Little Women

Little Women

Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the...

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Title:Little Women
Author:Louisa May Alcott
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Edition Language:English

Little Women Reviews

  • Susan

    Someone I know claimed this no longer has value, that she would never recommend it because it's saccharine, has a religious agenda, and sends a bad message to girls that they should all be little domestic homebodies. I say she's wrong on all counts. This is high on my reread list along with Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and a Tree Grows in Brooklyn--you could say that I'm pretty familiar with it.

    Let's see--there's a heroine who not only writes, but is proud of the fact and makes a profit from

    Someone I know claimed this no longer has value, that she would never recommend it because it's saccharine, has a religious agenda, and sends a bad message to girls that they should all be little domestic homebodies. I say she's wrong on all counts. This is high on my reread list along with Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and a Tree Grows in Brooklyn--you could say that I'm pretty familiar with it.

    Let's see--there's a heroine who not only writes, but is proud of the fact and makes a profit from it in a time that this was somewhat out-of-the-ordinary. Reading this, and especially knowing later that the main character is (for all practical purposes) Alcott herself, inspired me to write myself, and I haven't forgotten the writing lessons even today: don't let money cloud your vision, write for yourself first, take criticism, write what you know. Still wise even today. Also in this book, we see the perspective of a family coping with the financial and emotional strain of having a loved one away at war, something that is unfortunately all too relatable today. There's also (extraordinary in those times, common in ours)a platonic, though not uncomplicated, friendship between a man and a woman that is sort of a different kind of love story in a way and a powerful one at that. We see people getting married, but marriage is never portrayed as The Answer to Everything--many of the matches involve sacrifice and struggling. The girls, though good at heart, aren't a picture-perfect family of saints. They're flawed and human. The paragon Beth would seem the exception, but the message with her is more about how even the quietest among us can make an impact on the world--not parading her isolated life as an example, only her kindness.

    I won't lie. Someone dies, there's a war and a father's away--so yes, God is mentioned: I think there's a few Pilgrim's Progress references in passing and there's some talk of faith at moments when the characters most need it. To contemporary readers, this may seem like a lot, but heavy-handed it is not. It was probably somewhat unusual for its time. The thought that everyone's relationship and perception of God could greatly vary, and that to be true to your religion was entirely non judgmental and meant being kind to other people and trying to make yourself better, not other people? The thought that each person must be allowed to deal with these feelings in their own time in their own way? Wacky stuff.

    I admit it seems like a tough sell to today's kids, packaged in somewhat formal sounding-language, and bearing every indication of being literary broccoli, but this book is a classic for a reason. It might be a tough sell, but I don't think we should give up on trying to think of ways to do it anyway. What's inside still counts. Don't write it off.

  • Corrie

    The book begins:

    "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents, grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

    It's so dreadful to be poor! sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

    I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all, added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

    We've got Father and Mother, and each other, said Beth contentedly from her corner."

    There's an undercurrent of anger in this book and I think Louisa May Alcott would have gone much furthe

    The book begins:

    "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents, grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

    It's so dreadful to be poor! sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

    I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all, added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

    We've got Father and Mother, and each other, said Beth contentedly from her corner."

    There's an undercurrent of anger in this book and I think Louisa May Alcott would have gone much further with it if her publisher had allowed it and if it weren't a children's book.

    Louisa herself was fiercely independent and didn't marry. Of course, Jo, her doppelganger and the heroine of the book, did marry. I think the struggle for girls and women to be themselves while following convention is an experience that resonates today. I also think that, ironically, when people today want to return to the simple life, they all forget that there was no simple life. Although youngest sister Amy carries her books to school, writes with an inkwell and fights over pickled limes, her father is fighting a real war fought for ideology and national unity. Martha Stewart has us searching for the "good things" and harkening back to garden bounties but nineteenth century girls and women were nearly bound to the home.

    Young boys and girls might find the domesticity in the book offputting but it was necessary for people to have domestic skills or they could not survive. The working poor in the 1860s, like the working poor today, could not afford maids. Louisa May Alcott's family occasionally made money from making and mending clothing just to get by. I think there was just as much screaming as crying going on in the Alcott household, but Louisa tones things down for the March family.

    The March family and the sisters made me yearn for my own sisters which never materialized. I also realized that wanting to draw, paint, play music, perform plays and write were interests that I shared with people of another time period. The book itself was written after the Civil War and has a purposeful nostalgic tone.

