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Little Women [Paperback]

Louisa May Alcott
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 1983 Bantam Classics
Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg's joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo's struggle to become a writer, Beth's tragedy, and Amy's artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louise May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.

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Little Women + Pride and Prejudice
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-12-Louisa May Alcott's story about the four March sisters who learn the hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

How would one describe this latest recording of the classic story from Alcott (Little Men, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/96)? The answer must be, clear, competent, and unexciting. Laura Grafton is a precise reader, but her voice lacks expressiveness, and she makes little attempt to vocally differentiate (and/or animate) the characters. The result is an inoffensive and slightly dull rendering. There's nothing wrong; the tapes just won't grab the attention of the casual listener. The producer has made a praiseworthy attempt to reduce costs by having each cassette side carry double text. At $22.95, this tape set is an excellent value. Unfortunately, this double-track format requires a stereo cassette player with a fully functioning balance control. Most portable cassette players and some car stereo systems do not have this feature. Since, at least anecdotally, a large percentage of recreational audiocassette library borrowers are commuters or exercisers, one should consider whether this format would be used by patrons. Libraries purchasing this format might also consider purchasing (and lending) the associated headphone adaptor plugs. Recommended for libraries with limited audiobook budgets and/or appropriate user populations.AI. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ., Ames
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Having not read Little Women in many decades, I was drawn back to the book by my love of visiting the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. I plan to re-visit that wonderful home and want to refresh my recollections of Little Women before doing so. By the way, if you have a chance to visit Orchard House, I strongly recommend that you do. Your sense of Little Women will expand.

As I re-read these delightful pages, I found myself comparing Little Women to Pride and Prejudice, that outstanding work that captures human psychology so well. The comparison made me see new depths in Little Women that convince me that Little Women is by far the stronger work.

But my biggest reaction was how modern the views in the book are. Women should have education, access to opportunities to develop their interests and marriage to men who will complement them. People should be concerned about each other and help one another, lest any person's life be harmed or feelings hurt in the process.

I also noticed how complete a community of loving women can be within the same family.

The writing style is beautifully spare. The key point of a chapter may turn on two or three words. And then, everything changes in the twinkling of an eye.

Being a long book, Ms. Alcott has plenty of chances to develop her characters and she does so beautifully . . . allowing Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Laurie to grow and change as they age.

I also came to appreciate more the scope of the book, taking the young women from teenage years through the first few years of marriage. It's a time period that few books consider. Usually, it's all over when the marriage happens. I like this approach better.

Should you read Little Women?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Women~ Oct. 25 2002
Format:Hardcover
In Little Women, you will meet the March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy who live with their mother, Marmee, and their maid Hannah, during the Civil War. The first half of the novel takes place while their father is away, serving in the war. Each sister has a distinct personality, a reader, an artist, a musician, the quiet one. You will get to know this family in touching little stories of their daily life. Each chapter seems to set up a moral lesson for the reader to learn. We also meet a wonderful set of neighbors, Mr. Laurence and his nephew "Laurie" who quickly find a place as part of the March family.
The second half of the novel, focuses on the girls as they leave their childhood and begin their journey into adult life. Lessons of friendship, family, and love are covered as we join the characters through the ups and downs of life, good times and bad. It seems that Louisa May Alcott used her own family as the basis for the stories in Little Women, basing the character Jo on herself. It is amazing how though the book was written in the late 1800's, so many things about humans remain the same. The foundations of life that are important in friendships, family & love don't change through time, as Alcott has shared with us. This is a book that young and old can read and appreciate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels for girls Aug. 14 2003
Format:Hardcover
How can you not love this tale of 4 sisters struggling to have a normal life despite a father away fighting in the Civil War and diminished means because of his absence? Jo is a feminist of whom Susan B. Anthony would be proud. Poor Beth is so good and easy to love that her illness is heart-breaking. Meg is strong and practical. And Amy, well, you have to love her despite her vanity and selfishness. Of course, Marmee is the tie that binds this family together. So many wonderful movie adaptations of this beloved novel have been produced, including the very faithful one starring Winona Ryder, but, really, one should read this novel to totally immerse themselves in the lives of the March girls. If you love the movie, do yourself the favor of reading this book. Read it to your young daughter, or buy your 4th, 5th, or 6th grader her very own copy to treasure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American Classic Aug. 24 2010
By Dave_42 TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott has been undervalued for most of its history. This book is a true American Classic. Published originally in October of 1868, it is a story set during the Civil War, but Alcott does not deal with the specifics of the war. Instead, it serves as the pretext for the absence of Robin March, the father of the four "Little Women", for a large portion of the first book. The novel today actually consists of two books, the original "Little Women" from 1868, and the sequel "Good Wives" which was published the following year in April of 1869. The two volumes started being treated as one in 1880.

The first book deals with the growing maturity of the four sisters, and in particularly of Jo and Meg as they have to learn to help their mother out more and do with less during the war, and while their father is away. Meg is the eldest at 16 when the story begins, and Jo (who clearly represents the author) is 15. There is then a gap of a couple years with Beth being just 13 and Amy 12. Their lives transition from that of young girls to young women, and each sister has her own unique traits. Margaret "Meg" with her beauty is following the traditional path in entering society and heading towards marriage. Josephine "Jo" is attracted by intellectual pursuits, in particular reading and writing. Elizabeth "Beth" is very shy and demure. She is also a peacemaker between the sisters, and enjoys helping others. Sadly, she also falls sick and never fully recovers from scarlet fever. Amy is the baby, and likes to tag along with others. She is also used to getting her own way.

The first book is masterful in its simplicity.
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