentee’s two story ideas
  • Homework – write a character piece for one of the story ideas

SESSION 5 (60 minutes) Narrative Viewpoint

  • Masterclass mentee’s homework 
  • Discuss different narrative viewpoints – first person, third person etc.
  • Which narrative viewpoint would the mentee like to use for their current project?
  • Homework – write a short story using a particular narrative viewpoint

SESSION 6 (60 minutes) World-building

  • Masterclass a short story
  • Why is world-building important?
  • Magic system (Hard Magic VS Soft Magic)
  • Let the mentee try their hand at world-building

SESSION 7 (60 minutes) Structure

  • Discuss different act structures, such as the Three-Act Structure, Five-Act Structure etc.
  • Different storytelling tropes, such as the Hero’s Journey, the Virgin’s Promise, Rags to Riches etc. 

SESSION 8 (60 minutes) Poetry / Novel / Short Stories

  • Discuss and analyse various poems and poets
  • Let the mentee try their hand at poetry
  • Discuss mentee’s current writing project (ie. short story, poetry collection, novel etc.)

SESSION 9  (60 minutes) Novel / Short Stories

  • Discuss mentee’s current writing project (ie. short story, poetry collection, novel etc.)

SESSION 10 (60 minutes) Q&A / Publication Process / Link up with other mentees 

  • Discuss the journey to publication
  • Q&A
  • Connect with other mentees
  • Final touches on mentee’s current writing project

ใน Session แรก นักเรียนและ Mentor จะพูดคุยกันว่านักเรียนต้องการอะไรจากโปรแกรมนี้ และ Session ที่เหลือจะถูกปรับเปลี่ยนตามความต้องการของนักเรียน รวมทั้งจำนวนการบ้าน

Mentoring Sessions อาจเป็นไปตามรูปแบบนี้

SESSION 1 (60 นาที) Free Writing & Let’s Get to Know Each Other!

  • ทำความรู้จักนักเรียน
  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับงานเขียนและประสบการณ์ของนักเรียน
  • กิจกรรม Free Writing
  • สอบถามว่านักเรียนอยากได้อะไรจากโปรแกรมนี้
  • “คุณเป็นนักเขียนแบบไหน” (Passionate Topics VS Comfort Narratives) 
  • การบ้าน – นำงานเขียนมาพูดคุยกัน

SESSION 2  (60 นาที) Purpose & Themes

  • Masterclass งานเขียนที่นักเรียนนำมา
  • ความสำคัญของ “Purpose” (เป้าหมาย) ในงานเขียน
  • เป้าหมายของคุณในฐานะนักเขียน คือ อะไร?
  • นักเรียนสนใจ Themes อะไร? Themes เหล่านี้เกี่ยวข้องกับ Purpose ของนักเรียนอย่างไร?
  • การบ้าน – นำไอเดียเรื่องมาสิบไอเดีย

SESSION 3  (60 นาที) Ten Story Ideas

  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับไอเดียสิบเรื่องของนักเรียน
  • เริ่มพัฒนาสองไอเดียที่ดีที่สุด
  • Themes และ Purpose ของสองเรื่องนี้ คือ อะไร?

SESSION 4 (60 นาที) Characters

  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับตัวละครหลายๆประเภท
  • เริ่มสร้างตัวละครอย่างไร (Wants VS Needs)
  • เริ่มสร้างตัวละครสำหรับสองไอเดียของนักเรียน
  • การบ้าน – เขียนตัวละครใหม่สำหรับหนึ่งในไอเดีย

SESSION 5 (60 นาที) Narrative Viewpoint

  • Masterclass การบ้านของนักเรียน
  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับมุมมองการเล่าเรื่องต่างๆ เช่น first person, third person ฯลฯ
  • นักเรียนอยากใช้มุมมองไหนเพื่อเล่าเรื่องไอเดียของตัวเอง
  • การบ้าน – เขียนเรื่องสั้นโดยใช้มุมมองการเล่าเรื่องแบบใหม่

SESSION 6 (นาที) World-building

  • Masterclass เรื่องสั้นของนักเรียน
  • World-building หรือ “การสร้างโลกแฟนตาซี” สำคัญอย่างไร?
  • เวทมนตร์ในโลกแฟนตาซี (Hard Magic VS Soft Magic)
  • ให้นักเรียนลองสร้างโลกแฟนตาซี

