Monday, 18 March 2013

Book review: The Little Women series

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a classic, and one of my favourite books of all time. I must have read it about thirty times during my lifetime, and first read it when I was 9 or 10 years old as it's one of my mother's favourite books too. Alcott also published three sequels: Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo's Boys. The first two books are the best in my opinion as they focus on the core characters introduced in Little Women whereas the last two books do branch out into other areas, but the whole series really is an outstanding quartet overall.

The books centre around the March family and their various trials, celebrations, family gatherings, travelling adventures and careers. The family consists of the lovely Mr and Mrs March (who remind me of my own parents), and four sisters called Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Jo is my favourite sister, closely followed by Beth, as I have a lot in common with both of them. I share Jo's love of reading and writing, and share Beth's name, quiet temperament and love of the piano! Alcott is careful not to introduce too many characters into her novels, in order to develop the ones she's already established, which I think adds to the appeal of these four books. There is nothing worse than getting lost in a web of characters and feeling no affiliation with any of them.

Let's just get one thing straight... if you're an ardent atheist or a staunch feminist, you won't enjoy these books. The books are old fashioned due to the period in which they were written, and still abide by the idea that women should stay at home and look after the house and children while their husbands go to work. However, the women really are the cornerstone of every household in the book. Also, the March family are devout Christians and consequently there are many Christian messages and morals displayed throughout the four books. Some readers would find the moral element of the books to be quite pious, but I grew up with moral stories like these so they remind me of a simpler time! I genuinely find it refreshing to read books with a simple heartfelt message, where everything turns out alright in the end. The books have their fair share of grief and sadness, and I'm guaranteed a good cry at least four times per book, but the March family always battle through their trials and come out of their tribulations as stronger people. Yes, the messages in the books are simplistic and not always reflective of the drudgery of real life. However, a bit of idyllic escapism never hurt anyone.

Has anyone else read the Little Women series and loved it? I can't be the only young fan of these books, surely!

6 comments:

  1. I'm the exact same, I read them around the same age and fell in love! I think they should be read and encouraged to be read in schools more, they're timeless!

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    x

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    1. Most definitely! It's lovely to meet a fellow fan :) x

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  2. I've never read them but I really want to... Except I'm an ardent atheist AND a staunch feminist! Might still give them a try xx

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    1. You should, I'd be interested to hear what you think :) Have some tissues handy! x

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  3. They're one of my favourite series' and books i've read so many times. Cannot wait to share them with my daughter.

    I remember the first time I read Good Wives.. heartbroken is an understatement!

    Although I'm agnostic, when I was reading the book the Christian message didn't bother me in the slightest.

    Amy x cocktailsinteacups.com

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    1. Good Wives is definitely the saddest of the four, I usually cry every two chapters or so! x

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