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An Old Fashioned Girl [Paperback]

Louisa May Alcott
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2008
Louisa May Alcott was a 19th century American novelist. Her novels Little Women and Jo's Boys are her best-known works. Alcott became a strong feminist and abolitionist. In 1862-63 she worked as a nurse in the Union Hospital in Georgetown D C. I n An Old-Fashioned Girl Polly, a sensibly brought-up country girl, encounters fashionable life on her first visit to Boston. Later she returns to live there and teach music. For grades 5-8.

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About the Author

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 - March 6, 1888) was an American novelist best known as author of the novel Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo's Boys. Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May Alcott and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned but still good May 24 2004
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Louisa May Alcott is best known for her classic coming-of-age novel "Little Women." But she tackles an entirely different part of growing up in "An Old Fashioned Girl," the story of a country mouse living with a wealthy urban family in late 19th-century America.
Polly Milton travels to stay with her aunt and uncle in the city, for the first time, but she immediately sticks out because of her outdated clothing and lack of fussiness. Her cousin Fan Shaw (also about fourteen) is already dressed like a young woman, and hangs out with a gang of shallow, trendy girls. Polly befriends old ladies, sings Scottish airs, and reads books on history. Can she fit in? What's more... does she really want to?
Fast forward about five or six years: The Shaw family learns that Polly is returning to the city, intending to give music lessons to help support her brother. Time hasn't really changed Polly -- she's still sweet-natured, moral and pleasant to everyone. But the Shaw family is in serious financial trouble -- and Polly will help out the only way she knows how.
In the late 1800s, "Girl" was written in two separate halves, which might explain why the second half is so much better than the first. The first isn't bad, but it suffers from a sort of prissiness. Virtually every story centers on Polly's moral struggles, with no break. Her story is far more engaging when she learns confidence and strength, not when she's wavering about peer pressure.
As in "Little Women," Alcott's writing is still pretty readable for modern readers, although most people will not know what a "pannier" is. She also writes a good understated love story, in Polly's gradual interest in her cousin Tom.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned "Girl" Dec 31 2005
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Louisa May Alcott is best known for her classic coming-of-age novel "Little Women." But she tackles an entirely different part of growing up in "An Old Fashioned Girl," the story of a country mouse living with a wealthy urban family in late 19th-century America. It gets rather prissy and moralistic in places, but has a measure of earnest charm.

Teenage Polly Milton is arriving in the city (New York?) for the first time, to stay with her uncle and aunt. She immediately sticks out because of her prosaic clothing and lack of chic. Her cousin Fan Shaw (also about fourteen) is already dressed like a young woman, and hangs out with a gang of shallow, trendy girls. On the other hand, Polly befriends old ladies, sings Scottish airs, and reads books on history. Can she fit in? What's more... does she really want to?

Fast forward about five or six years: The Shaw family learns that Polly is returning to the city, intending to give music lessons to help support her brother. Time hasn't really changed Polly -- she's still sweet-natured, morally upright and kind to everyone. But the Shaw family is in serious financial trouble -- and Polly will help out the only way she knows how.

Like "Little Women," this book was written in two halves, which might explain why the second half is so much better than the first. The first isn't bad, but it suffers from too much prissiness. Virtually every story centres on Polly's moral struggles, in a very preachy manner. Her story is far more engaging when she learns confidence and strength, not when she's wavering about peer pressure.

Despite the preachy edge, Alcott's writing withstands the test of time -- strong, descriptive and pleasant.
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By brooke
Format:Paperback
I've always been somewhat old-fashioned. I guess that's a lot of why I admired this book, but there's more of a reason. This story shows the true meaning of happiness: family love and hard work.
Polly Milton is a fourteen year old little girl who goes to say with a rich family in town. She's friends with Fanny who is only two years older and who's only interests are boys, fashion, and parties. Tom is Fanny's brother who is Polly's age, and is the perfect little trouble and mischief maker, and the littlest, Maud, is on the verge of being like Fanny. Polly comes from a poor family where she has learned to love and cherish everyone and everything, impecible manners and politeness, to work hard, and to be the most loveable thing ever. With her sweet ways, she brings the brother and sisters of this family closer, shows their father how to love his children, gives Grandma the love and attention she always needed, attracts a young gentleman, and accomplishes everything she sets out to do. Happy, sweet, gentle Polly. When she grows older she becomes a music teacher. At 18, she finally gets interested in men and parties(but not too interested - she just pipes in once and a while) when Fanny is sick to death of it all. But, soon the family turns bankrupt and turn to Polly, who leads them to this...relizing that family was the only thing they ever really needed, not their money or finery. They learn the wonderfulness of hard work as I did through reading this story, and the importance of family.
This book shows how we should all be, and how its just fine to not grow up too fast. Don't worry girls, there's romance at the very end too! But, truth to tell, you don't need romance to entertain you in this heartwarming story.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!
This book is great for any Louisa May Alcott Fan. Even today, some of the situations that Polly goes through are valid and interesting. Read more
Published on April 14 2004 by Meg K.
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite of her work
I have owned all her works and this is my favorite. Even though it was written in the 1800's, it still has sound judgements. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2003 by Jamie Alder
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson Book for Modern Girls
I absolutely loved this book! It is set in Boston in the mid 1800's. Polly comes from a poor but loving family in the country, and finds it hard to keep her own standards while... Read more
Published on May 16 2003 by Kathy Pallotta
5.0 out of 5 stars A plummy story
Louisa May Alcott is a trustworthy author - you know what you're getting. Although I hadn't read An Old-Fashioned Girl, I gave my sister a copy, thinking it would be a nice way to... Read more
Published on March 12 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars My All-Time Favorite Louisa May Alcott Book
I would like to say that I'm a big fan of Louisa May Alcott's books, but "An Old-Fashioned Girl" far surpasses them all. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2003 by "bsq_blonde"
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Louisa May Alcott book.
This is my favorite Louisa May Alcott book. And that is really saying something considering how wonderful her books are and that I have read nearly all of them, including recently... Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2002 by Rebecca B. Illnick
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book is Wonderful
"An Old Fashioned Girl" is a wonderful and wholesome read. It is about a 14-22 year old girl named Polly Milton, who is a shy, quiet, but very sweet and sunshiny lass. Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2002 by Caitlin
4.0 out of 5 stars Very lovely story
We just read this aloud in our family. It had been several years since I last read it, and it was good to make acquaintance with it again. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2002 by J B
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love this book!! And Polly, too!!!
I love all Louisa May Alcott's books. I already read Little Women, Little Men, Jo's boys and I mean to read all the other books by Louisa May Alcott. Her books are so charming. Read more
Published on May 16 2002 by Praise Oh
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Fashioned Girl Never Changes.
I love this book. Alcott is one of my favorite writers. In An Old Fashioned Girl it talks about a country girl who go's to the big city, but does not change. Read more
Published on April 7 2002
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