Greetings fellow bookworms!
How are you all doing today? I can’t believe it’s already over halfway through the year! Things have been going by so quickly. I feel like realizing that I’m actually fifteen now has made me look back and wonder where all the years went! Time definitely flies.
Speaking of which, today I’m going to be reviewing a timeless classic, Little Women. I read this book for my American Literature class and to be honest, I was kind of dreading it, lol. But thanks to Diamond’s encouragement with the book, by the time I actually picked it up, I was feeling much better about it.
It’s strange how nostalgic this book felt even though I’ve never read it before. I think it’s just one of those books that really connects with the “inner child” in everyone, regardless of how old you are when you read it.
So grab a glass of lemonade or iced tea and let’s jump in!
Title: Little Women; or Meg, Jo, Beth And Amy
Author: Louisa May Alcott (L.M. Alcott)
Genre: Novel, Fiction, Children’s Literature, Coming-of-Age, Realistic Fiction, Classic, Sentimental Novel
Length: 759 pages (I believe this is combining the first and second volume which is what I read . . . I wasn’t sure how long Little Women by itself was)
Publication Date: The first volume was published in 1868 and the second (Good Wives) was published a year later
Little Women is the classic story we’ve all come to know and love. Following the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—Louisa May Alcott gives us a glimpse into the deeply family-centered lives of these four girls. Although it is free of much of the action and drama many books are often filled with, Little Women manages to draw us into a beautiful world that was once as real as the world we live in today.
As I mentioned in the intro, I was not looking forward to reading Little Women for school. It was (quite obviously) written for girls and I was afraid that it would fall into the usual category of “girls fiction”. (And just so you know, not all girls like girls fiction—it’s a most unfortunate stereotype to think that every single girl is into romance and drama and perfect endings)
But I’m happy to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I found that Little Women was indeed the amazing classic everyone said it was. There wasn’t any weird, romantic drama, but the characters often found themselves in such awkward situations that I almost felt embarrassed for them.
Despite being a “classic” (which is often equivalate to the word “old”), I found that the story was very easy to read. The chapters went by quickly and kept me engaged for the whole time. The reading level itself was quite simple and it wasn’t bogged down with a lot of (excessive) description.
Although while I’m talking about the plot, I should mention that you should be prepared for no action. There are a few scenes throughout the book that I suppose could be a bit suspenseful, but for most of the book nothing really happens.
This makes sense because I feel like the book was focusing more on character development and the relationship between the characters, but if you’re used to a normal plot where smaller, sequential events lead up to a bigger conflict . . . well, this book may be a bit of a change for you.
And okay, there were a few things that I found to be annoying here.
First of all, Jo is the typical “tom-boy” character. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Jo’s character. But for the whole book, it’s implied that Jo only acts like she does because she’s not very “ladylike”. Personally, it annoys me when people imply that gender determines everything about your personality, and I get really annoyed when all the stronger girls in books are compared with boys. That’s how I felt it was in Little Women.
And I do understand; Louisa May Alcott was trying to set a good example with her characters for the girls who would be reading her book. But still . . .
Another thing I thought was weird is that Meg, Jo and Beth are all pretty mature, but then Amy (who’s just a year younger than Beth) is seen as this childish, immature character. I didn’t feel like the characters were extremely accurate to how old they were.
Okay, back to the positives! I thought it was cool that Little Women drew so many parallels from The Pilgrim’s Progress. At the beginning of the story, the girls resolve to model their lives after Christian’s and for most of the story, this is their guide. The Pilgrim’s Progress has been a staple book in my family for my whole life and naturally I loved this aspect of the story.
The morals in this book were clear and memorable, but I did feel like they beat you over the head a bit at times. Another thing I didn’t like was that Beth’s natural shyness is seen and talked about as if it were a fault. Personally, I don’t believe that being shy or quiet is something you can just “change” and I didn’t think it was fair of the other characters to look at it as if it were something wrong.
But all in all, I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t get around to talking about the characters (this post is already getting too long) but I loved them all. Like I mentioned, it all felt strangely nostalgic. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to curl up in a chair with a warm cup of tea. I would definitely recommend this book to people of all ages!
My Favorite Character from Little Women
“So you’re not afraid of me, hey?”
“Not much, sir.”
“And you don’t think me as handsome as your grandfather?”
“Not quite, sir.”
“And I’ve got a tremendous will, have I?”
“I only said I thought so.”
“But you like me, in spite of it?”
“Yes, I do, sir.”Little Women–Louisa May Alcott
Okay, okay, I really did not want to fall in love with Jo. Jo is probably the most well-known character in Little Women and everyone loves her. I went into this book determined not to fall for Jo before I had examined her character thoroughly.
And, after the first few chapters, I realized that she really is just one of those characters you can’t help liking. Jo is often breaking out of the social norm. She’s confident, but not self-sufficient. She’s strong, but caring. She can come off as pushy and bossy at times, but at most points it’s because she’s worried about her sisters. All in all, I felt like her character was the perfect balance.
I also love that the emphasis was on her for most of the book. I rarely see books focusing on the second oldest child and I maintain that the second oldest child is the most misunderstood. 😂 I related to Jo worrying about her younger siblings, and also the struggles that came with watching her older sister grow up and grow somewhat apart. It was beautifully done and I love how much Jo matures by the end of the book.
Sexual Content/Romance: Some characters flirt but it’s very minor.
Other: The kids put on a play in which there is a witch. There’s quite a bit of “revenge” throughout the book, but it rarely has severe consequences. A baby dies in one character’s lap, but it’s just mentioned.
My Overall Rating
Have you read Little Women? What did you think? Have you read any other books by Louisa May Alcott? Do you like Jo?