SESSION 7 (60 นาที) Structure

  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับโครงสร้างเรื่องต่างๆ เช่น the Three-Act Structure, Five-Act Structure ฯลฯ
  • รูปแบบการเล่าเรื่องต่างๆ เช่น the Hero’s Journey, the Virgin’s Promise, Rags to Riches ฯลฯ

SESSION 8 (60 นาที) Poetry / Novel / Short Stories

  • ศึกษาบทกลอนและนักกวีต่างๆ
  • ให้นักเรียนลองเขียนบทกลอน
  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับโปรเจ็คของนักเรียน (เช่น เรื่องสั้น กลอน นวนิยาย ฯลฯ)

SESSION 9  (60 นาที) Novel / Short Stories

  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับโปรเจ็คของนักเรียน (เช่น เรื่องสั้น กลอน นวนิยาย ฯลฯ)

SESSION 10 (60 นาที) Q&A / Publication Process / Link up with other mentees 

  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับเส้นทางสู่การตีพิพม์หนังสือ
  • Q&A
  • ทำความรู้จักนักเรียนคนอื่นๆ
  • พูดคุยเกี่ยวกับโปรเจ็คของนักเรียน (เช่น เรื่องสั้น กลอน นวนิยาย ฯลฯ)

Free Mentorship Program for Young Thai Writers


This mentorship program provides: 

  • 10 one-on-one mentoring sessions (1 hour each) either in person or through Zoom in Thai and/or English FREE of charge! — there is no need to feel pressured or intimidated. Sessions are conducted in a friendly and collaborative manner, with the aim of empowering and educating young Thais to pursue their writing passion/goals 
  • Sessions are personalised according to each mentee’s preferences – for more details on what these sessions might look like, click here.
  • The chance to create new writing (poems, plays, screenplays, short stories, personal essays, novels etc.)
  • Support and advice on current or new writing projects
  • Lessons on specific writing techniques, such as World-Building, Character-Building, Thematic Architecture, Structure and Narrative Viewpoint etc.
  • Skills on how to critique and improve your own work 
  • Information on how to embark on a writing career 
  • The opportunity to build connections with other writers
  • Fun writing activities that encourage you to explore your creativity and who you are as a writer

This mentorship program is for: 

  • Young Thai nationals who are 14-18 years old (high school age) only, who are currently residing in Thailand 
  • Those who are interested in or are passionate about writing — writing experience (including publication) is not required
  • Writers at beginner’s level (in both Thai and/or English) 
  • Those who are interested in pursuing writing as a career
  • Those who are working on a writing project (poetry collection, play, screenplay, novel etc.) and require mentorship or assistance 
  • Those who have the dedication and the time to attend mentoring sessions and do extra writing to a certain degree

How to Apply (before 31 December 2021):

  • Only 2-3 mentees are selected for this first round (those who aren’t selected shouldn’t be discouraged — keep writing and apply again!) 
  • Send an email to pimsupaw@hotmail.co.uk before 31 December 2021
    • Put “Free Mentorship for Young Thai Writers” in the subject email
    • In the body of the email, introduce yourself — your full name, last name, nickname, age, school and year of study (fun facts are also welcome!) 
    • In the body of the email, answer the following questions:
      1. Why are you applying to this mentorship program? What do you hope to get out of it? 
      2. How much experience do you have? (It’s okay if you don’t have a lot or any — it’s just necessary to gauge how much writing you’ve done!)
    • Include a writing sample (attached to the email as a Word Document) that is no more than 3000 words and no less than 200 — the writing can be anything! Including articles, poems, short stories, personal essays, fan-fiction, plays, screenplay, an excerpt from a novel etc. 
  • Mentees will be selected and notified one week after the application deadline

Mentor’s Qualifications — Pim Wangtechawat

  • Author of the novel The Moon Represents My Heart, which will be published in the UK in 2023 by OneWorld Publications and in Italy by Keller Editore
  • Freelance writer whose work has appeared in many literary journals, magazines and websites, including Nikkei Asian Review, Mekong Review, YesPoetry, The Sekie UK, Den of Geek etc. 
  • Graduated with a Distinction from the Creative Writing MA program at Edinburgh Napier University 
  • Graduated with Upper Second Class Honours in English Literature from King’s College London
  • Graduated with an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from New International School of Thailand as an English A1 High Level and Thai A1 Higher Level student
  • Speaker at Ruamrudee International School and Chulalongkorn University 
  • A judge for the “Rise Your Voice Contest” by Union International
  • Poet who has performed her poetry at various events 
  • For more information — IG: @pim.wangtechawat / Twitter: @PimsupaW / Line: @pimkaprao

