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Work: A Story of Experience [Large Print] [Paperback]

Louisa May Alcott
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 18 2007 1434655660 978-1434655660 large type edition
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
If you've read and reread all of Louisa May Alcott's books, and loved her portrayals of brave girls trying to make their way in a harsh world, you must read this "lost" novel, "Work." It is well-written, engaging and humorous, very much in the same style as her other novels for girls, yet with more of a depth of maturity to her characters. If you've read "An Old Fashioned Girl" you will see a lot of "Polly" in the working girls portrayed in this novel. Read it and rejoice in this "new" Alcott novel!
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is pro-women and pro-abolition. July 30 2004
By amazon3131 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I ran across this book recently and enjoyed reading it. It is more modern than most Alcott books in one respect: the heroine exactly doesn't "get married and live happily ever after."

Like many of the books at the time, the heroine is an orphan. At the age of 21, she leaves her aunt and uncle to make her fortune in the world -- and, she hopes, her happiness, since marrying a farmer she doesn't love "just to get a living" doesn't seem either honest or wise to her.

The book covers almost twenty years in New England -- about ten years before the Civil War through about five years afterwards. The heroine is energetic, intelligent, determined, and capable. And she WORKS! She is always looking for a way to be useful, to pull her own weight, and to help others. The book chronicles her path through a series of jobs and the emotional, physical, and spiritual ups and downs that come with them.

What is most amazing is that the heroine meets a fugitive slave on her first job and treats her as an equal. Unlike "some of the other girls," she doesn't refuse the job simply because the cook is black.

The touching ending scene, in which a diverse group of women pledge to make a better world for themselves (and perhaps to get the right to vote), includes many of the friends she has encountered along the way, "black and white, rich and poor."

However, this beautiful example -- and for the time, this very daring example of inter-racial cooperation -- is marred somewhat by an unaccountable bigotry against the Irish. The anti-Irish comments are all the more jarring because they are completely gratuitous; they have no bearing on plot or character development.

The best that can be said about this failing is that perhaps the author was unconscious of her bigotry, and that at least the Irish are not mentioned often, although every mention is uniformly disparaging.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kitsch: too many too good people Feb. 7 2008
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like Alcott's novels, but this was too much for me. All characters come out on top, nobody is really bad, and certainly nobody stays bad, everybody is constantly striving to become a saint and overcome any fault they might have. I just couldn't relate to the characters, they were just above and beyond normal human people. I actually found it depressing instead of inspiring. Her other books have some humor and often even sarcasm in them, which is sadly missing here till the very last chapter. The humor has always outbalanced the moralistic streak for me, but here I just felt stuck with a thinly veiled moralistic story, which often glided into pure kitsch. Also I felt I had read many of the elements in her other stories and they were just newly arranged and a little bit redecorated. The story could have done with some serious editing before its publication, as some of the chapters are interesting but are overshadowed by kitsch chapters.
I'm aware that a book from this time will be heavy on morals, try to uplift and inspire improvment in the reader, which I usually don't mind, but in this story it just didn't work for me, it felt to forced. "An old-fashioned Girl" is very similar, but is much more engaging and entertaining and inspires laughs along with the tears.

Just a note on this edition, it is extremly badly edited. There are a great many spelling mistakes which often completely distort the sense like "Clown" instead of "Down" and others. But the most annoying one is that the character Philip Fletcher becomes again and again Mr. Pletcher.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Women" a Labour of Love. "Work" a Labour of Work. July 30 2008
By microfiche - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read another edition of "Work", not the Penguin edition but a large print edition, so I can comment only on Alcott's story.

It's too earnest. Too laboured in getting it's message across. Too preachy and strident. Miss Alcott was a "Boston bred" activist, like Harriet Beecher Stowe (both were New Englanders and had the views and prejudices of New England Yankees) I take that and their Victorian writing styles into account. But "Little Women" reads like a labour of love. This book reads like a labour of -- well, work. As if another person (her mother?) wanted Louisa to write this sort of book. Some of Alcott's humour is there, but it's very little yeast to lighten heavy bread. And this bread is very heavy. The heroine becomes a governess, an actress, a housemaid, a seamstress, a seeker of lost souls. Other characters include several rich and idle men and women, a fugitive slave cook, a number of Good Samaritians, a 'fallen woman', a woman who kills herself because of inherited madness and her siblings, who don't seem mad.

Christie, the heroine, was too "Pollyanna" like in some chapters and too saintly to be real until David started to intrigue her. As she fell in love with him, she gained in dimension. Jo and her sisters in "Little Women" were realistic from the start, yet the messages of sisterly solidarity, working for God's Kingdom on Earth, and moral self-improvement are much the same.

David is intriging. There was a woman in his past that he beats his chest over. He is very like the modern strong and silent type romance hero. A girl has to pry his thoughts out of him, yet Christie is so reticent about getting him to open up that I nearly threw the book across the room. I refrained only because it was a library's copy.

I think it's an insightful story into Miss Alcott's own spiritual journey and what she learned and wished to teach. Women's work, and work for women, is never done, but worth doing.

The Penguin books usually have insightful forewords. I hope this one does, because I really wanted to read one after reading the story.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining criticism of conditions for working girls .. Nov. 2 2000
By Chrissy the Stooges Woman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you've read and reread all of Louisa May Alcott's books, and loved her portrayals of brave girls trying to make their way in a harsh world, you must read this "lost" novel, "Work." It is well-written, engaging and humorous, very much in the same style as her other novels for girls, yet with more of a depth of maturity to her characters. If you've read "An Old Fashioned Girl" you will see a lot of "Polly" in the working girls portrayed in this novel. Read it and rejoice in this "new" Alcott novel!
5.0 out of 5 stars A great comfortable read Aug. 15 2014
By Brittany VerHoef - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. Even though it was written well over a century ago some of its ideas seem very modern. Also has one of my favorite quotes, "She is too gond of books amf it has turned her brain"
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