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An Old-Fashioned Girl

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  18,218 ratings  ·  984 reviews
It was first serialised in the Merry's Museum magazine between July and August in 1869 and consisted of only six chapters. For the finished product, however, Alcott continued the story from the chapter "Six Years Afterwards" and so it ended up with nineteen chapters in all. The book revolves around Polly Milton, the old-fashioned girl who titles the story. Polly visits her ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Dodo Press (first published 1869)
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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  18,218 ratings  ·  984 reviews

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Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
Holy sermonizing, Batman! This isn't just an old-fashioned story, it's an old-fashioned way to tell a story -- heavy-handed preachiness in which dear little Polly, daughter of a poor minister, inspires morality among wealthy Bostonians, pleases her elders with her goodness and simplicity, and spreads joy to everyone in her path.
As subtle as a tornado.

If you can get past the preaching, the story has its charms. It shares some sweet elements with Little Women -- a spirited American girl grows up
kwesi 章英狮
I'm one of the biggest fans of Louisa May Alcott after reading her Little Women when I was in high school. It was an amazing book that every girls and boys would love and cherish until end and it was one of the greatest classics that I read since I started reading. This time, Louisa May Alcott turned the old pages of this book into a magnificent old-fashioned story. Real and fluent in a way that every reader will appreciate the old ways and life of Polly Milton.

Me, myself is an old-fashioned. I
Cute story but I did not enjoy it as much as Little Women. ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I could never quite stomach Little Women, as a child or adult, but An Old-Fashioned Girl has all the positives of LW with less sentimentality, a proper romance with the right person, and social commentary I found much more powerful and direct than LW's. I loved it when I was young, reread it many times, and loved reading it to the girls.

Then when I was doing my second-time round studying, and we read Portrait of a Lady, I had a Moment of profound significance. Okay, neither profound nor really s

Description: Tells the story of Polly, the old-fashioned girl, her friendship with the wealthy Shaws of Boston and the lessons she learns about happiness and riches.

Abigayle Claire
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This will forever be one of my favorite books (tying with The Scarlet Pimpernel). I love and relate to Polly so, so much and I think her plight of having to remain secure in who she is, is something girls of today can still relate to. None of the characters are perfect, but their interactions and desire to be better makes the book very compelling as it follows Polly's visits to her (very different) friend, Fanny's, house. It's similar to some of Alcott's other works because of the strong life le ...more
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I read 'Little Women' a long time ago and loved that book. Ok, I was much younger then. However, I cannot help but being disappointed by 'An Old-Fahsioned Girl'. The story is very sweet but marred by the narrator's preachy comments. They intrude on the story so much.
I could not help smiling at times at some of them. 'Plus ca change'! Blaming the youth for their apparent lack of purpose and superficiality etc. Glad to know that our well meaning set have been at it for more than a century now. :P
Katelyn Buxton
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update 2019: I love it even more.


I went into this book knowing it would be good, and needing “a little old-fashioned,” (to shamelessly quote Phil Coulson), but I had no idea that it would take me on such a roller-coaster of emotions. I experienced just about every feeling under the sun while reading An Old-Fashioned Girl... and that's the true magic of storytelling.

