- Author: Louisa May Alcott
I purchased this book.
The first time I read Little Women, I was just a child. Over the years, I forgot most of the story, but there were a few distinct scenes that have always stayed with me. My favorite of the sisters is Jo, but Beth stole my heart. I think she steals everyone’s heart. I was surprised at how emotional I got, considering I already knew what was going to happen. I suppose that with excellent writing, it doesn’t matter if you already know the story. A great story will elicit a response no matter how many times you read it.
The only issue I took with the story was some of the motherly advice that emphasized striving towards a type of perfection that kept women stuck in the narrow roles handed down to them from a society that didn’t consider them to be equal human beings. My forgiveness of that comes from an understanding of the times in which Louisa May Alcott was writing, and I think it’s a fair representation of American women living during that time.
One piece of advice that I didn’t have a problem with, though at first I was ready to rage, was to Mary concerning her marriage after she complained to her mother that John was spending all his time away from home as if he was no longer interested in spending time with her. My initial thought was that it was going to be the type of advice that placed all of the fault on Mary and demanded she do everything on her own, or accused her of not being the perfect mother and wife by not being able to handle it all. Instead, the advice was that she should stop putting every bit of her time and energy into the children and keeping herself shut up in the house trying to do everything and allow for some help so that she would have more time to give to her husband as well as to herself. After I got to the end of that reasonable guidance, I thought it was something that any mother with two infants could appreciate, if they know of someone who is willing to help. That’s not always the case, of course, especially today.
Overall, Little Women is a good story for girls and women of all ages, especially if it is read side by side with a book on women’s history.