Tuesday, June 21, 2011
by Louisa May Alcott
completed June 2011
I think most everyone knows the basic premise of Little Women. It follows the March family and their four daughters--Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy--as they grow into adulthood. I'm embarrassed to say that at thirty years old, this is my first reading of Little Women. I've never even seen the movie.
Funny little story before I get to my review. I found a copy of Little Women at a charity shop. It had the movie tie-in cover (I hate those!), but it was 20 pence so I went ahead and picked it up. I finished the book, then was super confused. The back of the book says that Jo finds love and Amy goes abroad. What? My book ended with the scene with Meg and Mr. Brooke. I guess there are two parts and my copy only had part one. The copy I have gives no indication that it is only part of the book. It says complete and unabridged. Ugh! So annoying! Luckily my husband had bought himself a toy the previous week, a shiny new iPad 2, so I downloaded the free kindle version so I could read part two. It was my first time reading a book on the iPad. I didn't love the experience, but maybe I'll get used to it at some point.
So, back to the actual talk about the book. I'm glad that there was a part two, because I wasn't that enamored with it after part one. The second part was much better than the first, I thought. I loved seeing the girls grow up and struggle to figure out who they were and what they wanted in their lives. This is, yet again, one of those books that I wish I had read as a child. I'm a teeny bit cynical and their family's happiness and innocence appeared unrealistic to me. It was also sort of preachy at times. There was always some moral lesson that the girls were learning. It's not that I disagree with Alcott's morals, it's just that it was too overt for my taste. I hate not loving a book that everyone else seems to love, but I have to be honest--it was just okay for me.
I loved the characters in Little Women, though. I appreciated that each character had their weaknesses that they needed to work through. Flaws make more realistic characters, so I appreciate that they were all a tad flawed. I really loved the section with Meg and her husband. Having been through the married with a new baby stage, it was spot on. Children are absolutely wonderful, but there is a huge adjustment period when they arrive. Trying to find time for your relationship with your spouse and still being there for your children is a delicate balance. I loved seeing Meg and her husband work through that.
In all, I would recommend it with some hesitation. I don't think it's for everyone. Christian morals play heavily into the themes and plot. I think young girls would appreciate it more than adults. I'm glad that I read it, and I'm looking forward to passing it along to my daughter when she's old enough to read it.
Have you read Little Women? What did you think? I'd love to see a movie adaptation of it. Do you have an adaptation you would recommend?
Posted by Kristi at 3:58 PM