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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...
Published on Aug. 24 2010 by Dave_42

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3.0 out of 5 stars Little Women
Little Women is a wonderful book that shows how 4 sisters love each other through happiness and sorrow and pain. It is one of the most wonderful books of it's times.
Published on May 17 2001


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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 "Dave_42" (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Little Women (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. 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, Feb. 21 2013
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Great book for Childrens Literature. However it is really cheap to buy at a bookstore. Came on time and was brand new.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Work Teaches Important Lessons for Today, Aug. 19 2006
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, March 20 2012
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This review is from: Penguin Classics Little Women (Hardcover)
I love this book. It is a good length and has lots of ups and downs. It follows the lives of four sisters from childhood to adulthood.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Writing, Nov. 25 2003
By 
Cathy Walter (Morgantown, wv, usa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Women (Hardcover)
This book is fantastic. I first read it in fifth grade and it still brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face every time I read it. It stars the March sisters; Jo a tom boy writer who scribbles away and is a strong willed free spirit, while Beth is a sweet girl who never says a mean word to anyone, Meg is the motherly oldest and Amy is the childish youngest who must be surrounded by pretty things. It is a very touching story where four young girls become young ladies and their interactions with eachother and society. It is an utterly splendid story :)
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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
By 
F. Mercer "bibliophile" (Saratoga Spings, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Women (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Women~, Oct. 25 2002
By 
Sandra Mitchell "Sandra Mitchell" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Women (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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4.0 out of 5 stars memories, Nov. 13 2011
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This review is from: Penguin Classics Little Women (Hardcover)
I remember this book as a child, It brings back good feelings and memories. I wish my children saw the value in such classic works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars little women, Nov. 8 2011
this was a very good book and a very good and smart purchase on my part. i liked it alot and i would recommend it. good shipping and customer service as well
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book, Feb. 25 2011
This review is from: Little Women (Hardcover)
Decided to buy my favourite childhood book for my niece. This book is a classic and the hard cover copy is one that will be enjoyed for years to come.
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Penguin Classics Little Women
Penguin Classics Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (Hardcover - Oct. 26 2010)
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