โปรแกรม Mentorship ฟรี! สำหรับนักเขียนเยาวชนไทย

  • 10 ครั้ง (1 ชั่วโมงต่อครั้ง)​ แบบตัวต่อตัวและเป็นกันเอง ทั้งผ่านช่องทางออนไลน์หรือต่อหน้า เป็นภาษาอังกฤษหรือไทย – เป้าหมายของโปรแกรม คือ เพื่อให้กำลังใจและความรู้แก่เยาวชนไทยในการเขียนสร้างสรรค์ โดยไม่ต้องชำระค่าใช้จ่ายใดๆ
  • Session แต่ละชั่วโมงปรับเปลี่ยนตามความต้องการของนักเรียน สำหรับรายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม คลิกที่นี่
  • โอกาสสร้างงานเขียนใหม่ๆ (กลอน ละครเวที บทภาพยนตร์ เรื่องสั้น เรียงความสว่นตัว นวนิยาย ฯลฯ)
  • สนับสนุนและให้คำปรึกษาเกี่ยวกับงานเขียนที่นักเรียนต้องการเขียนหรือกำลังเขียนอยู่ 
  • ให้ข้อมูลและเทคนิดการเขียนขั้นเบื้องต้น (เช่น World-Building, Thematic Architecture, การวางโครงสร้างนวนิยาย การเขียนบทกลอน ฯลฯ)
  • สอนให้นักเรียนวิจารณ์หรือปรับปรุงผลงานได้ด้วยตนเอง 
  • ให้ข้อมูลเกี่ยวกับอาชีพการเป็นนักเขียน 
  • โอกาสทำความรู้จักกับเพื่อนนักเขียนใหม่ๆ 
  • ส่งเสริมความคิดสร้างสรรค์ และมองการเขียนเป็นกิจกรรมที่สนุก 


  • วัยรุ่นสัญชาติไทย อายุ 14-18 ปี (มัธยมปลาย หรือ High School) ที่พำนักอาศัยอยู่ในเมืองไทยเท่านั้น
  • ผู้สนใจหรือรักการเขียน (ทั้งภาษาอังกฤษและไทย) ไม่จำเป็นต้องมีประสบการณ์มากหรือได้รับการตีพิมพ์มาก่อน 
  • ผู้ที่กำลังเขียนเรื่องสั้น นวนิยาย กลอน ฯลฯ และต้องการคำแนะนำหรือการช่วยเหลือ 
  • ผู้ที่มีความตั้งใจจริง และสามารถมีเวลาเรียนหรือเขียนงานได้ในระดับนึง 

วิธีสมัคร (ก่อน 31 ธันวาคม 2021)

  • เลือกรับแค่ 2-3 คนเท่านั้นในรอบแรก (ผู้ไม่ได้รับเลือกไม่ควรท้อแท้ ฝึกเขียนต่อไปและลองสมัครใหม่รอบหน้า!)
  • ส่งอีเมลมาที่ pimsupaw@hotmail.co.uk ก่อนวันที่ 31 ธันวาคม 2021
    • หัวข้ออีเมล Free Mentorship for Young Thai Writers
    • อีเมลแนะนำตัว – ชื่อเต็มพร้อมนามสกุล อายุ โรงเรียน และปีการศึกษา
    • ตอบ 2 คำถามนี้ในอีเมล 
      • ทำไมสนใจและอยากร่วม Mentorship Program นี้?
      • มีประสบการณ์การเขียนมากขนาดไหน? (ไม่จำเป็นต้องมีประสบการณ์หรือได้รับการตีพิมพ์มาก่อน แค่ให้ข้อมูลเพื่อให้รู้ว่าเคยเขียนมามากขนาดไหน) 
    • ตัวอย่างการเขียนแนบมากับอีเมลเป็น Word Document ประมาณไม่เกิน 3000 คำและไม่ต่ำกว่า 200 คำ จะเป็นบทความ บทกลอน เรื่องสั้น FanFiction นวนิยายหนึ่งบท ฯลฯ ทั้งภาษาไทยและอังกฤษ
  • จะได้รับคำตอบภายใน 1 อาทิตย์หลัง deadline 

ประวัติ Mentor – พิมสุภา (พิม) หวังเดชะวัฒน์ 

The Union’s RAISE YOUR VOICE Contest

I’m so proud and excited to be asked by the amazing students behind The Union (Thailand’s first interscholastic, student-run newspaper) to be a judge for their Raise Your Voice contest!

