2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels for girls
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...
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by F. Mercer
2.0 out of 5 stars A woman's book
I hate to say it but this is a book designed primarily for women. I am a male and I would have to refrain from calling it a classic as it failed to cross the sexual divide. The characters are well developed and undoubtedly you care for the four children and their mother especially. The girl's lovers are unfortunately less developed as characters and they come across...
Published on Aug. 24 2000 by jackcoleman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels for girls,
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Work Teaches Important Lessons for Today,
This review is from: Scholastic Classics: Little Women (Mass Market 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? Does the sun rise in the East?
If you haven't read Little Women, you've missed great role models for how to be a parent, spouse and child.
Here's the story in a nutshell: During the Civil War, Mr. March is away serving as a chaplain in the Union army. Mrs. March (Marmee) and her four daughters are at home in the cold north making do on small income with the help of one servant, Hannah. As the story opens, the March family is facing a frugal Christmas. But events soon take an unexpected turn and their hearts are filled with gladness. Jo makes an unexpected and most humorous acquaintance of the Laurence boy (Theodore, known as Laurie) who lives next door with old Mr. Laurance, his grandfather. The two families draw upon one another for strength and friendships grow. Illness intercedes making the two families even more dependent on one another. One by one, the children move into adulthood, deal with their romantic feelings and form their alliances.
The characters of each child are quite different, allowing Ms. Alcott to explore the contrasts by putting them together in various private and social occasions. Meg is beautiful and much admired. She should attract many suitors. Jo is energetic, self-absorbed and talented in writing (the character closest to Ms. Alcott herself). Beth is very kind and yet fragile. Amy is the social climber in the family . . . and the pet. Laurie has an artistic temperament, but finds himself expected to play an heir's role.
You'll long remember with delight the stories of their thespian performances, games, dances and social visits. Although the book makes up a wonderfully detailed novel, the chapters are written almost as stand-alone short stories that pack a powerful punch in their modeling of good behavior.
What a joy!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Women~,
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American Classic,
"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. The story feels real, undoubtedly largely due to the author drawing on her own experiences, but Alcott also cleverly avoids adding too much into it and thereby making it unrealistic. She chooses a good steady pace, and the characters are well defined and consistently portrayed. Her dialogue is not perfect, but that adds to the overall realism of the telling of the story. It is a wonderful story for young women to read, and is also very readable for older readers.
The second book is fairly good too, though it fails to be as believable as the first book as Alcott allowed herself to be convinced to have Jo marry. Alcott never married, and the union she chooses for Jo is a bit unusual and thus it doesn't feel right. Outside of that, though, the second book is a worthy successor to the first. Meg's choice of husband fits perfectly with the character and ideals that she develops in the first book. Most of Jo's actions in the second book also fit well with her character up, including her avoiding marriage with Laurie, her friend and neighbor who plays an important role throughout both books. Only at the point where Jo marries does it not fit. The tragedy of Meg's passing is beautifully described, and the reader is touched by the goodness of her character. Lastly, the full development of Amy fits well, including her choice of spouse.
The Penguin Classics edition of "Little Women" includes a very informative introduction by Elaine Showalter and extensive notes by Siobhan Kilfeather and Vinca Showalter. One of the important notes is that this edition is based on the original publications, and not those which were amended by Alcott for later editions, though obvious printer errors were corrected. There is discussion of some of the changes which Alcott made in the notes to the text. This is a wonderful book, but I will take part of a star away and round down for Jo's forced marriage.
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wish The Jamie Lee Curtis Audiobook was Unabridged!,
This review is from: Little Women (Audio Cassette)
I regret that I never read Louisa May Alcott's Little Women when I was a kid and I still haven't read the book yet but I just finished listening to this audiobook read by Jamie Lee Curtis and I liked the story and I liked all of the characters, Jo, Beth, Meg, Amy, Marmee, Laurie (AKA Teddy), Mr. March, Mr. Brook, Professor Bhaer, etc, but my favorite characters are Jo, Beth, Marmee and Laurie and I think Jamie Lee Curtis did a superb reading and did great with all of the different characters and making her voice sound different for each characters and I just wish she had recorded an unabridged audiobook intstead of abridged. This was a very heartwarming story with both happy and sad times and I found myself at times smiling and laughing, and crying at the sad times like with what happened to poor sweet Beth and I'm going to look for both the paperback edition and the unabridged audio recording and hopefully I will find both in a used book store but unfortunately the unabridged audio recordings aren't read by Jamie Lee Curtis and I hope the readers are good like her and I very highly recommend this book in any edition audio, paperback, hardcover, etc! BTW: I have decided that even though it's abridged that this audiobook is a keeper because Jamie Lee Curtis really did a spendid job reading it and even if I eventually get the paperback or hardcover books and an unabridged audio recording that this is just too good to get rid of so it is going on my keeper shelf in my closet and I could definitely listen to it again. I have the old out of print audiobook from Dove Audio which either went out of business or had a name change because the new in print edition of the Jamie Lee Curtis audio recording is now offered by New Millennium Audio.
4.0 out of 5 stars Rereading Little Women as an adult was worthwhile,
I first read Little Women in elementary school, and enjoyed it so much that I read many of Louisa May Alcott's other works. Precisely why I decided to pick it up again at age 24 is unknown to me, but the reread was well worth it.
Alcott tells the story of the four March sisters--Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy--as they grow into young women. Each girl has her faults, and they struggle to overcome them. They also must face the consequences of the family's poverty as well as separation from their father, who is serving with the Union Army during the Civil War. The book is told in episodic fashion, with many chapters acting almost as short stories complete with crisis and resolution. The sisters act appropriately for their time as well as display the sibling rivalries and affection present in most families.
