Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Reviewed by Ingrid

Published: 1869

It's about: Little Women follows the exploits and antics of the March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. In Part 1 their father has gone to fight in the Civil War, and the March family is "poor," though they live in Concord, Massachusetts, have a comfortable house, a servant who cooks them all kinds of delicious meals, and a few cuddly kittens. Despite the "hardships" of their poverty, the girls find any and every opportunity to provide charitable acts to others. The girls also make friends with Theodore Laurence, better known as Laurie, the feisty little boy next door who eventually falls in love with Jo. The March sisters get in all kinds of little troubles, though they know they can always turn to their beloved mother, otherwise known as Marmee, for love and advice. In Part 2 the girls meet their husbands, get married, and create their own respective domestic paradises. Oh and Jo finally gets published.

I thought: This book was pretty much just as I expected it to be. The girls learn all kinds of "lessons" as a result of various behaviors, which I admit, got way old after a short while. The book had a clear didactic streak and is very sentimental. There are many thrilling sewing scenes and learning to respect one's husband.  I understand that this book was written for children, and I think if I was younger I would have enjoyed it more. To sum up, this book didn't do much for me.

Verdict: I'm going to say this one is a definite in-betweener.

Reading Recommendations: If you are an ~10 year old girl, you will love it. If you are older and have good childhood memories of the book or movie, you may also love it. For me, I think just the movie would have sufficed.

Warnings: Watch out - lots of sappy, sweet familial/domestic love-y parts. 

Favorite excerpts: "Mrs. March glanced at Meg, who was looking very pretty in her gingham morning gown, with the little curls blowing about her forehead, and very womanly, as she sat sewing at her little worktable, full of tidy white rolls, so unconscious of the thought in her mother's mind as she sewed and sang, while her fingers flew and her thoughts were busied with girlish fancies as innocent and fresh as the pansies in her belt, that Mrs. March smiled and was satisfied."

*** On Thursday I will be reviewing March by Geraldine Brooks, which tells the story of the Little Women's father and his war experiences.