If you’re a young creative (6th-12th grade/year 7-13) based in South-East Asia, you’re welcome to submit your work in a variety of mediums — writing, photography, art, videography, performance and others. The prompt is all about exploring third-culture identities, a subject that’s close to my heart.

The deadline is July 12th, 2021. You can find more info here by clicking here. I can’t wait to go through everyone’s work, and join these inspiring students as a panellist at their virtual IDENTITY summit in August.

Signing with Literary Agent Liza DeBlock of Mushens Entertainment

BIG NEWS! I’m beyond thrilled to share that I’ve signed with literary agent Liza DeBlock!

I’m so excited to join the growing force that is Mushens Entertainment as we work to bring my debut novel The Moon Represents My Heart into the world!

The Moon Represents My Heart is a literary novel that follows generations of a British-Chinese family of time travellers as they confront their history in the face of love and loss. It is The Joy Luck Club meets The Time Traveller’s Wife, and is inspired by my own family history.

Many authors of my background don’t often get this opportunity, so I want to take the time to celebrate every victory! Thank you to my family and those closest to me for supporting me throughout this entire process. Thank you to my beta-readers: Sienna Vance, Annie Dupee, Cameron Edwards, Andrea Fang, Ashley Wolf, Mark Redlich, Sebastian Brooker, El-Jay Worthington, Johanne Gorman and Karen Postupac. And to my lecturers Laura Lam and David Bishop for their guidance.

Now it’s time for me to get to work!

“I’d no idea hearts could take in so many”: Revisiting ‘Little Women’ As An Adult

Some books you love as a child you forget with time. But some grow with you. The more life you experience, the more certain characters and stories begin to evolve into something deeper and more profound till, before you know it, they’re speaking to you as intimately as if you were one and the same. 

The first time I read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, I must have been in my early teens; I don’t quite remember. Believe it or not, in Thailand, a story about four sisters growing up in Concord, Massachusetts is not a staple of many people’s childhood. As a young girl, I was a veracious reader. I would read all the time — at meals, before bed, in class, while walking through the shopping mall with my family. At one point my parents had to sit me down and tell me that I was reading far too much and that I had to learn to function in the real world every once in a while.

Despite my obsession, however, I was more engrossed in fantasy epics like The Lord of the RingsThe Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, as well as The Little House on the Prairie books and the Anne of Green Gables series. Instead it was the 1995 Little Women film adaptation with Winona Ryder that introduced me to and sparked my interest in the March sisters. But beyond the story’s well-known highlights — Jo selling her hair, Jo rejecting Laurie’s proposal, Beth’s death, Laurie marrying Amy, Jo getting together with Professor Bhaer — I completely missed the significance of the much smaller moments which have since become extremely meaningful to me once I’ve revisited the novel as an adult. 

Like with many other teenage girls before me, what initially drew me to Little Women, other than the tight-knit relationship between the sisters, was the character of Jo March. Jo is everything I dreamed of being: smart, brave, confident, ambitious, unconventional. A writer. She’s also the object of affection of the lovely and attractive boy next door, Laurie, which, for an unpopular girl like me, felt deeply romantic. To my teenage self, Jo seemed almost superhuman — a feminine ideal that I strive to emulate at all cost. However, after reexamining the text in detail, it is more than apparent that Alcott never intended for Jo to be an unattainable fantasy for young girls:

“But, you see, Jo wasn’t a heroine, she was only a struggling human girl like hundreds of others, and she just acted out her nature, being sad, cross, listless, or energetic, as the mood suggested”.

Alcott also created Jo to be resilient, but not an island all on her own: after Beth’s death, Mrs. March makes note of how she’s “very lonely” and that “sometimes there is a hungry look in your eyes that goes to my heart”. When Jo tries to explain her feelings to her mother, the result feels all too familiar to any young woman who’s struggling to reconcile their desire for independence with their need for intimacy:

“It’s very curious, but the more I try to satisfy myself with all sorts of natural affections, the more I seem to want. I’d no idea hearts could take in so many. Mine is so elastic, it never seems full now”.

