Kerry's Reviews > Moods

Moods by Louisa May Alcott
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Jan 21, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: everything

Although I grew up loving Little Women and the rest of Louisa May Alcott's books for children, I never really ventured into any of the books she intended for more mature readers. I picked up Moods because it was recommended to me by someone in a book club that I joined, who called it Alcott's take on Jane Eyre.

Now that I have read Moods, I can say that it wasn't my favorite Alcott (a part of me wonders if I would have loved her books so much if I had read them for the first time as an adult, as opposed to having a childhood of love and nostalgia to bolster my opinions of them) but it was definitely interesting.
The story is a basic love triangle… two friends in love with the same girl who makes bad decision after bad decision because she is ruled by her moods and impulses rather than principal. It was a little preachy in parts but that is classic Alcott, something I think I would have tolerated a little less had I first read her books when I was older instead of falling in love with them as a child.

I am not sure where the Jane Eyre comparison comes in. I agree Adam was imperious enough to be somewhat like Mr. Rochester but he was in no way as fascinating as Mr. Rochester was. And he was held up as a paragon of virtue who the other characters looked to for guidance and correction (again, classic Alcott) while Mr. Rochester was flawed and desperately ruled by his passions and need to be loved. Also the "there is no way he loves me so I should just go about making my plans" plotline is somewhat similar. And I guess you can make a case for Geoffrey being this book's equivalent of St. John Rivers, although I liked him. He was sweet as opposed to the stern, arrogant; saint in training that was St. John. There was a little element of him taking a paternal interest in Sylvia that was a little condescending (even more classic Alcott) but overall he reminded me of Mac from Rose in Bloom (one of my favorite characters from of my favorite Alcott books) or Mr. Knightly from Jane Austen’s Emma.

Overall, for me, it seemed a lot more like a Dickens’s novel (particularly something like Hard Times), with a touch of Austen thrown in, written in Louisa May Alcott's voice. I am ridiculously happy that the "right" guy won out in the end. Quite frankly, I couldn't see the attraction in Adam. He reminded me of Dan from Little Men but with less charm and a superior attitude that I found grating.

But I love that, at least in part, the solution to the whole mess was taking time away from both men, growing up and getting to know her own mind before making any decisions. (I think if that kind of common sense approach was featured in more romantic books and movies, it would be healthier for both the characters and the audience.) And I found the character of Sylvia to be a little fascinating. I think a more modern author would have cast her as someone suffering from manic depression. Louisa May Alcott even describes her changeability as an illness… albeit one that could be overcome with time, maturity and force of will alone.

Again, it was an interesting read but not something that I would probably pick up and re-read.
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