29 February 2012

Little Women

For the 2012 Back to the Classics Challenge, I chose Little Women by Louisa May Alcott as the 19th century classic I would read. I have seen this play so many times by so many drama companies and school drama classes that I have totally lost count BUT I was pretty sure I hadn't read the book. Having finished the book, I'm still not sure if I had read it before - it was all very familiar. Just in case there is someone out there who has never seen, read, heard of Little Women (I would personally be astonished if there were) this is the idea:
In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.
That's short and sweet from Goodreads. What it doesn't tell you is that the girls are creative, fun, individual, loving, sweet young women who try their best to be their best in all of the situations they encounter. I know they are all too good to be true but I love all of the 'little women'! I always wanted to be Jo but, if I'm being honest, I'm more of a Meg.

Because I knew the story so well going in, I found that the pages flew by. I didn't have to take time and think about what was happening. If a reader was unfamiliar with the story, it might take longer to read. The language, of course, is dated as is much of the story. Especially children reading this today would find the March children very innocent for their ages and, likely, somewhat annoying. It is a book that needs to be read for what it is without too much deep thought. Obviously, it has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed in many forms the world over, which is surely the definition of a classic.

Character Development          5
Editing                                      5
Sex                                            0
Violence                                  0
Romance                                 5
Readability/Flow                     5

A Taste from Chapter 3:
"Jo! Jo! Where are you?" cried Meg at the foot of the garret stairs.

"Here!" answered a husky voice from above, and, running up, Meg found her sister eating apples and crying over the Heir of Redclyffe, wrapped up in a comforter on an old three-legged sofa by the sunny window. This was Jo's favorite refuge, and here she loved to retire with a half dozen russets and a nice book, to enjoy the quiet and the society of a pet rat who lived near by and didn't mind her a particle. As Meg appeared, Scrabble whisked into his hole. Jo shook the tears off her face and waited to hear the news.


  1. Great review :-) Little Women is such a sweet little book and I returned to it again and again when I was a teenager. This little snippet has prompted me to pick it up again sometime when I need a little light relief!

  2. I absolutely love this book. I actually read it when I was much younger so I didn't think the girls were innocent. I don't think I knew any better. I think I read it in 6th grade if I recollect correctly.

  3. "Little Women" is an amazing book that I recommend to anyone. It teaches people a life lesson, and shows how a person with less fortune lives throughout their lives. As I read this book, so many emotions went through my head, I found myself crying, happy, and wanting to read the book continuously without stopping. This book was originally written in 1868, it being the first novel book that she has ever written. Louis May Alcott was born in the year of 1832 in Massachusetts. She was the second daughter to Bronson Alcott and Abigail May. She had three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth, and Abby. When Louisa was about ten years, her and her family moved to Harvard, Massachusetts. On a hillside farm they planned to establish a model community, Fruitlands, making use of no animal products or labor except, as Abigail Alcott observed, for that of women. She and her small daughters struggled to keep household and farm going while the men went about the countryside philosophizing. In a few months quarrels erupted, and winter weather saw the end of the experiment. The only lasting product of Fruitlands was Louisa's reminiscence, "Transcendental Wild Oats." Her and her family moved to Concord and for the next three years lived across the road from Emerson in a house they called Hillside, a relatively happy period preserved in the first chapters of Little Women. Closeness to the Emerson family was important to Louisa. Her first book, Flower Fables, 1854, was written for Ellen Emerson, whose father she idolized. Years later Alcott told Emerson about her early romance. "He was much amused," she wrote, "and begged for his letters, kindly saying he felt honored to be so worshipped.


Here's your chance to voice your opinion. We all have them. I'd love to hear yours. I try to respond to all comments so please check back if you are interested in that.