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Little Women Hardcover – Sep 28 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 256 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (Sept. 28 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141192410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141192413
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.2 x 20.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 640 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 256 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Playing Pilgrims


"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,"grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.

"It's so dreadful to be poor!"sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

"I don't think it's fair for some girls to have lots of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all," added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

"We've got father and mother, and each other, anyhow,"said Beth, contentedly, from her corner.

The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly?

"We haven't got father, and shall not have him for a long time." She didn't say "perhaps never,"but each silently added it, thinking of father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, "You know the reason mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas, was because it's going to be a hard winter for every one; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can't do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don't;"and Megshook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

"But I don't think the little we should spend would do any good. We've each got a dollar, and the army wouldn't be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself; I've wanted it so long,'said Jo, who was a bookworm.

"I planned to spend mine in new music,"said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth-brush and kettle-holder.

"I shall get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils; I really need them," said Amy, decidedly.

"Mother didn't say anything about our money, and she won't wish us to give up everything. Let's each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I'm sure we grub hard enough to earn it,"cried Jo, examining the heels of her
boots in a gentlemanly manner.

"I know I do, teaching those dreadful children nearly all day, when I'm longing to enjoy myself at home," began Meg, in the complaining tone again.

"You don't have half such a hard time as I do," said Jo. "How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you''e ready to fly out of the window or box her ears?"

"It's naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross; and my hands get so stiff, I can't practise good a bit." And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that any one could hear that time.

"I don't believe any of you suffer as I do," cried Amy; "for you don't have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don't know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn't rich, and insult you when your nose isn't nice."

"If you mean libel I'd say so, and not talk about labels, as if pa was a pickle-bottle," advised Jo, laughing.

From the Back Cover

"The American female myth."
—Madelon Bedell


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this to my sixth grade class and I thought there were a few chapters that dragged and it got a little wordy here and there- I was worried that they wouldn't love it like I did when I was a kid... but I was wrong. A full class of sixth graders was enraptured while I read this over three months. For many kids it is the longest book they will ever read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a classic book i had to read. but a little dull at times... took me a while to get through it, but I'm glad I did. it gives you the warm and fuzzies. my biggest complaint is that the book fell apart but at this price I didn't really care. enjoy!
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By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 11 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, from her "blood and thunder" tales to heartwarming novels about teens growing up.

But there's something special about "Little Women," a fictionalized account of her own family's growing pins. Thewarmly realistic stories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human nature make the romance, humor and fun little anecdotes of "Little Women" come alive.

The four March girls -- practical Meg, rambunctious Jo, sweet Beth and childish artist Amy -- live in genteel New England poverty with their Marmee, while their father is away in the Civil War. The girls don't let lack of money hamper their fun and happiness. But their world starts to expand when Jo befriends "poor little rich boy" Laurie, and soon he and his tutor are almost a part of their family.

Along with him, the girls encounter many of the bumps of growing up -- the destruction of Jo's treasured writing, romps with wealthier pals, Amy's expulsion from school, and Meg's reluctant first romance. But their lives are turned upside-down when Beth contracts scarlet fever, and they receive news that their father has been seriously injured -- and these crises threaten to destroy the heart of their family.

The second half of the book opens with Meg's wedding -- if not to her dream guy, then to her love. But while time has mellowed and matured the Little Women, it hasn't lessened the capacity for conflict and unintentional comedy -- particularly with the now-attractive Amy, whose attempts to pursue art, culture and the appearance of wealthy sophistication usually go horribly wrong.

But the platonic friendship between Laurie and Jo is shattered when he admits his true feelings to her... and gets rejected.
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Format: Paperback
dictionary definition of insipid: narrator of Little Women
I listened to an hour and a half of the audio version and it was painful. The four girls are so spoiled and unworthy of being written about. They complain about being poor, yet they live in a warm, snug house, with food to eat every day, a house keeper and changes of clothes. Even when they meet a truly poor family they still feel hard done by.

I can't possibly listen to another minute of this story

to clarify, i think the reader of this audio book did a good job for the part I listened to. She was enthusiastic and had good characterizations of the various characters.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Every girl should read this magnificent book at some point in their life. This book has changed me and helped me in the ways of growing up, learning how to love, how to appreciate.

Reading this novel brought me along the journeys of these four girls and it was such a gift to watch them as they became girls to women!

I felt so many things reading this book; sadness, joy, nostalgia, resentment, envy, gratitude! And I learned to care so much about these four young women and how their lives unfurled. I believe every girl can see herself in one, if not all March girls, and can so easily learn of and learn to love themselves as they get to know and grow to love Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy.

I am so glad to have read and appreciated this novel, And it is my greatest hope that girls all across the world will come to know it as I have.

Concerning the sequels, I will not be reading them, but all to his own! Personally, I was content with this ending, an wish to keep it as is. It wrapped up perfectly these lives the March girls have built for themselves and the nostalgia and happiness and sadness that was wrapped up into those ending words brought me a sense of closure that a book like 'Little Women' deserves.

Also, I suggest buying the book as well. I bought the paperback edition and it is beautiful!!
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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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