Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

In three words:

Heartwarming, family, love

 

 

What I thought:

 

It has taken me years to get round to reading this book – YEARS I tell ya! This wasn’t my first attempt at reading Little Women, although it was the first time that I have read the whole thing through to the end. Despite loving the films since I was a child (particularly the 1949 version with Elizabeth Taylor and June Allyson) every time I picked the book up, I could only stomach a few pages without wanting to throw up. So, with attempt number trillion and one this Christmas, how did I manage to get through it? Not sure but who cares – I LOVED it!

It is said that all readers (and viewers) will relate more to one March sister than the others. Not being in the least bit domesticated (Beth), vain (Meg) or spoilt (Amy) that would make me more like Jo, as aside from her love of books (check), Wikipedia describes her as ” clumsy, blunt, opinionated, and jolly, her behavior is often most unladylike” my husband would be sure to agree in a flash that yes, I am indeed Jo.)

So, what once made me cringe and slighty vomit, this time around had me swooning into my hankerchief and devouring every page as if I were there in Concord, Mass. in the snow with lanterns, singing songs by the fire and warming Marmees slippers for her before she gets home from do-gooding. Who’da thunk? Seriously though, I genuinely loved this book.

I read somewhere that Alcott was more well known for writing sensations novels (of which I really must check out) and that she was asked to write a book like this instead. When reading it, several times I did wonder if she had deliberately gone over the top with her narrative and morality but either way, this time around I found it endearing and comforting (which is probably what she was going for). The overriding message of the book for me was about learning lessonsΒ  (there are a lot of these to be learnt, but they are never done in a preachy way) and overcoming obstacles but at the heart of the book is a family that loves each other and sticks together through thick and thin: maybe it was because I read it over Christmas at a time when I caught up with all my family, but I found it really heart-warming.

Jo was by far my favourite character: she’s fiesty, funny and brave. One of the my favourite parts, though, and the one that made me laugh the most starred Meg and her attempt at being a housewife once she had moved into her tiny home with new husband, John Brooks. One afternoon she decides to surprise him to her culinary delights by making jam before he comes home from work. What ensues is the sort of chaos that I can only describe as having hit my own kitchen on the odd occasion that I have decided to surprise my husband with a little domesticity. In Meg’s case, her husband arrived home to find jam and fruit and a crying wife all over the kitchen. In my case, my husband has usually arrived home to find an equal amount of mess but with a wife laughing hysterically and a rather odd concoction of some sorts served for tea. He’s a lucky man!

Verdict: A true joy to read and one I think I will revist again at some time. Think of it like a tonic or a soothing balm on your frazzled nerves. Lovely.

 

1949 film - my favourite

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15 thoughts on “Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  1. I absolutely love this novel as well…a lot of folks give it a hard time bc of the “sickly sweetness” or some such blather but you said it best when you described it as “endearing” and “comforting.” It’s an escape for me…to a simpler time when things were still complicated but not so much where home and family were concerned. πŸ™‚

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  2. I have to be honest I ve not read this book boof ,I read march that is the husbands story and at that time meant to read this one ,I have seen the film from a few years ago which I beleive was fairly faithful to the book ,I was struck by how hard it was for the women left behind ,all the bestr stu

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  3. That’s funny because I also just wrote a review on Little Women. It’s one of my favorites that I finished for the third time. Yes, I also thought the jam scene was funny as she tried her best to impress her John. Sure the wording may be dated at times, but it’s still a wonderful book.

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  4. I agree with identifying with the March sisters. I always had something for Beth: so lovely, sweet, fragile, with her love for books and music, so composed… and so my age when I first got in contact with the book. However, I think I’m a mix of all of them. Looking forward to reading it because I never managed to finish it.

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  5. I wonder if seeing the film version first was part of your difficulty with the book? And will you be going on to Little Men πŸ™‚ Actually, my favorite Alcott novel is An Old-Fashioned Girl, though I also love Eight Cousins and its sequel A Rose in Bloom. My mom gave me a box set of Alcott’s novels when I was eight or so, and I’m still re-reading them all these years later.

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  6. I read Little Women around Christmas-time as well and I do think it makes a difference somehow. It was particularly cold that year and I often read in front of the fireplace. Sometimes it’s all about timing – and ambience! πŸ™‚

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  7. Haven’t read it either for similar reasons to the ones you listed at the start of review but having read your review it’s going to be something I will make the effort to get round to this year. Thanks for the review.

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  8. Pingback: The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop « The Book Whisperer

  9. This was one of my favorite stories growing up. I am majoring in Education and would love to be able to add this to my classroom library. I loved both Little Men and Little Women. This is one of those classic novels that take us back to a time of simplicity, a different time.

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