In this modern, graphic retelling, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are all offspring of a blended, interracial family that lives in a New York City apartment.
It works surprisingly well, both in Terciero’s colloquial dialogue and Indigo’s clean, well-paced sequential panels (her pencils were inked and colored by a team), and lovers of the classic will enjoy seeing how the reboot corresponds to the source text. Their white mother struggles, working double shifts while their father, who is black, is deployed in the Middle East. Both Meg, who is black, and Jo, who is white, were born to their parents prior to the marriage. Beth and Amy are the biracial younger sisters of the family. Dispersed throughout the story are entries from Jo’s journal and emailed exchanges between the girls and their dad, who affectionately refers to his daughters as “little women.” Wealthy Laurie and his grandfather are their Latinx neighbors. Meg and Jo take on the responsibility of the household, caring for their younger sisters. Meg works as a nanny, while Jo works as a personal assistant for her aunt. The March sisters squabble over chores, tease one another, and tackle school, where Amy silently endures racist bullying by white girls who tease her about her nose size and hair texture, even calling her “Africa” and hitting her. While the elder sisters navigate boys, fragile Beth is diagnosed with leukemia, spawning the best scene, in which the sisters all shave their heads when Beth loses her hair during chemo. It is regrettable that the racism Amy endures is resolved far too easily and is sidelined by other events in the book.
Sticking to the original storyline, this tale offers a contemporary vision of sisterhood that will appeal to a diverse audience. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)