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Little Women (Penguin Classics)by Louisa May Alcott
[Ed. note: This review which covers two books, Little Women and An Old-Fashioned Girl, was originally published in the Atlantic Monthly, April 1903.]
"There is, in short, no separate standard of taste by which to determine the value of books written for children. To be of permanent use, they must possess literary quality; that is, they must be whole-souled, broad, mature in temper, however simple they may need to be in theme or manner. This truth is not always observed by the fond adult buyer. The given book..." H. W. Boynton, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
Synopses & Reviews
Little Women is recognized as one of the best-loved classic children's stories, transcending the boundaries of time and age, making it as popular with adults as it is with young readers. The beloved story of the March girls is a classic American feminist novel, reflecting the tension between cultural obligation and artistic and personal freedom. But which of the four March sisters to love best? For every reader must have their favorite. Independent, tomboyish Jo; delicate, loving Beth; pretty, kind Meg; or precocious and beautiful Amy, the baby of the family? The charming story of these four "little women" and their wise and patient mother Marmee enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England was an instant success when first published in 1868 and has been adored for generations.
The story of a year in the life of the March family. While their father is away in the civil war, the four sisters and their mother work hard to maintain a happy and peaceful home. We hear of their troubles and their joys and come to sympathize with the characters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg's joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo's struggle to become a writer, Beth's tragedy, and Amy's artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louisa May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth- century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
Louisa May Alcott's iconic novel-the beloved portrait of a nineteenth-century New England family in wartime
The classic story of the March family, Little Women has been adored for generations. Now in a vibrant new deluxe edition with an introduction by Jane Smiley and a cover by Julie Doucet, the novel follows the lives of four sisters-tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy-as they come of age while their father is fighting in the Civil War. Since 1868, readers have rooted for Laurie in his pursuit of Jo's hand, cried over the family's tragedy, and dreamed of traveling through Europe with old Aunt March and Amy. In this simple, enthralling tale, Louisa May Alcott has created four of American literature's most beloved women.
About the Author
Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832. The family later settled in Concord, Massachusetts, where Alcott was influenced by their neighbors Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. At a young age, Louisa took on some of the family’s financial burdens and worked as a domestic, a teacher, and a writer. In 1868 and 1869, fame and fortune came with the publication of Little Women. The author of numerous novels and an active campaigner for temperance and women’s suffrage, Alcott died in 1888.
Regina Barecca, Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut, is the editor of the influential journal LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory. Among her many books are They Used to Call Me Snow White . . . But I Drifted, a widely acclaimed study of women’s humor, and Babes in Boyland, It’s Not That I’m Bitter . . . , and Untamed and Unabashed: Essays on Women and Humor in British Literature. She is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Women’s Humor.
Susan Straight is an award-winning fiction writer whose novel Highwire Moon, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her other novels include Aquaboogie, I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked out All the Pots, and Blacker than a Thousand Midnights. She was born in Riverside, California, and lives there with her three daughters.
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