Famously Alcott did not want Jo to end up married at the end of her novel; only after readers clamoured for a romantic resolution did she paired Jo up with the older Professor Bhaer. Alcott herself never married. (The line spoken by Jo in the new film adaptation directed by Greta Gerwig has been taken straight from one of Alcott’s own letters: “I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for, I’m so sick of it!”) It is fascinating and fun to imagine what a single Jo March would have been like in an alternate universe. Would she be like Alcott herself, working and writing and taking care of her family? Would she get to travel to Europe like she’s always wanted to? What kinds of affairs and friendships would she have later in life? In the novel Jo herself maps out her future with not much sentiment:

“An old maid, that’s what I’m to be. A literary spinster, with a pen for a spouse, a family of stories for children, and twenty years hence a morsel of fame, perhaps, when, like poor Johnson, I’m old and can’t enjoy it, solitary, and can’t share it, independent, and don’t need it”.

Knowing more details about Louisa May Alcott’s own life has also deepened my understanding of Jo’s relationship with Laurie. (Much of Alcott’s work was inspired by her own life: Alcott also had three sisters, one of whom passed away at a young age like Beth.) Laurie was partly inspired by a Polish musician named Ladislas Wisniewsk (nicknamed Laddie), with whom Alcott had a brief relationship with. After spending time in Paris with Wisniewsk alone for two weeks, Alcott crossed out sections in her diary detailing their time together and wrote only two blunt, devastating words in the margin: “Couldn’t be”. Despite my naive teenage pining over what could have been for Jo and her Teddy, how this affair ended made it very clear to me that Alcott must have never seriously entertained the thought of making Jo and Laurie a couple. And that it makes all the sense in the world that it should be Jo’s younger sister, Amy, who would eventually be his wife.

Amy March, so frequently short-changed in film adaptations, is actually one of Alcott’s most relatable and complex characters. She, along with Jo, has become the sister I’ve felt a kinship to the most since I came back to this story. Although she’s wrongly regarded by some as the consolation prize to Jo’s dazzling magnetism, the Amy in the novel grows from a spoiled and pretentious little girl into a very kind, intelligent and independent young woman. “I’m not afraid of storms,” she declares resolutely to her mother in a letter, “for I’m learning how to sail my ship”. Despite being in love with Laurie, Amy is never afraid to call him out on his shortcomings, and their romance has the maturity and compatibility that are never present in quite the same way in Laurie’s relationship with Jo:

“It is so beautiful to be loved as Laurie loves me. He isn’t sentimental, doesn’t say much about it, but I see and feel it in all he says and does, and it makes me so happy and so humble that I don’t seem to be the same girl I was. I never knew how good and generous and tender he was till now, for he lets me read his heart, and I find it full of noble impulses and hopes and purposes, and am so proud to know it’s mine.”

On the surface Little Women is a story about women and about people being decent to each other. About the simple things in life. A seemingly normal and heartwarming American fairytale. But falling in love with this story all over again has taught me that there is so much more to it than that. From the loss of Jo and Laurie’s childhood relationship (“Teddy, we never can be boy and girl again — the happy old times can’t come back, and we mustn’t expect it”), to Beth’s death, and to Amy and Laurie’s daughter’s frail health, Alcott never flinches away from the truth of what it’s really like to be alive. She never shies away from the pain and the suffering that we all must endure, nor does she turn away from the messiness within all of us.

As a young reader, Jo and her sisters and Laurie used to appear perfect and infinite, as though they would exist forever in a bubble of little happy-endings, neatly coddled in a warm place somewhere. Having grown up, I know now that that has never been the case:

“…beauty, youth, good fortune, even love itself, cannot keep care and pain, loss and sorrow, from the most blessed for …

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and sad and dreary.”

Like Alcott herself, Little Women is deeply realistic at heart. But it is also warm, loving and, above all, hopeful. It is not easy, Alcott seems to say through her characters — whether it be Jo, Amy or Laurie — to be our best selves or to care for others with such sincerity and let your hearts “take in so many”, especially in the face of tragedy. “It’s highly virtuous to say we’ll be good, but we can’t do it all at once,” Alcott writes, “and it takes a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together before some of us even get our feet set in the right way.” But what matters is that we try.