The Little Women
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The Little Women

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Sisters Meg, Jo and Amy have the perfect family--loving, creative parents; a comfortable life on Manhattan's Upper West Side; a future full of possibility. Perfect until the daughters discover their mother has had affair, and, even worse, that their father has forgiven her. Shattered by their parents' failure to live up to the moral standards and values of the family, the...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 2003)
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So close - and yet so very very far. The Little Women tries to be a lot of things - literary allusion wrapped in literary criticism wrapped in a rewrite wrapped in a novel - and I may have the wrong order in that. The fourth wall is broken on a regular basis by the 'author', Joanna-don't-call-me-Jo, & by her sisters, Meg and Amy, as they all make chatty criticisms of the book & each other throughout. (There was a Beth. Beth was a turtle. The turtle died.)
Since I myself am a overly educat...more
Weber's "The Little Women" is one of the better books I've read all year. It tells the story of the three Green sisters, conveniently named Meg, Jo, and Amy (Beth was a turtle who died). After learning about their mother's affair, they decide to leave their family in Manhattan and move in with Meg, a senior at Yale.

The story is narrated from the point of view of Jo-- and includes commentary from the other two sisters.

What was the most enchanting about this book was not only how seamlessly Weber...more
Jul 21, 2012 martha rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2005
[2005 review.] What a truly terrible book. I was intrigued by the gimmick -- the three main characters are named Meg, Jo and Amy after the sisters in the Louisa May Alcott novel of almost the same name -- and the premise -- upset by the discovery of their mother's affair they run away from their apparently perfect home to live with Meg at college. But the execution was abysmal: nothing at all happens, there's no real plot, no rising or falling action, so the whole way through I felt like the boo...more
I'm not sure if the device of having the two other sisters commenting on the story as told by the narrator is entirely successful - it seemed to me that it was an attempt to try and give a very slight, rather familiar tale a bit more substance. And it is quite a slight story: three sisters, named after the (surviving) sisters in Alcott's Little Women, decide to cut off contact with their parents and live in an apartment in New Haven, as the oldest sister goes to Yale. That's basically it - the s...more
How did I miss this book a few year's ago? Partway through I thought, isn't this the author of "True Confections?" Yup. Anyway. I thought this book was delightful. A retelling of the sisters created by Louisa May Alcott (the parents skipped Beth because they knew how it ended) this brought back my childhood memories and love of "Little Women" while amusing me with its twist on the old tale. The plot could stand on its own, but knowing your Alcott was the perfect spice. This book is very, very cl...more
A really nifty little novel about three sisters (Meg, Joanna and Amy) who lead a perfect life until they discover mom's had an affair which dad's forgiven. They cannot forgive either one and the 3 teens move out and form their own family with one Teddy Bell. Lots of very clever literary devices are used. An original and very unusual story that I enjoyed very much and will recommend.

"This is the story of the year we left our mother and father in order to live on our own, away from their bad behav...more
Ab fab. Where was this book in my college days. Had a whole class on fiction and points of view and credibility. I love Weber. Not to mention I am familiar with the New Haven refrences. Good reads, good reads.
A clever story that speaks volumes about the way we create personal narratives for ourselves and others, then become angry when reality doesn't match with our preconceived notions.
Jan 05, 2008 Meggityb rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ellen, Kate, Leslie
Very clever retelling of the story...I love it.
Joanne in Canada
A quirky book that plays on the perennial question of novels: Just how autobiographical is it? Ostensibly written by Joanna Green, the middle of three sisters, about the falling apart of their family's idyllic existence after they discover that their mother had an affair. The author's voice is spot on for a high school girl, which enabled me to continue despite lengthy nostalgic descriptions of past events and some repetition. Weber allows the other two sisters--Meg and Amy--to "comment" on Joan...more
Thing Two
I really enjoyed Weber's The Music Lesson: A Novel, and have had this re-do of Louisa May Alcott's famous book on my list for quite some time. Unfortunately, I took it off my list and actually opened the book. Ugh.

The premise of the book is obvious, a modernization of the traditional tale of the four March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - however, Beth is a turtle in this version. Weber does an adequate job of modernizing the story. Meg is still the mother-like figure to her younger sisters, J...more
Lately I've been reading books that are springboards from other (classical) books, such as When She Woke and The Innocents (springing from The Scarlet Letter and The Age of Innocence. This was written back in 2003, so it was ahead of its' time! And Weber doesn't re-write Little Women, just uses sisters named after the characters with some familiar quirks. It would make sense that Jo would play sports if Alcott was writing it now, for example. It has been decades since I've read Little Women but...more
I wanted to like this more than I did. I thought the idea of an updated Little Women was an interesting idea, but found the execution more than a little inconsistent. I thought the way the girls talked was a little precious--they're SO smart! Even Amy who never did well in school! And I found it odd the way that it didn't seem to be much like Little Women at all--and that was okay, by the way, that it just took inspiration from it and said, "What IF the March family wasn't as perfect as it seeme...more
Incredibly disappointing; a rehashing of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, but with none of the warmth, wit and charm of the original. It tries to be intelligent and scholarly, an exploration of classic literature archetypes in a very modern world, but fails miserably into a vague self-indulgent ego trip for the author.

