Thursday, 18 June 2009

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is at the top of my list of childhood favorites. I'm not alone, as almost every female friend and acquaintance I know says the same thing. Louisa May Alcott wrote this book in 1868. It was an instant hit and has continued to remain a hit.

It's a story loosely based on the author's own family experience. In it we find a family of four daughters (Beth, Jo, Meg and Amy). a mother (Marmee) and a father who is away from home as a civil war chaplain. In addition, we have Aunt March, old Mr Laurance, his grandson Laurie, John Brooks and so many more. This novel is rich with characters. 

The plot revolves around the daily activities of the four girls and follows them for several years as they grow from girls into women. Each of the four girls have different personalities, with strengths and weaknesses. I enjoyed reading how they were all so creative when it came to devising ways to entertain themselves and each other. One of the activities included a secret society, The Pickwick Club, or P.C. as they called it. Gardening was another activity. Each girl had her own quarter where she planted her favorite flowers. All that is, except for Jo, who liked to experiment with different flowers. The girls also had various chores and other jobs.

The book follows the girls with various friendships and as they contemplate marriage and what they will do with the rest of their lives. There are various issues in the book that I didn't notice in previous readings. I liked the strong feminine determination they each showed. As a child I remember liking Jo because she was such a tomboy. I still like her for that. 

It's been 140 years since the book first came out and it's still relevant for today's girls/young women. I was thinking about this book for my ten-year-old granddaughter but I've decided to wait a year or two. I'd recommend this for 12 and up.

1 comment:

  1. One of my sisters got this for Christmas — it was read by both her and myself before we had to return to school that year!