Book Reviews

So many books (you know the rest)

Little Women
by Louissa May Alcott
Published in 1868 (I finished it on January 14, 2008)

Little Women Review

(warning: contains spoilers)

I really liked this book. And I only read it because…well, there are several reasons…

First of all, I enjoy the classics. Writers, from books to television to movies, allude to the classics frequently, and I prefer being “in the know.” Moreover, there’s often a good reason why a classic became a classic. It may be a great and powerful story, a moving message or simply a fascinating depiction of life in that period. As well, movies haven’t been around for very long, so if you want to know what life was like in Renaissance times, you’ll need a good book. Okay, you could watch a movie or documentary about the period, but then, where did the writers of the movie get their information from?

Also, I’d known of Little Women for many years. The extent of my knowledge was this: it was a classic novel with four girls in it. But in recent years, I’d seen more references to it: a Friend’s episode where Joey is traumatized by the sad events in the novel, or even the making of it into a musical (still unsure if that was a wise idea). Nevertheless, people were referring to it, and I was being left out.

Finally, I figured being an English grad student in literature, I should be aware of the story. It’s always a bonus if the story is a good one.

And it is. I found the novel moving and inspiring. A bit of confusion was alighted once I realized that it took place in America and not England (“Washington Hospital” makes so much more sense that way). I guess I had just assumed it was another “English” novel.

The characters are well done and I suppose I’m only stating the usual—I mean of course they’re well developed—it’s a classic, after all! So what can I say that’s interesting and new? Probably not a whole lot. Thus, I’ll say what I liked. Frankly, I enjoyed their constant pursuit in being the best person they could be. Each girl had flaws and worked to overcome them. Some may argue that they weren’t flawed enough and maybe too “good,” but then maybe we expect people to be too violent, angry and mean nowadays, but I actually know very few people like that!

Perhaps I’m just an easy sell, but I really got into each of the characters and cared about their choices and lives. I knew about the impending fate of one, yet still found it a very emotional episode when the time came. And the poem she dedicated to her sister…wow, that hit hard.

And when they became ladies in Part Two, I wondered which one I would have chosen had they been real. Certainly not Meg—too dull for me. I suppose it was between Jo and Amy, and truth be told, I’d have to choose Amy. Sure, she was a little vain at first, but her ladylike qualities just eventually win out over Jo’s feistiness. It wasn’t an easy choice, mind you, Jo had that best friend “someone you wrestle with” quality, which seemed nice, yet the quality of being a lady was just a stronger sell. Anyway, that’s just my preference; yours may be Jo or even Megan. Heck, I suppose it could be Beth, but she’s dead, and conversations wouldn’t be too fun after a while.

Thus, I’m quite happy having read it. I almost wish it were longer. I hear there is another novel, a continuation, by the same author, yet one was enough. There are others classics to explore and the list is longer than anyone’s lifetime.