    Jo scribbles in the attic and relishes the time she has to write but she is expected to work as a caretaker for her elderly aunt. None of these girls are independently wealthy and the poverty that Alcott writes about in the book mirrors the poverty of her own life but she softens the reality for her fiction. Alcott's father Amos Bronson Alcott was not a soldier, yet he was often away from home. He was a dynamic lecturer and a revolutionary educator who was disillusioned by public reaction to some of his innovations and was often jobless.

    While a good portion of white northerners were against slavery and wanted more rights for black Americans, they did not go as far as the Alcotts did in their support. I wish that she had written more about their anti-slavery positions.

    It's also not widely known that Bronson Alcott was shunned for educating black students.

    Reading Little Women in fourth grade caused me to work as a historical interpreter at the Orchard House for six years many years later. I visited Fruitlands, the Old Manse, the Wayside and the House of the Seven Gables. I studied transcendentalism and learned about the contributions of Elizabeth Peabody and other great female intellectuals of the nineteenth century. I was forever changed after reading the book and I've reread it too many times to count.

    Louisa was a master marketer akin to J.K. Rowling. She also had a strong survival instinct like Rowling. She desperately needed to make money and writing was her one marketable skill. Notably, she was able to write the book under her own name and not use a gender neutral pseudonym.

    The book is written for a younger audience and older readers reading it for the first time might not feel a connection with the book because all Victorian children's books were infused with a heavy dose of morality. Girls especially have always been told to endure hardships while remaining happy. My grandmother Ethel, who grew up in the 1930s, told me her mother said to her: "It's easy to be happy when life rolls along like a song. But it's the girl who's worthwhile who will smile when everything goes wrong."

  • Miranda Reads

    The March sisters may be radically different but they all have one thing in common - love.

    Their love for their mother and father, their love for adventure and for each other unites them

    The Civil War is afoot and all the sisters can do is think about their father away and in battle. Their mother tries to distract them but often she can barely distract herself.

    - rallies her family with

    The March sisters may be radically different but they all have one thing in common - love.

    Their love for their mother and father, their love for adventure and for each other unites them

    The Civil War is afoot and all the sisters can do is think about their father away and in battle. Their mother tries to distract them but often she can barely distract herself.

    - rallies her family with her amusing plays and scribbles.

    often puts her family first and holds them together when her mother cannot.

    , was spoiled as a child and oh my, it shows. But even she can rally when life looks darkest.

    , valiantly cheers on her sisters but her frail health often keeps her at the sidelines.

    The

    their New England home.

    They must face things that they never would have thought possible.

    But, even in the darkest of times,

    And that is most important of all.

    This is probably

    through and yes, I am totally going to read it again.

    There's just something about this book that's

    .

    I love the sisters and their relationships with each other - I see so much of myself and my cousins with their day-to-day interactions.

    Jo, the darling, is the perfect mix of

    Watching her grow from a brash girl to confident young woman just makes my heart happy.

    And the message of the book!

    It often feels like the messages from books in the mid 1800s are

    with their themes that they're ridiculous. (Just look at the later Anne of Green Gables if you'd like an example!)

    But this one had

    of loving family + religion + life lessons. It was beautifully balanced.

    That being said, I do absolutely hate that

    .

    I swear, every time I reread this series, I practically rediscover that fact (my brain is incredibly good at selective memory-ing those sorts of things)...which makes it awful all the more.

    Oh, and am I the only one who's still bitter over who Jo ends up with? This book may have been published in 1868

    But don't let that spoil your interpretation - this book is truly wonderful. I love it.

    Read by Kate Reading - can I just take a moment for us all to appreciate the the narrator is Kate Reading? Her last name is absolute perfection.

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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I have owned this book forever! I have the movie and have always loved it. Thanks to several group challenges on here, I have finally gotten to this little gem.

    Happy Reading!

    Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  • Ahmad Sharabiani

    863. Little Women (Little Women #1), Louisa May Alcott

    Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books over several months at the request of her publisher. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.

    زنان کوچک - لوئییز می آلکوت (قدیانی) ادبیات قرن

    863. Little Women (Little Women #1), Louisa May Alcott

    Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books over several months at the request of her publisher. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.