"I don’t want a religion that I put away with my Sunday clothes, and don’t take out till the day comes round aga
Sep 06, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any young girls who believes in being sincere
This book left me with such a happy feeling as a kid and I know I would still love this book when I read it again. It's like watching "The Sound of Music", you want to find comfort in it when the world dissapoints you, because you will be reminded that no matter what, being sincere and true to yourself will pay (and surely will get the boy/ the man you fall for!). Of course when you went to high school, you might learn another thing, that inner beauty didn't always prevail, thanks to the boys' h ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I ended up enjoying this more than I expected to at the beginning, but it didn't make me care as much as Little Women. I think it's because a child was teaching children and adults to be better people, rather than an adult with life experience. It took longer for me to see the characters as individuals rather than caricatures. I was rooting for characters at the end, though, so I did care more than I thought. ...more
Anne Osterlund
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Polly Milton is a fourteen-year-old country girl raised on old-fashioned values and invited to Boston for an extended stay with her friend, Fanny Shaw. Quite the unlikely friendship since Fanny, despite being only two years older, is no longer just a girl, not poor, and not old-fashioned. Little does Polly know the breakers which lie ahead: flounces and frizzles and the height of fashion, girls who consider flirtation the true purpose of schooling, and one particularly beastly red-headed boy who ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I've read it once before, several years ago, but I didn't remember much of it and it was fun to go through it again - especially now that I appreciate all the lessons tucked into "Old Fashioned Girl". Polly Milton rather reminded me of Pollyanna in a way - she comes to the city to visit her best friend Fanny Shaw and brings the sunshine with her to a rich but struggling household. She is a blessing to those around her, and her old-fashioned ways turn out to be the best as Polly ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

Polly is invited to stay with wealthy friends in Boston and finds herself to be an old-fashioned country girl. She is not worldly about parties, boys or acting like she has money. She would prefer to help her elders, read books and spend her time with hobbies. Polly seems to be helping each of the Shaws more than receiving their patronage.

I LOVE Little Women so was excited to read another book by Alcott but I found this one to lack the heart and story of Little Women. An Old-Fash
This is now my favorite Louisa May book. I can't believe it has taken me this long to read it. This book is full of goodness, truth, and beauty. I love it.

Miss Mills to Polly:

“Then, my dear, can't you bear a little ridicule for the sake of a good cause? You said yesterday that you were going to make it a principle of your life, to help up your sex as far and as fast as you could. It did my heart good to hear you say it, for I was sure that in time you would keep your word. But, Polly, a principl
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I confess I've only read Part One a few times, but I must have read Part Two at least a dozen. I'm not sure I can quite explain why a piece of juvenile fiction that suffers from no pretensions of being a great work of art is one of my absolute favorite books, but it is. There is something beautiful to me about the simplicity of the characters, the straightforward and unapologetic morality, and the everyday historical tidbits sprinkled through this book. ...more
Aug 06, 2007 rated it liked it
This is one of Louisa May Alcott's lesser known novels, but it is a good one ... in my opinion it's one of her best. I read it back when I was thirteen and I think it really shaped my adolescence. I kind of embraced being old fashioned because of this book. Polly is so thrifty and I loved the idea of being creative and saving money, especially as a poor teenager.

It's a good book ... especially for younger girls, or older ones that like remembering simpler times.
Annie ☽
The fact that I can quote "persuasive influences are better than any amount of moralizing" from, possibly, the most preachy book I've ever read is oh so amusing. Thank you Louisa for the laugh.

An Old-Fashioned Girl had probably good intentions, but fell flat when it came to their actualisation. If while reading Little Women I could turn a blind eye on the sermons popping out every chapter thanks to the lively and variegated ensemble of characters, here I really couldn't. Everything revolves arou
When this first started, I wondered why I loved this book so much years ago (I always saw this title and thought, "I LOVE that book" although I couldn't remember a thing about it)! Polly didn't seem very endearing in her young years, but the chapter where six years have passed, I begin to enjoy her merits much more. And yes, she became very endearing.

What a sweet tale, with a lovely, classic style of writing. I've always loved Louisa May Alcott's way of describing things, and she brought this st
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Do you ever feel like you are tied up in our times? Worrying too much about cell phones, fashions, and the latest whatevers? This book can set you straight. It gives you a peace of mind and fills you with simple pleasures.