Self-consciously an attempt at postmodernism, Weber attempts to be clever and insightful, winking at her audience throughout the novel from the perspective of this new Jo, snidel...more
May 23, 2010 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I added this book to my list of things to read after I heard about it on the Writer's Almanac. It's a modern twist on the classic Little Women. I really like reading books that are set in places I've visited -- this novel is set in New Haven and one of the main characters attends Yale. I've recently visited New Haven and walked around Yale so I was excited to read about a place I've been to. So I enjoyed that connection. I generally enjoyed the plot of the book, but didn't care for the constant...more
This book and I didn't get along all that well but the overall experience was a good one. Though a major stylistic element drove me a bit crazy -- it did in the long run move things to the end point of the story. As for the overall construct of relating the story to Little women -- I of course LOVED it because Alcott's work is so ingrained in my being from repeated readings and from wide-ranging reading on Alcott herself. This one will stay alongside my Alcott books -- just for the fact that it...more
I adored Weber's "True Confections," but this novel, about three sisters who take off to live together after learning of their mother's brief affair, I found lacking. It has some of the same wit and charm, but needs a plot. And one central question to me--how would young girls raised in a privileged private school in Manhattan fare in a New Haven public school--was never answered, perhaps because it was too serious a question for this author to tackle. And the frequent disruptions, the comments...more
As might be postulated from the title, this book is a take-off of Louisa May Alcott's book, Little Women. This is a reimagining of the story in the modern day, but with a big difference - Meg, Jo and Amy move out of their formerly happy family home in disgust after their mother has an affair. The book is written from Jo's point of view as a novel, but then there are many comments from Meg and Amy, questioning Jo's telling of the story, and her idea of the truth of the tale. I found the story its...more
I particularly enjoyed the meta elements, the footnotes. Clever.
Jan 10, 2008 Shelley rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shelley by: Ilia
Shelves: literature
Eh. It was an interesting idea, I guess, but the execution bored me entirely.

When the Green sisters find out that their mother had an affair and their father easily forgave her, 17 year old Joanna and 15 year old Amy move in with their older sister, Meg, who's attending Yale. This is Joanna's story about that year, with comments from her sisters every now and again. It twisted Little Women enough to be interesting, but....blah. I didn't really like any of them much, and the ending was so abrupt...more
Sep 20, 2008 Miriam rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like postmodernism and literary criticism
Recommended to Miriam by: found at library
Shelves: fiction
Books like this are the reason why I decided not to study literature in graduate school. I understand that it is playing with the genre of homage novels that have become so popular, and I picked up the book, like I do most homage novels, because I was interested in seeing what the reader did with the story. I felt, however, that she was too clever by half, and spent more time showing her awareness of literary criticism then she did developing characters and a story that I could care about.
whoa. i really disliked this book. the only glimmer was the (gratuitous) mention of new haven landmarks. even those seemed like a stretch to make the book feel somewhat comforting to people familiar with the locale.

happy to be done.

oh yeah. the last book i read that i disliked to the same degree was The Great Gatsby. a book the main characters in the Little Women absolutely cherish. what a cool coincidence.
Mar 23, 2010 Ann rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Three sisters lead an idyllic life with their parents in New York until their world is upended upon discovering their mother has had an affair. What transpires is laid out in a "novel" written by the middle daughter, Jo. What makes The Little Women so fun to read are the "readers' notes" inserted randomly in the story. I bet this would be a fun one to listen on audiobook!

This book might have been better if it had been written as a straight novel without the "reader notes". They were just distracting and did not allow the characters to fully develop. Also, the tone came off as pretentious instead of witty and intellectual.
Just remembered I also read this novel by Katharine Weber. Really liked it -- modern day take on one of my favorite books and set in my favorite small city. Might just have to re-read it this summer!
Every girl and woman should read Little Women...its a heart filled story
of love, sisterhood in a time when things were simple....and it was okay.
Love , babies, death...and realisation ..
I didn't like the characters - thought they were very self-righteous and therefore couldn't really get into the book.
Great, absolutely great. Reminded me a bit of "The Jane Austen Book Club," which I also really enjoyed.
Ewa Krzeminska
Read it twice...Saw the movie a few times...It's naive,simple,gentle. Caresses my soul every time...
A nice modern twist on an old classic, somewhat dissatisfying in the interpretation.
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Katharine Weber’s fiction debut in print, the short story "Friend of the Family," appeared in The New Yorker in January, 1993.

Her first novel, Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear (of which that story was a chapter), was published by Crown Publishers, Inc. in 1995 and was published in paperback by Picador in 1996. She was named by Granta to the controversial list of 50 Best Young America...more
More about Katharine Weber...
Triangle True Confections The Music Lesson Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear: A Novel The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family's Legacy of Infidelities

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