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

Louisa May Alcott by Harriet Reisen
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Jan 06, 10

bookshelves: 2010, non-fiction
Read in January, 2010

Having loved Little Women as a child and having visited Orchard House in high school, I was thrilled to see a new biography of Louisa May Alcott appearing on the shelves. Reisen's biography is very accessible and brings her subject, as well as the whole Alcott family, to life through excerpts from letters, journals and Alcott's (often autobiographical) stories. She also doesn't round off Alcott's rough edges, as previous biographers had done to preserve the author's "Aunt Jo" public persona.

Instead, Reisen delves into Alcott's childhood and adolescence as formation for not only the plots of her most beloved stories, but also as the reason for her prodigious writing output and clever manipulation of her persona for business purposes. She also points out Alcott's constant struggle between an independent life and supporting her close-knit family.

Overall, a tour-de-force biography that is extremely readable and enjoyable.
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