Saturday, August 27, 2011

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

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I was all kinds of pumped to read this book. (Yes, I had to get over the big brother in me who saw all my little sisters reading this book at one time or another and automatically assumed it would be a girl book.) I've been told it makes grown men cry. So I borrowed a copy and gave it a go.

Little Women is a beautiful, lovely book. I can see how, if I weren't madly taken by a real flesh-and-blood woman, I could fall in love for Jo March. At the very least, I sympathize with her entirely--and when her little sister destroys her book, I get angrier than Jo, and I am less quick to forgive.

The problem is, this book is continuing my recent trend (see Innocents Abroad) of books not giving me the whole story. Of course, none of these books bother to announce that they are incomplete, or one part of a multi-volume set. Maybe everyone else in the world knows that Little Women is multiple books. I didn't. I got to the end and wondered how anyone could cry at that ending. Then I wondered if I was more callous than I had ever imagined.

Nope. I just got shafted. Again. So I don't feel particularly qualified to say more on the topic yet. One of these days, I will find the rest of Alcott's tale, and I'm looking forward to it.

1 comment:

  1. Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains a special place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realistic stories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human nature make the romance, humor and sweet stories of "Little Women" come alive.

    The four March girls -- practical Meg, rambunctious Jo, sweet Beth and childish artist Amy -- live in genteel poverty with their mother Marmee; their father is away in the Civil War. Despite having little money, the girls keep their spirits up with writing, gardening, homemade plays, and the occasional romp with wealthier pals. Their pal, "poor little rich boy" Laurie, joins in and becomes their adoptive brother, as the girls deal with Meg's first romance, Beth's life-threatening illness, and fears for their father's safety.

    The second half of the book opens with Meg's wedding (if not to the man of her dreams, then to the man she loves). Things rapidly go awry after the wedding, when Laurie admits his true feelings to Jo -- only to be rejected. Distraught, he leaves; Amy also leaves on a trip to Europe with a picky old relative. Despite the deterioration of Beth's health, Jo makes her way into a job as a governess, seeking to put her treasured writing into print -- and finds her destiny as well.