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Transcendental Wild Oats

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  126 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
He set out to make his utopian dream come true-Bronson Alcott, his wife and four daughters, and an odd assortment of friends who knew more about philosophy than they did about farming. Would their experience at Fruitlands last through the hard New England winter? Transcendentalist commune is for readers of all ages who love Alcott, history, or just a good story told with h ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1873)
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Walden by Henry David ThoreauLittle Women by Louisa May AlcottThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel HawthorneSelf-Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo EmersonLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
20th out of 110 books — 51 voters
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne FrankA Writer's Diary by Virginia WoolfThe Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith HoldenThe Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia PlathThe Diary of Frida Kahlo by Frida Kahlo
Women's Journals and Diaries in History
40th out of 232 books — 106 voters

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Community Reviews

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Oct 22, 2016 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Assigned reading. :/
Jan 05, 2008 rinabeana rated it really liked it
The first thing that struck me was the absolutely snarky tone of the story. I immediately got the impression that LMA was scornful of the whole project, but it didn't seem that she was lambasting her father for the experiment. I think Charles Lane came off worse than Bronson, but it was clear that the men of the experiment had no grasp on reality. LMA was obviously sympathetic with her mother's plight - basically running the daily chores and making sure her children didn't suffer from the experi ...more
Jun 01, 2013 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a Louisa May Alcott fan, intrigued by the bizarre genius of Bronson Alcott, or are looking for a unique story about 19th Century communal living, this is a book to track down. Fruitlands was a remarkable study in untapped brilliance, adult temper tantrums, long suffering wives and the resolution of women in the 19th century. The entire period of Alcott's life really just leaves the reader shaking his or her head in disbelief, but to read this version by Alcott herself does wonders to ...more
More Alcott reading. The fascination never seems to fade with me.

Second reading 31JUL2011. As remember but an ineteresting connection in the letters of A. Bronson Alcott and C. Lane as to the ideas put forth concerning the raising of cattle and the ills done to the earth and to humans -- echoes of the current loss of forests to grazing land and the conglomerate growth of feed for feed lots and the ills of too much consumption of beef both to the planet and to the population -- remember now this
Oct 19, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, food-studies
This is a short story/excerpt based upon Louisa May Alcott's father's religious adventures in the transcendental Fruitlands community. It includes details about the farming and eating practices of the transcendentalists, which was a sort of vegan/raw food/macrobiotic type diet meant to cleanse the body and soul and promote abstention from sin.
Rachel Terry
Jun 24, 2009 Rachel Terry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, memoir
Louisa May Alcott was 11 years old when her father and Charles Lane founded the Fruitlands Community, a transcendental commune in MA. LMA made the only public record of the experience, changing names and recounting observations and conversations. Despite the idealism of the project, LMA seems obviously relieved when the experiment fails.
Apr 04, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
I read this as a young teen (12?), before I read more critical biographies of Alcott. It appealed to me more than some of her other stories, which seemed too sweet. When I read more about Alcott's life, I saw that this is a serious struggle between idealism, & the selfishness involved in its pursuit.

You can read it as an adult & still find things in it.
Sep 21, 2013 Miki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Loved how Louisa was being ironic about people who lived in utopian community being unrealistic.
Fruitland in the story reminded me of Dwight's Schrute farm from the Office for some reason.
Jul 06, 2014 Ally rated it liked it
Very short and quick reading. Not particularly interesting or enlightening on its own, but much more so as a companion to the "Eden's Outcasts" book. A firsthand account of time spent as a pre-teen living on a commune in Massachusetts in the mid-1800's.
Dec 27, 2011 Nyssa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one in particular.
True Rating: 2.5 stars

Interesting short autobiographical story about a plan gone wrong, and having the strength and wits to go on.
Fun, quick satire about life at Fruitlands. Won't think of the Transcendentals in quite the same way...
Jul 28, 2014 Lois rated it liked it
What a tongue-in-cheek explanation of the absurdities of living transcendentally as told by the young Louisa May Alcott. She IS funny!
Nadine Keels
Apr 07, 2016 Nadine Keels rated it really liked it
Coming in with no prior knowledge of the story, I was unprepared for the humor, which did have me laughing aloud at some points, but the underlying bite here is hard to miss.
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As A. M. Barnard:
Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866)
The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation (1867)
A Long Fatal Love Chase (1866 – first published 1995)
First published anonymously:
A Modern Mephistopheles (1877)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. She and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth and May were educated by their father, philosopher/ t
More about Louisa May Alcott...

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