Overview & Rating
A timeless classic set in New England. A simple and delightful read by Louisa May Alcott. This coming of age story observes the four strong and admirable March women as they face adolescences together and beautifully emerge into adulthood. A good and wholesome book that all women should read at least once. Little Women should have a special place on your shelf next to Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre.
Little Women is a beautiful story placed in New England about the some-what fictional March Family. It’s a simple story with no fantastical bells and whistles, but what makes the book so endearing and charming is the characters. The novel was published in two parts in 1868 and 1869 by Louisa May Alcott after her publisher coerced her to write a “girl’s” book. Louisa preferred to write short stories at the time, but gave the book a shot and loosely based the March family on her mother and three sisters. Though she had her objections and hesitations, the book was a major success bringing Alcott in a fortune. The novel has survived the ages, been made into films, a musical, dolls and more, and been translated and published in 103 different languages.
Little Women is a wholesome time piece about a family and their small successes and struggles. The book is appropriately titled “Little Women” due to the fact that we follow in the footsteps of the four March sisters – Meg (the quiet beauty), Beth (fragile, shy, musical), Amy (dramatic and artistic youngest child), and (my favorite) Jo (stubborn, talented, pioneer). Each girl has a very unique personality, which enables most girls/women that read the books to relate to at least one character. Little Women is so lovely without all the frivolous and unimportant aspects of today. It is a book essentially about the coming of age and all that it brings. Life was simple then and about family, love, plays, reading, art, music, and social gatherings. Though the girls occasionally fight they also cry together, rejoice together and face all of life’s struggles together. As a reader you witness the March Sisters shed the “little” and flourish into women. You are a spectator of their childhood as they act in plays together and witness them marry off and start their own lives.
If you are searching for fantasy or action, this novel is not for you. If you are looking for a book about growth, relationships, and love this is a perfect read. All four sisters are strong women and I feel that this book was an empowering read for women during the 19th and 20th century. With saying that, I don’t think that the lessons to be learned have somehow expired and dried up from the story. As a young girl it inspired me to follow my dreams and hobbies and appreciate family and friends. Although younger generations might find this book a bit outdated, the lessons and themes in this book are pure and only get better with age.
Little Women is one of my favorite books. It is a timeless classic that I read for the first time in elementary school and have read multiple times throughout the years. It’s a book I hope to read to my kids someday and I will continue to read it every few years for many years to come. Little Women is an unofficial trilogy. Little Men and Jo’s Boys are the novels that follow and I personally found them all just as wonderful. It is a mystery to me as to why the second and third books are not as well known or talked about. I have read them all many times and feel that Little Men and Jo’s Boys are also great reads and just as good as Alcott’s first novel.
As a huge fan of this book I was delighted that Louisa May Alcott’s family home is close to Boston and is set up as a visitors center. I was lucky enough to visit the Orchard House with my mother in Concord and had the opportunity to delve further into the personal history of an author I loved and admired growing up. Blog post about the Orchard House to come soon!