    زنان کوچک - لوئییز می آلکوت (قدیانی) ادبیات قرن نوزدهم؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و نهم ماه سپتامبر سال 1998 میلادی

    عنوان: زنان کوچک؛ نویسنده: لوئییز می آلکوت؛ مترجم: شهیندخت رئیس زاده؛ تهران، علمی فرهنگی، 1369؛ در 447 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1374؛ شابک: 9644457757؛ چاپ چهارم 1385؛ چاپ پنجم 1388؛ چاپ ششم 1393؛ شابک: 9786001210532؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 19 م

    مترجم: تهمینه مهربانی؛ تهران، درنا، 1374؛ در 160 ص؛ شابک: 9646105122؛ چاپ دوم و سوم 1374؛ چهارم 1375؛ پنجم 1376؛

    مترجم: فریده ملک الکلامی؛ تهران، جامی، 1374؛ در 127 ص؛

    مترجم: امیرمحمود فخردایی؛ تهران، صفیعلیشاه، 1374؛ در 179 ص؛

    مترجم: شکوفه اخوان؛ تهران، نهال نویدان، 1375؛ در 160 ص؛ شابک: 9645680182؛ چاپ دوم 1380؛ چاپ 1392؛ شابک: 9789645680563؛ در 184 ص؛

    مترجم: جلیل دهمشکی؛ تهران، جانزاده، 1375؛ در 160 ص؛

    مترجم: فرزین مروارید؛ تهران، قدیانی بنفشه، 1376؛ در 351 ص؛ شابک: 9644171527؛ چاپ دوم 1380؛ چاپ چنجم 1388؛ چاپ نهم 1393؛ شابک: 9789644171529؛

    مترجم: هانیه اعتصام؛ تهران، خرداد، 1381؛ در 88 ص؛ شابک: 9646465072؛

    مترجم: سپهر حاجتی؛ تهران، دبیر اکباتان، 1388؛ در 58 ص؛ شابک: 9789642621866؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ چهارم 1389؛

    مترجم: محمد میرلو؛ تهران، امیرکبیر کتابهای جیبی، 1389؛ در 150 ص؛ شابک: 9789643032128؛

    مترجم: کیوان عبیدی آشتیانی؛ تهران، افق، 1389؛ در 489 ص؛ شابک: 9789643696627؛ چاپ پنجم 1392؛ ششم 1393؛

    مترجم: مریم دستوم؛ تهران، زبان مهر، 1391؛ در 168 ص؛ شابک: 9786009007059؛

    مترجم: فرزانه عسگری پور؛ تهران، پیام سحر، 1393؛ در 114 ص؛ شابک: 9786009400164؛

    مترجم: بیتا ابراهیمی؛ تهران، پنجره، 1394؛ در 176 ص؛

    داستان در مورد زندگی چهار خواهر - مگی، کتی، بتی و سارا مارچ - است که با الهام از زندگی واقعی نویسنده، با سه خواهرش نوشته شده‌ است. جلد اول، زنان کوچک، به اندازه‌ ای موفق بود، که نوشتن جلد دوم با عنوان «همسران خوب» را موجب شد. ا. شربیانی

  • Fabian

    Yes, yes! I AM a grownass man reading this, but I'm not ashamed. I also read the "Twilight" sa(ha-ha!)ga & a bunch of Charlaine Harris as well, remember? Some rules simply do not apply.

    What I tried to do here was dispel the extra melodrama and embrace the cut-outs (fat trimmed out) of the Winona Ryder film. I was on the hunt for all the "new" (ha!) stuff that the regular person, well informed of the plot involving four young girls growing up (or in the case of Beth, not) never even knew exis

    Yes, yes! I AM a grownass man reading this, but I'm not ashamed. I also read the "Twilight" sa(ha-ha!)ga & a bunch of Charlaine Harris as well, remember? Some rules simply do not apply.

    What I tried to do here was dispel the extra melodrama and embrace the cut-outs (fat trimmed out) of the Winona Ryder film. I was on the hunt for all the "new" (ha!) stuff that the regular person, well informed of the plot involving four young girls growing up (or in the case of Beth, not) never even knew existed. But it seems that the film did a great job not adding many more scenes than direly needed (like the Byrne-Ryder night at the opera scene-- it explains why she doesn't choose Laurie after all) nor taking indispensable scenes from the century-and-a-half old novel to the cutting room floor. Alas, there's a good reason why Entertainment Weekly once decreed that the film was a great comfort to all post-911 victims. The story has no great battles to speak of... no violence, no terrible disasters. The minutiae is symbolic of fragile domestic existences... important and very fun to read

    about--this coming from a Bridget and Carrie Bradshaw fan of course. "Little Women" is at its core all about Old School American values, such as temperance, forgiveness, hard work. It has astute lessons aplenty--to rival even old Aesopus himself. Laurie and Amy have the best lines, and there are plenty of groans amidst cute vignettes and harsh but necessary life lessons--for Americans and non alike. This is relevant today, more so than "On the Road" or other so called quintessential American classics--& that's a genuine PLUS.

    This one stands as outstanding soap opera theatrics woven intelligently with American history herself. Good stuff, like a wise mentor of American Lit would say. Also, mega appropriate for the season!

