[Review] Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Publisher and Publication Date: Penguin Classic. 2013. Originally written in two parts, 1868 and 1869.
Genre: Fiction. Classic literature. American literature. Young adult.
Pages: 534 printed pages.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: American literature readers. Readers of Louisa May Alcott who are drawn to young women’s stories.
Rating: Very good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

I can’t believe my copy is $59.95 on Amazon. I paid a fraction of that amount at the discount store, Marshalls.

The text of this book is from the original in 1868,1869.

Goodreads page for Louisa May Alcott.

Further links of interest:

Women’s History.

Brittanica (with pop up ads.)

Biography.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888.)

Summary:

Little Women is the story of the four March sisters. Their names are Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

When the story begins, their father is away as a soldier in the Civil War. The family home is in Massachusetts. Their mother is Marmee.

Little Women is a sentimental and charming story of four different in temperament and personality sisters.

The story shares their lives over a period of several years beginning at Christmas time 1863.

My Thoughts:

This review has possible spoilers if you’ve not read or seen Little Women.

I did not fall crazy in love with the story; however, I did enjoy reading Little Women. This is a first time to read it.

What I love about Little Women:

  1. The genre for this story is not just one but several. Some examples are American literature, classic literature, coming of age story, and young adult.
  2. I love the variety of personalities shown in the four sisters. Jo is independent, an individual, outspoken, a writer. Jo makes a choice to do something different than most young women of her era do. She relocates to another city to learn the craft of writing. Meg is the most maternal figure with the exception of Marmee. Meg wants to get married and have children. She is the domestic sister of the bunch. It is through her story that I see represented a young married couple with young children. Beth is the peacemaker. She is meek and mild. She has inner strength and fortitude. She is a pianist. Amy is prim. She is an artist; oil painting is her media. Her role as the youngest of the sisters is presented as the spoiled one, the baby of the sisters who is a bit meddling and annoying.
  3. The story shows stereotypes in the characters. For example, Marmee is patient, nurturing, wise, and loving. Jo is a strong exception. She chooses a different path. I love her gutsy personality. I love her outspokenness. I love Jo’s individualism. And, I love seeing the imperfections in the sisters. However, I do not believe Alcott shows imperfections in Marmee. Marmee seems like an angel-above it all-hovering over the family like a Madonna.
  4. I love Laurie. He is an asset to the story in more than one way. He is an important part of how I see the family. Through his eyes and feelings and behavior, I see the sisters too.
  5. I love the descriptions of nature. Alcott writes of crickets and squirrel, and other creatures of nature. One of my favorite sentences in the book is referring to the sun and horizon. “The sun was low, and the heavens glowed with the splendor of an autumn sunset. Gold and purple clouds lay on the hill-tops; and rising high into the ruddy light were silvery white peaks, that shone like the airy spires of some Celestial City.” Page 141.
  6. There are references to the book The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyon in this story. I love The Pilgrim’s Progress and I’m thinking of rereading it soon.
  7. I love knowing what happens to the family after they are settled in life. This gives the book a solid closure.

Final Thoughts:

I wonder why Marmee is depicted as perfect.

I wonder what her thoughts and voice would reveal.

I wonder if Laurie loves Jo because of “his” image of her (independence and outspoken nature.) But I don’t know if they would be happy together as a romantic couple.

Mr. March has a small role in the story. It is almost completely about the women with the exception of Laurie.

I’d read in the introduction that Alcott did not want to write a sentimental type of moral story. However, this kind of story paid the bills. Later, she made revisions to the original text. It must have pained her (to a degree) to change words in a text that she did not enjoy writing in the first place.

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