Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

little women

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

It is no surprise that Little Women, the adored classic of four devoted sisters, was loosely based on Louisa May Alcott’s own life. In fact, Alcott drew from her own personality to create a heroine unlike any seen before: Jo, willful, headstrong, and undoubtedly the backbone of the March family. Follow the sisters from innocent adolescence to sage adulthood, with all the joy and sorrow of life in between, and fall in love with them and this endearing story. Praised by Madeleine Stern as “a book on the American home, and hence universal in its appeal,” Little Women has been an avidly read tale for generations.

Book Review by Susie

Little Women is a timeless classic. The story is told in two parts. The first part focuses of the four young March daughters: Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth. The story is told in the nineteenth century in a town setting. The March family is a loving family with a wise and lady mother who is trying to teach values, empathy, and love to her four daughters, while their father is a chaplain in the Civil War. The family is poor and struggle with finances. But the girls, led by rambunctious tomboy Jo, have wonderful times as they read, sketch, write and perform plays, and invent secret clubs.

Each girl is different in character with ladylike lovely Meg, boyish Jo, elegant Amy, and home loving, faithful Beth. Jo and her family adopt the motherless and fatherless rich boy and neighbor, Laurie into their family. There is love, laughter, sisterly quarrels, and sadness woven into a beautiful family story. In the second part, the story begins with the marriage of the oldest sister, Meg. and her new life as wife and mother. Jo pursues her interest in writing.

Amy has ambitions of becoming a lady and marrying into a rich family. Beth must deal with her lingering illness and hopes to remain with her family. Laurie is in love with Jo, but will she return the love of “her boy.” This second part deals with growing up, romance, and the 19th Century expectation for women to marry and become mothers. The March family will touch your heart and remain in your memory as they learn to step out on their own to transition from little women to beloved wives.

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The American female myth.”—Madelon Bedell

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From the Publisher

Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg’s joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo’s struggle to become a writer, Beth’s tragedy, and Amy’s artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louise May Alcott’s childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.

Originally published: 1868

AuthorLouisa May Alcott

Page count: 759

Followed byLittle Men

CharactersJo MarchMrs. MarchBeth MarchMeg MarchAmy March

Genres: Novel, Bildungsroman, Coming-of-Age Fiction, Comedy

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