Megan Larson's Reviews > Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
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's review
Aug 04, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: children-and-ya, modern-to-contemporary, favorite-books-ever
Recommended for: Everyone!
Read in December, 2010 , read count: 2

I cracked this book open thinking I was revisiting it for the first time since childhood. As I read, however, I gained the impression that I was reading it for the first time, period. Did too many viewings of the Wynona Ryder film version dub over my memories of the original? Shame on Hollywood, really and truly!
I wish I could do this review justice, but my newborn-addled brain just isn't up to it. I would simply like to say that, from my experiences growing up in a family of faith, falling in love and marrying, raising young children, and thinking toward the young women and man they will grow up to be, Ms. Alcott was a terribly wise woman. And, although some have attempted to defend the novel against the accusation that it is a 'morality play' (which it is not) by claiming how forward-thinking Ms. Alcott was for her time, I tend to disagree. Yes, she was a female writer, and her female protagnist Jo gets a living through writing, but there is a good deal more that is 'old-fashioned' about her characters, even in their own thinking, than the other way around. From the scene of philosophical debate pitting 'Reason' against God where Jo's world was turned topsy-turvy by Modernist rhetoric to the many references to those 'well-worn little books' that were the girls' guide in life, the standard of true joy and happiness seems to be the oldest one of all, while the cultural backdrop of the Civil War plays only a secondary role.
I would be painting a very inaccurate picture of the book, though, if I failed to point out how many times I smiled reading this book--other people's failings and foibles are very funny, especially when I see myself in them. I was particularly amused by the description of Meg's little toddler as an "engaging little sinner" when in action, a "captive autocrat" when being disciplined, and Meg herself as his "tender bondwoman." It's a good thing I never let my children get the better of me...
I picked this book up because I was feeling nostalgic this Christmas season, and I found all the comforts I sought and more. This book is a treasure I intend to revisit many times over.

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