  • emma

    I’M IN LOVE, I’M IN LOVE, AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

    When I was a child, my mother used to drag me to antique stores all the time. There is nothing more boring to a kid than an antique store. It smelled like dust and old people, and everything looked the same (dark wood), and if we were in a particularly bauble-heavy shop I had to clasp my hands behind my back like a Von Trapp child in order to avoid invoking the you-break-it-you-buy-it policy on a $42 crystal ashtray.

    On one such excursion, w

    I’M IN LOVE, I’M IN LOVE, AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

    When I was a child, my mother used to drag me to antique stores all the time. There is nothing more boring to a kid than an antique store. It smelled like dust and old people, and everything looked the same (dark wood), and if we were in a particularly bauble-heavy shop I had to clasp my hands behind my back like a Von Trapp child in order to avoid invoking the you-break-it-you-buy-it policy on a $42 crystal ashtray.

    On one such excursion, when I was like eight, I found a vintage-ish copy of Little Women. Because it was a book, and because it had some kind of illustration of pretty girls in pretty dresses, it was far and away the most interesting thing in there. So I indulged in what was then and what remains one of my favorite pastimes: asking my mother to buy me something. She said no, both because it was confusingly expensive and because she doubted eight-year-old me’s lasting interest in reading a 750-page book from 1868.

    Ever since, Little Women has tantalized me.

    I am very pleased to say it lived up to every expectation.

    This book is so cozy and delightful and happy. A lot of the time, when series start out in the childhood of characters and then follow their growing up, the book gets worse. But I always liked reading about this ragtag group of gals!!

    Warning, spoiler ahead, and if you complain about me spoiling a book that was published seven of my lifetime ago I will absolutely freak out so don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up:

    Obviously Jo and Laurie were meant for each other, and his marrying Amy and Jo’s marrying some random old dude was the biggest flaw of this book. But even with that, this book ended happy, and I enjoyed almost every second of it.

    (Okay, I’m sorry, but Amy is the clear weak link and didn’t deserve Laurie!! I will not rejoice for them!!) (Did I have to take off a half star for that alone? Yes. Because it upset me immensely. And I won’t apologize. If anyone should be apologized to, it’s ME. And also JO. And also LAURIE!)

    But absolutely every other second was a pleasure.

    Bottom line: This book feels like Christmas.

    ---------

    cozy: ✓

    comforted: ✓

    joy: ✓

    review to come!!!

    ---------

    I am ready to feel COZY. I am ready to feel COMFORTED. I am ready to feel JOY.

  • Kylie D

    A timeless classic that I enjoyed just as much now as I did when I first read it at school.

  • Rory

    I hated this book.

    I can't even begin to go into all the reasons I dislike this novel. It's dull and preachy through out most of it--aside from Jo who is a truly inspired character. But everyone else seems one note, most of the chapters come off as morality plays than solid scenes or plots. And just when Miss Alcott has something seemingly interesting she breaks it for no other reason than to do something.

    Whether its the pairing of Amy and Laurie (huh?), the point made CONSTANTLY that Beth's life

    I hated this book.

    I can't even begin to go into all the reasons I dislike this novel. It's dull and preachy through out most of it--aside from Jo who is a truly inspired character. But everyone else seems one note, most of the chapters come off as morality plays than solid scenes or plots. And just when Miss Alcott has something seemingly interesting she breaks it for no other reason than to do something.

    Whether its the pairing of Amy and Laurie (huh?), the point made CONSTANTLY that Beth's life isn't useless because she is an angel and showed them that angels do exist and is a total Mary Sue(Really? Cause I'm glad she died before I died of boredom), the forced pairing of Jo and the Professor (Why? I mean--really... Just keep her single) there is also the message that pursing art is selfish. (Jo giving up her writing, Laurie gives up his music, Amy gives up her sketching...)

    It's not a message I expected--this book is always lauded as one that has inspired countless girls... To do what? Because outside of Jo's sipirt I dont really see much to aspire to in this tsory? The overall message seems to be that as a good Christian one should sacrifice being an artist, being in love with who you want and any hope of independence...

    It's not because I'm from the modern era that I dislike this book. (Or that I'm an adult reading it.) If you look at other works being done in the same time period you will see that there were stories with less moralizing being done--including by Miss Alcott herself. I was just really disappointed

  • Emily May

    Never liked this one. I read Alcott back around the time I was first reading the Brontes and Dickens, and her books always struck me as incredibly dull in comparison. I was probably about 12, though, so I suppose I should try it again someday.

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