Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I started writing this review a few nights ago, but managed, once again, to erase it. I think the rule should be "no posting when sleepy."

I finished Little Women on Saturday during the Read-a-Thon. This was a re-read for me; in fact, this was probably the millionth time I've read this book. The beautiful illustrated copy I read was a Christmas gift from my favorite aunt in 1986, when I would have been 9 years old. It's stood the test of time, although the plastic cover is long gone.

I love this story. I cannot count the number of times I cried while reading it. I've been particularly sensitive to family-based stories since I visited my own family a few weeks ago for my grandmother's funeral. I started reading the book on the plane, returning to Florida, but I soon had to stop because I was furtively wiping my eyes while the man next to me looked uncomfortable. Then I finished reading it on Saturday and I cried: at the part where Beth and Mr. March get sick...at the part where Beth dies...at the part where Jo and Mr. Bhaer come back together...I couldn't stop. The book certainly was preachy, but I guess it didn't bother me too much because I'd read it so many times as a kid, that I was used to the preachy quality. Plus, I think that tone fits better with the 19th century, Civil War sensibility. People were more religious back then...or maybe I was more religious when I first read the book. I don't know.

Little Women, for anyone who hasn't read the book, is the story of the four March girls: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Meg, the eldest, longs for the finer things in life, which she remembers from the days before the March family's "reduced circumstances." Jo, the tomboy, writes "potboilers" that she hopes will earn her a little pocket money one day. Beth is a saint, a homebody who keeps the house cozy. Amy is the spoiled youngest child, who hopes to grow up to be a famous artist. The book tells the story of their growth from young girls to wives and mothers. And it's sweet and sad and just a nice story. I still love it, like I did when I was a kid.

Definitely five out of five Whatevers. I look forward to the sequel, Little Men AND the third in the trilogy, Jo's Boys.

4 comments:

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

My grandparents gave me that same copy of Little Women, probably around the same time (1986). The plastic cover isn't on mine anymore either, but it is still a treasure ... for so many reasons.

Have you read the Louisa May Alcott biography by Harriet Reisen? I finished it a few months ago and loved it. There's so many connections with LMA's life and Little Women (and her other works) that I didn't know or realize.

Willa said...

Ooh I love this book. Haven't read it for years so will have to reread it soon!

Lexi said...

Melissa,

No, I haven't read any of the Louisa May Alcott biographies or other books that have come out recently, but they are all on my TBR list, of course. I think I knew that Jo was based on Alcott's real life personality, though.

Willa,

It's such a great re-read! I was afraid it would be too sentimental for me, but I think I read it at the exact right time. Have fun!

fathat said...

I have never read this and I am not really a reader but I think I will get this book. I want to read it because my fiance is telling me about it right now. So I will probably have to read the story so that I can make my own opinion about it and tell you what I think of it. I was born in 1977 and have to read a book that is younger then me.