Debbie's Reviews > Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen
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1709540
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Dec 22, 09

bookshelves: historical, memoir, non-fiction
Read in December, 2009

This biography of Louisa May Alcott was a well-written, enjoyable read. Harriet Reisen gave a chronological account of the Alcott's lives while relating how the national events of the time effected them and how they influenced history (through their Transcendental movement, abolition movement, etc.). She also worked in many quotes taken from letters and the personal journals kept by each member of the family.

The first 87 pages were mainly about Louisa's parents (Abby and Bronson) and their friends. If you're interested in Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, and other famous Transcendentalists, you'll probably enjoy this section more than I did. I was continually exasperated with her parents and, while I saw the value of showing the influences Louisa grew up with and how they affected her writing, I didn't like her parents and wanted to get on to focusing on Louisa.

From page 88 to 302, Harriet Reisen focused on Louisa and, to a lesser degree, her sisters. This section was lively and very fun to read though Louisa didn't have a very easy life. I liked how Harriet Reisen let us see Louisa's faults as well as her strong points and how she tied Louisa's experiences to her books: Louisa would often take real life events and work them into fictional accounts.

The rest of the book was references and notes about the quotes and information. There were no pictures. I would have at least enjoyed a picture of Louisa.

There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable biography to anyone who loves Louisa May Alcott's novels and wants to know more about her.

I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
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