Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Book Details
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Paperback, 464 Pages
2004, Signet Classics
ISBN: 0451529308

In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.

I think Little Women is best read at a younger age. As an adult, I can see the important lessons in regard to friendship, family and finding your place in the world even when it goes against the norm. I appreciate the simple tone and wording that would make this book an easy read for a middle school child. And in the end, the book is ultimately a coming of age story that would be better suited for someone much younger than myself.

Reading the book as an adult, I found it hard to get into. It went from slow and meandering in the beginning to an almost break-neck pace towards the end. It was heavy on description and the characters weren't all that deep. I know it's a classic and people love these girls, but they seemed very two dimensional to me. Each had her very own set of traits and none seemed to share a trait with another as sisters would. While that could allow for each character to be her own person and made it easy to distinguish one from the next, it didn't seem real.

A wonderful book for children, but the experience doesn't justify a reading as an adult. I'm glad to have read it to try to understand the perpetual love people have for it, it wasn't something I enjoyed enough to ever want to read again. I would recommend it to my daughters for its message, but I wouldn't recommend it to my friends as recreational reading.



  1. +JMJ+

    Is it anti-nostalgia week or something? ;-) On another blog I just read a post about The Goonies not standing up to an adult viewing.

    But I actually do agree with you about Little Women. It's a great book for girls and deserves its status as a classic, but I can't imagine a mature reader coming face to face with its preachy element and not reacting. The story was patterned very closely after The Pilgrim's Progress, and the four March girls are archetypes or allegorical figures as often as they are three-dimensional characters, and I think that is what hurts it the most.

  2. I actually enjoyed it better as an adult than I did when I was younger! I'm not sure why, maybe I just "got it" better.

  3. I actually still love reading little women (my book goes on until they get married and all that, I think that in English they are two separate books). But I still have major issues with it, like the whole Amy-Laurie-Jo thing.

  4. I'll have to find my copy again and re-read it. I loved it then but it has been more than a decade, wonder if I'll see it as you do now.

  5. I've never read this but always wanted to. Might give it a shot. Great review :)

  6. @Enbrethiliel - Anti-nostalgia week? lol. Can I just admit - I've never actually seen The Goonies in its entirety. I've seen bits and pieces while flipping through the channels and heard people talk about how wonderful it is, but I don't feel any need to actually sit down and watch it.

    @Suey - Quite possibly, I think that happens with a lot of books, where they are written for children but it takes an adult mind to really appreciate the message.

    @AnimeGirl - I don't think they're sold as two separate books anymore. I know they once were, but every copy I've ever seen has always been both parts in one book.

    @Kah Woei - I don't know. I think my opinion is based on the fact that I never read it when I was younger, so it was all new to me. Or at least new to me in print form. I did see the movie with Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder and loved it.

    @miss cindy - Thanks! I think you should. It is a deserved classic, but just not quite the thing for me.

  7. I still love this book, it is one of my comfort books. It always makes me smile :) Of course, I have always really liked the movie adaptations of the book too. I agree that as an adult it isn't as engaging as it was when I was younger though.

  8. @Felicia - I think those who loved it as a child continue to love it as they get older. I know I love a lot of books I read a gazillion years ago that I probably wouldn't have truly enjoyed if I read them for the first time now.