Reading Little Women as an adult, I realized just how moralizing it is. The March girls learn important lessons from nearly every event in the book. Beth is elevated to near-sainthood even before she becomes ill. But, other than the preaching, I found Little Women to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. I might just pick up Little Men again one of these days.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Edition!!,
This review refers specifically to the Penguin Classics edition of Little
Women, as pictured, with the introduction by Elaine Showalter. If you are
a fan of this piece, or would like to read it for the first time, I would
highly reccommend this edition. I would not, however, read the
introduction until after the text itself has been read, since, as a rule,
intorductions usually give something away (often times even quoting from
the book itself) & this one is no exception. However, this edition offers
a marvelous set of endnotes which help the reader to better understand
some unfamiliar terms.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that Showalter has chosen to
present Alcott's novel, IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM. The chapters have been
renumbered to maintain coherence, however, every word is true to the
original. It may not be known (as I did not know myself until I happened
upon this edition purely by accident) that there are two editions of
Little Women currently in print. The second being altered slightly, as
per a publisher's request (to remove certain slang and change some
language to what was considered more proper). This edition contains the
ORIGINAL text, as Alcott intended it, & the majority of versions I have
seen contain the altered version, making the original wording very hard
to find, indeed.
I would definitely reccommend that anyone interested in this book
purchase this edition, you won't be disappointed!
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Reading Little House,
This book is just as much fun to read at the age of 33 as it is at 13. I laughed out loud and stifled sobs throughout the book as we watch the four March girls - Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth - turn from young girls to young wives. As I read, I worried that that description sounded a bit boring although it really is an entertaining book. Then it dawned on me that, as each chapter is a small vignette from the progress of their lives, this is a lot like watching Little House on the Prairie. This would be an exceptional book to read to children and is quite enjoyable for women of all ages to read for themselves.
It was a bit of a blow when reading the afterword to find that Louisa Alcott did not like the book. She had been pressured into writing it by her publisher and regarded it as "moral pap for the young", calling the first part "The Pathetic Family" and writing an alternative second part she called "Happy Women" in which the sisters flourished in professional careers in a community of spinsters. "Good Wives" obviously won out and I can't say that I am not happy about that.
One thing the book and the afterword did do is awaken an interest in Louisa May Alcott herself. This might be a wonderful place to start on a women's study given the disparity between the work produced and the authors ideals.
Whether you are interested in reading it for sheer enjoyment or as a "jumping off point" for broader studies, you will enjoy the book. It is almost impossible not to.
5.0 out of 5 stars Today's girls can learn a lesson from "Little Women",
My mom bought me the book, Little Women, quite a few years ago. I'm a book worm and proud to admit it, but I didn't get around to reading this classic novel until a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why I put it off for so long, but I'm glad I didn't wait any longer. This a beautiful and rich tale that takes us to the past, where a whole different world awaits to be explored. Little Women is a must read!
Little Women is the perfect story for the truly romantic person. Not just romance in the sense of love, but in the classical sense. Something being historical, timely, and good hearted. Little Women is full of the virtue and lessons that we try to find in our daily life. At the end, the reader is engulfed in happiness and satisfaction. Though not a deep, philosophical work, it provides its own morals, brought out in a way that can be enjoyed from generation to generation.
The story centers around the lives of the 4 March sisters: Jo (Josephine), Meg (Margaret), Beth (Elizabeth), and Amy. Each sister possesses a unique personality with their mother as their link and loving companion. In the early part of this Louisa May Alcott novel, Mr. March is away at war and his daughters show concern for his welfare. It is said that Alcott didn't know what to do with the father's character so she wrote him as being gone to war. A genius solution to a literary block! Anyway, the story centers around the trials and tribulations of each girl and the family, as a whole. The family is poor, but still live to do good...or try to be good at least. Though it seems unrealistic that the family should be in bliss even in poverty, Alcott brings the fantasy level to ground level by portraying the girls as being a little selfish. With all the beautiful clothes and delicate manners, who could blame them for getting carried away with vanity. However, we also experience what lessons the girls have learned and appreciate their honesty. The family is not always going through pleasant situations, but take a share in heartache and loss, as every family does.
In a time when modesty is not exactly a trend, Little Women sets a bar all on its own. It will warm your heart, even if you've already read the novel four hundred times. So, take some time out of your day to read the exhilarating trials of the "Little Women".
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Women,
Little Women is a 500+ page book. Although long, it is a wonderful book that I will eventually read again. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are four teenage sisters. Throughout the book we see their lives. The father is fighting in the civil war. They are a poor family. But even so they find a way to make the best of life. Meg is proper and ladylike. She simply loves silk dresses. Jo is a tomboy with a temper. She loves to write and although she wants independance and freedom, she also wants to do something for the world and craves respect and honesty. I am most like Jo. I love to write and even though I am not a tomboy I feel that I most identify with her. Beth is a sweet pianist who is a little angel. She is timid and feels that she does not do enough with her life as she mostly stays home with their maid Hannah. When she is on her deathbed she reads a poem by Jo about her and realizes that she made a difference in her older sister's life. THat makes her feel better. Amy is a bit of a snob. She is a talented artist who hates her nose. She says she will marry for money. Laurie is the next door neighbor. He and Jo become best friends. When he asks Jo to marry him she refuses because they are both so independant that it would ruin their relationship as just friends. It breaks his heart. He later marries Amy, who although Laurie does have a lot of money, she also loves him. Marmee is a mix of all four of her daughters. I highly recommend this book. Don't put it down because it is too long. The second half of the book is better. I admit, I felt like punching it when I was at the last 25 pages. Suffer through 562 pages and not regret it because of the ending, trust me you will love this book! Go Little Women!
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Penguin Classics Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Hardcover - Oct. 26 2010)
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