Amy March is a selfish little biatch. But we love her.
Remember Chapter One, when the saintly March sisters decided to spend their one Christmas dollar on their mother instead of themselves? Twelve-year-old Amy was the one buying Marmee a half-dollar bottle of cologne so that she could spend the rest on booze.
Okay, not really. She wanted to buy herself some drawing pencils. She's twelve: it's not exactly a crime. But that wasn't good enough for the Marches, ohhh no. Their saintliness doesn't extend to cutting their unsaintly kid sister any slack. So Amy took her pencils back to the shop and bought a dollar bottle of cologne, and all was well with the world again. But for me, on my first ever read of Little Women, this tiny act of non-saintliness was the clincher: Amy was my favourite March sister. Why? Because she was normal.
Fast-forward a few months: the older March girls are now BFFs with Laurie Lawrence, and Amy's in trouble at school. The in-crowd are all bringing pickled limes to eat at recess, and because Amy's family are so poor they can only afford one servant, she never has any to take. (Yep, pickled limes: apparently people didn't have taste buds in the 1860s.) So Amy begs some money from Jo and gets a paper bag full of limes to take with her one day, without telling her sister that these things are not allowed on school premises. Sneaky! Unfortunately, Amy obviously doesn't get enough practice at being bad, because one random desk search later, and she's getting the cane from her mean old teacher. Marmee's having none of that, so she agrees that Amy can be home-schooled with Beth for the foreseeable future.
So, bored at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go, Amy decides she wants in on Jo, Meg and Laurie's trip to see The Seven Castles of The Diamond Lake. But Jo doesn't want her there, and she isn't budging on that, so the three head off out leaving Amy to fume at home. And for Amy, revenge is not a dish best served cold...
You see, Jo's prized possession is a book of stories she's been working on for years. It's the 1860s, so her book is written out in pen and ink. She hasn't bothered to keep her previous drafts, but she treasures her little book like nothing else. Not so smart, Josephine. For those of you who might not be familiar with the technique of writing with a pen and paper, this is the equivalent of Jo not backing up her files. Ouch, right? And a bad move, when crazy little Amy has a bee in her actual bonnet. While Jo's out, Amy throws the book onto the fire and burns the thing to ashes.
On discovering this, Jo basically freaks. As far as she's concerned, Amy's dead to her now, and she can never forgive her. Ooops. The next day, realising she went way too far, Amy follows eldest sister Meg's advice to follow Jo and Laurie out ice-skating in the hopes of making up. (Pretty dumb advice, considering that Jo doesn't want her kid sister tagging along when she's out with Laurie and that's what started all this.) Nobody's surprised when Jo blanks Amy and skates off leaving her all alone.
But what Jo doesn't count on is Amy crashing through the ice and nearly drowning in the lake beneath. Dramas! Luckily, Laurie is on hand to save little miss Amy from a freezing cold death. Jo is at once consumed by remorse, and forgives her little sister wholeheartedly. Amy is thrilled to be forgiven, and the two sisters are reunited, closer than ever before.
See, that's the thing with sisters. You squabble, you occasionally might pull each other's hair or break each other's toys, but as long as you don't break the one golden rule of sisterhood, you always make it up again. You know, the golden rule: don't go after your sister's boyfriend. And it's not like any of the March sisters is unsaintly enough to do that, right?