Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Little Women

Little Women
Louisa May Alcott
449 pages
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters--Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth-- and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.

My Thoughts:
So I couldn't find a summery that I was happy with, so I ended up with the short one.  But in the spirit of being realistic, I'm not sure there is anyone who does not know the basic story of Little Women.  That being said, it's incredibly hard to sit down and write a review of a classic such as Little Women.   I mean, what am I going to say: eh, I didn't think it was that good of a story.  It's a classic.  No matter what I say, it will still be a classic.  So instead of writing a review of sorts, I decided to simply comment on my thoughts as sort of a discussion.  If you have never read Little Women, seen the movie, and have no idea what the story consists of, I would probably advise you not to continue reading, as this will probably have "spoilers."  Those who know the story, I am not going to talk about anything that you don't already know.

When I was a child, I read the book Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott.  I think it's funny that I read the "sequels" and not the original Little Women.  But from what I remember, the writing was basically the same.  Alcott writes in a writer-to-reader way, as though you are sitting in the same room listening to her tell a story.  It's more informal than I'm used to, but it still made for a good story.

As far as the novel goes, I love the story of Little Women.  It's a heartwarming story of four sisters and how they grow up.  There's Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  Each one distinctly different.    I love how each one develops in their differences and yet still remain friends.   I enjoyed reading about Meg, as she gets married and raises her family in "poverty" and yet finds happiness.  Jo, who is loosely based on Alcott herself, tries to find her authorship.  Beth, who is a homebody, aids the poor.  And Amy, always striving for to be one of society, ends up exactly where she wanted and yet in a place she never imagined.

The qualms that most people come up with regarding Little Women generally fall into three categories:  A) Beth dying, B) Jo getting married, and C) Amy ending up with Laurie.  I can't say much about Beth.  Honestly, there was such foreshadowing about her death - i.e. she never did anything but be sick and take care of the house.  I don't know, I just expected it.

Secondly, Jo getting married.  I've read several reviews about how Jo gave up her dream to be a slave to her husband, etc.  It just did not seem that way to me.  First of all, she gave up writing long before she fell in love with Fredrick.  I mean, she moved back home (doing what, I don't know.  Sorry, sometimes they just don't seem to do anything.  It's weird for me, since I've worked since I was 16.) and only wrote for her family.  But secondly, Jo never really wrote solely for writing sake.  She always was doing something else and writing in her spare time.  It just seemed to me that she was continuing on in her same path: living her life and writing as a "hobby." 

Finally, I never thought Jo should end up with Laurie.  They were too similar.  They seemed more like brother and sister.  Plus, I think that the book did way more justice to the Laurie/Amy relationship that the movie did.  I just remember the movie being like... Jo says no to Laurie.  Laurie goes to Europe.  Oh, hi Amy!  Then they get married.  It just seemed so random.  But in the book, I feel like there was so much more development that I missed in the movie.  And the development made the Laurie/Amy relationship make so much more sense.  (P.S. I think Alcott could have done without some of the Amy's the second choice insider comments.  But minus that, I enjoyed the Laurie/Amy thing way more in the book.)  Amy was Laurie's way of getting over Jo.  She was one of the only ones who understood, and yet she wouldn't let him get by with just being a sad person all the time.  She kicked him into shape.  She was the friend he needed, and he realized that she was his person.  The one he needed.  I thought it was cute.  And perhaps, my opinion is unpopular, but I stand by it.  I like Amy and Laurie together.

So there are my few thoughts on Little Women.  Honestly, I think everybody should read it, because it is a classic.  It's like Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, and The Scarlet Letter.  It should just be read.  It reminds me of the all-American tale.  I've never read Great Expectations (it's on my list, I promise).  But I can say that Little Women, though a little slower than some books I'm used to, isn't that hard of a read.  So if you are feeling educational one day, you might think about picking it up.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I love Little Women! It is my all time favorite book. There is something that just screams "home" for me when I re-read this book every year. If you have time check out my Review on Little Women

    <3 Happy Reading
    Patricia @ Patricia's Particularity

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