“Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City.”Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Title: Little Women
Series: Little Women (Book 1)
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Genres: Classics, Young Adult
Pages: 647 (Kindle)
My Rating: ★★★★★
Read: 10/9/2022 – 10/17/2022
I’m not sure what I can say about this book that hasn’t been said before. It’s a story that has meant so much to so many people for centuries. Having grown up visiting Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, being able to physically enter that world makes reading the story as an adult hit so differently.
The story follows the lives of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, four sisters living in the Civil War times in Massachusetts. The book is somewhat based on Louisa May Alcott’s life, making it a nice and genuine glimpse at life in the 1800s. With a mix of family life as well as social matters of the time, it’s become a piece of history rather than a mere novel.
I think I have to credit this book for my love of character-driven stories. The sisters have such diverse personalities that make their intertwined lives so interesting to read about. My favorite has always been Beth and I love her even more now. I got lost in her scenes. I also love that it’s a story where, when going back, you can open up any chapter and be immersed.
Likes & Dislikes:
What I liked:
- The characters. Reading this book was like visiting with lifelong friends.
- The simplicity of the story. It’s real. It’s full of heart. But it’s not complicated.
- The setting. As a Massachusetts native, I love reading stories set here, especially when I can actually visit the locations.
What I didn’t like:
- This comes from knowing the history behind the publication process, but to avoid spoilers, I’ll say changes to Jo’s character that Louisa May Alcott hadn’t intended.
I feel like I’ve had three phases with this story now. As a child, I used to visit the Orchard House at least once a year with my friends to help with their spring cleanup. I might have read bits and pieces of the book but not from start to finish. I don’t remember. Still, I knew the story from the tours through the house. When it was just four of us, we each had a character. I was Beth.
The second phase was as a teenager when I saw a high school production of the musical adaption. At that time I identified more with Jo, constantly writing with the dream of being published and having trouble letting go of the plan for my life I’d held onto for years. I could still find a bit of myself in Beth, too, but it was Jo’s songs I belted out.
Now that I’ve read it in full as an adult, I feel a connection with Beth again and deeper than before. I think most girls can identify with one, two, or all four of the sisters in one way or another. It’s interesting that of my childhood friend group (though I’m not really in contact with them anymore) we retained parts of the characters we pretended to be as kids. The book truly stands the test of time.