Little Women

Little Women

1868

The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. It is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters. Scholars classify it as an autobiographical ...

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NovelBildungsromanChildren's literatureFictionComedy

40 Pages
4.4

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The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. It is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters. Scholars classify it as an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel.

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books over several months at the request of her publisher. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.:202 Scholars classify Little Women as an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel.

Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, with readers demanding to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume (titled Good Wives in the United Kingdom, although this name originated from the publisher and not from Alcott). It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 as a single novel titled Little Women.[citation needed]

Alcott wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Little Women differed notably from contemporary writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: "domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine's individual identity.

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women

(1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Alcott's family suffered from financial difficulties, and while she worked to help support the family from an early age, she also sought an outlet in writing. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote novels for young adults that focused on spies and revenge.

Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, and is loosely based on Alcott's childhood experiences with her three sisters, Abigail May Alcott Nieriker, Elizabeth Sewall Alcott, and Anna Alcott Pratt. The novel was well-received at the time and is still popular today among both children and adults. It has been adapted many times to the stage, film, and television.

Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist and remained unmarried throughout her life. She died from a stroke, two days after her father died, in Boston on March 6, 1888.

There are 23 chapters in Part 1 and 47 chapters in the complete book. Each chapter is numbered and has a title as well.

 

Review:

theguardian.com

 

 

Four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, are part of a poor but loving family. With their father off to war they have only their mother left to encourage them to be the best version of themselves at all times. As they go through love and loss they truly do learn to become 'little women'.

 

I found myself, after reading the last line twice over just to check, satisfied yet in want of more. It was a refreshing read that made me care for the sisters and left me wanting to know what led Alcott to write this simple masterpiece. As all well-known books do, it had a fair few morals that, although made the characters seem a bit too perfect to be real, were reasonable and made me want to make up for my faults (of which there are many).

 

Alcott's writing was elegant yet poignant and haunting at moments, and perfect for the era it was set in, whilst the sister's personalities were intricately described throughout the whole book. It gave you a sense of what it was like to be a normal family in the 1800's and subtly showed the feelings of each character.

 

However, I have a few complaints. I found myself scanning the book and not actually reading it at times and reading other books because of its slow plot. There aren't many exciting events to keep the reader hooked throughout. I also at times found the characters annoyingly perfect and would have liked just a couple more arguments.

 

All in all though, I felt rather lonely after the March sisters had gone as I loved their spirit and felt as if I was almost one of them, which is a clear sign of this book's greatness. I know I will remember this book for years to come and it will always feel as if it were almost yesterday that I read it, as it is a book to treasure and keep on a dusty bookshelf to pass on for generations.

 

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