The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Review - "Little Women" - Louisa May Alcott


I've read Little Women several times through the years - the first time when I was about 10 years old I guess and always enjoyed it.

The story is simple and sweet, but I think it still carries a strong message about the strength in the bonds of women. Progressive for the time, Alcott presents in the March women different "types" - Meg, the pretty, domestic one; Jo, the tomboyish, independent rebel; Beth, the too-good-for-this-world moral angel; Amy, the flighty, spoiled, bratty princess - at least at first; and then Marmee, the redeemed wild child who is now their strength and moral compass. The men, while not maligned are almost incidental, serving as props to highlight the different personalities of the women.

The characters are wonderfully developed,as we see them grow through the years. The setting is very well described - you can "see" the gardens and rooms. And again, having been written for young women, the writing is easy to read and follow, if a bit long-winded. Despite Jo's detailed character development, I feel her love story was rushed and not developed enough - as opposed to those of Meg and Amy. I imagine her relationship with Bhaer is delved into more in the sequel Little Men, which I haven't read yet.

Although I like the book very much I think it suffers in comparison with Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". Even though the time frame of "Little Women" - during and after the Civil War - is almost 100 years later than "Pride and Prejudice" - late 18th century/early 19th century - I think Austen's classic feels more relevant.

I definitely recommend "Little Women" to everyone, not just pre-teen and teen girls. It's a beautiful, well-told and surprisingly progressive story.

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