The stories main character, Polly, we meet at the age of 14. She has come to stay with rich friends for a while. THey do everything so differently from she. The family has two daughters. One that is two years older than Polly called Fan, who cares for fashion, balls, and beaus
Helena Henriques
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Classic Lovers
This book, An Old-Fashioned Girl, by my favorite author, Louisa May Alcott, is another one of my favorite books. It shows that even though one may know that following the status quo is not the right thing to do, and that one must act differently to be a good person, how very hard that is to do! The main character, Polly Milton, experiences this when she sees her very fashionable friends. Polly learns that one must be true to oneself, and with love, common sense, and a good conscience, this burde ...more
Ah, I love this book. For some reason the first time I go sledding each winter it makes me think of that two-page sledding scene (not Jack and Jill for some obscure reason) and I read it all over again. My only real complaint is that Polly is pretty nearly perfect and the last chapter devolves into utter sap--though Alcott apologizes very prettily for it first. Just good.

March 2017: I think that this is the worst of Alcott's books as far as the technical aspects go, but I still really enjoy read
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been slowly making my way through this novel for a while. True, this book isn't as strong as her other stories, I always love Alcott. In our world, differences between men and women or discouraged. One of the things I love about Alcott's stories is good girls were homemakers and did womanly things, but it didn't make her girls weak.

This was such a sweet, simple story.
An old-fashioned novel about the old-fashioned world.

I don't think there are many old-fashioned young people today, so nowadays it is probably only for those who like such proper, a bit naive, but also sweet and charming stories. I like to read them, from time to time. It is never a great pleasure, but it smoothes some parts of my heart, at least for a while.
Trinity Vinton
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for all young women looking to make their way in the world!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Written the year after Little Women, and it shows. I had never read this book until now (thank you Gutenberg) and I see I haven't missed much. It seems to be a recycling of themes from LW, in particular Meg's visit to the wealthy Gardiners and her experiences at their balls and parties, as a "poor relation" (though unrelated). We also find themes that will come into their own in Rose in Bloom: the strong-minded women who are still "little womanly" enough to find their real fulfillment, not in th ...more
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Re-reading September 2016

Nov 2013:

ALouisa May Alcott classic and deservedly so. Many reviewers warned of the disconnect between the first and second section. The first portion of the book was originally written in serial and the second portion was the conclusion of the story making it printable as a book. Some reviewers complained that the break of six years between the two sections was awkward. I do not agree with that concern. While I agree that the two sections do read differently from each o
I love stories with good character development, and this one is full of it! Polly has very traditional values and manners, which seem odd to her wealthy friend in town who she visits. I love how the whole family she stays with comes to love her simple, sweet mannerisms, and then are changed and improved by her example. I'm also glad that the story continues past the first visit, and we are able to see how they all turn out as they get older. In the end, it is a story of what truly makes us happy ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Ok, it was slightly better than Little Women, maybe because there were fewer of them to be relentlessly testing my gag reflex with their moralizing and aspirations to goodness.

My second star comes from a whole two pages, a scene that almost doesn't fit with the rest of the book, where LMA gives a glimpse into her changing time, and the future: Becky is sculpting a woman "bigger, lovelier, and more imposing" than any other women of the day.

One "set" of Polly's friends are artists and writers wi
Juli Anna
May 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidlit
This was a pleasant surprise. Alcott's writing is still pretty 19th-century sentimental to the modern reader, but you get used to it after a bit. I think the main reason her books (including this one) have stood the test of time, despite their archaic style, is that her characters are so lovably imperfect. Watching them strive for moral improvement may be arduous for some, but is inspiring and relatable for me and many other readers. Alcott's sense of humor is delightfully homespun and (unlike o ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This old book is such a sweet story of growth and womanhood. It is amazing to see the good life lessons taught throughout. Polly or Mary as they were the same name, just makes you fall in love with her. She is not overly perfect, struggles in her life, but I love how you fall in love with her.

I would recommend this book to anyone, both young or old, to enjoy!
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As A.M. Barnard:
Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866)
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First published anonymously:
A Modern Mephistopheles (1877)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. She and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth and May were educated by their father, philosopher/ t

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