IMHO your childhood idols are safe, anaamika. At least this one is. Other than the similar themes of following a family of siblings through the years and their attempts to better themselves as humans, I don’t see much of a resemblence between Daisy Chain and Little Women.
Jo, a copy of Ethel, because Ethel’s a tomboy and likes books? It is to laugh! C’mon, it wasn’t exactly unusual for women who wrote 19th/early 20th century books – especially semi-autobiographical ones – to focus on book-loving girls who don’t match society’s idealized standards of dainty girlhood. Look at chicks like Laura from Little House… books, Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the eponymous Jane Eyre, and Mary from A Secret Garden. They not only have a lot in common with the authors, they probably resemble more than a few of the readers!
Anyway, where it counts – quality – the two books are very, very different. The whole beginning chapter of Daisy Chain is cringeworthy: dull, vague, poor at even the basics of identifying individual characters or depicting the setting in an immersive way. I was hard-pressed to figure out even how many siblings there were, they all kinda blended into one another.
Contrast that with the funny and telling first paragraphs of Little Women. Each sister kvetches in her own inimitable way about the substandard Christmas she’s going to have due to the family’s diminished circumstances and their father having gone to war. (At this point, none of them see the irony of complaining about being poor while they have a maid/cook running around, a warm fire in front of them, and enough money to buy themselves little presents. This will change, of course.)
The first chapter takes us right into the March family dynamics, depicting each of the four siblings’ quirky little personalities and casting them in sharp relief from one another through both dialogue and description.
And Alcott’s narrative, unlike Younge’s, gives you a true mise en scene. You can practically feel the warmth from the fire, hear the clicking of the knitting needles, and see the growing anxiety and remorse on the girls’ faces as they read the sobering letter from their absent father.
Looking at the broader themes (of personal growth and maturity), LW tells a much more interesting story and has a more satisfying conclusion, especially for those who value individuality.
Ethel in Daisy Chain learns that her book-larnin’ and boyish ways are detrimental to being a proper member of church-going society. She becomes a domensticated dullard. OTOH, the main lessons that the March girls learn is to think of others and to consider their words/deeds before acting in haste. They’re not turned into simpering ideals of femininity, forced to set aside their ambitions in order to become perfect little housewives. They retain the core aspects of their personalities.
Sure, Meg learns not to be quite such a materialist, Jo learns to consider her actions before going off half-cocked, Beth learns to be a bit more outgoing, and Amy becomes less of a selfish, vain twit. But at the end of the book, the March girls are still the March girls: Meg is still capable of throwing a hissy, Amy’s still strongwilled and bossy, and Beth … well, okay, Beth kinda does lose some important aspects of herself.
(Like, the breathing and the living parts.)
Best of all, Jo is still wonderful, horsey, emotional, stubborn, outgoing Jo. She does become a little quieter, primarily due to maturing, feeling lonelier, and above all having suffered the grievous loss of a family member. But otherwise she retains most of her impetuous, determined, romping-with-boys demeanor.
So geeze, pugluvr, I think your OP title’s waaaay overstating the facts of the matter. Alcott may have been influenced by the general idea of writing about a family of siblings, but the notion that Little Women is “mostly a copy of an earlier book” is hooey. Christopher Columbus!