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An Old-Fashioned Girl

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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 wealthy friend Fanny Shaw in the city and is overwhelmed by the fashionable and urban life they live--but also left out because of her "countrified" manners and outdated clothes.

288 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1870

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About the author

Louisa May Alcott

3,748 books8,778 followers
People best know American writer Louisa May Alcott for Little Women (1868), her largely autobiographical novel.

As A.M. Barnard:
Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866)
The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation (1867)
A Long Fatal Love Chase (1866 – first published 1995)
First published anonymously:
A Modern Mephistopheles (1877)

Philosopher-teacher Amos Bronson Alcott, educated his four daughters, Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth and May and Abigail May, wife of Amos, reared them on her practical Christianity.

Louisa spent her childhood in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, where visits to library of Ralph Waldo Emerson, excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau, and theatricals in the barn at Hillside (now "Wayside") of Nathaniel Hawthorne enlightened her days.

Like Jo March, her character in Little Women, young Louisa, a tomboy, claimed: "No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race, ... and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences...."

Louisa wrote early with a passion. She and her sisters often acted out her melodramatic stories of her rich imagination for friends. Louisa preferred to play the "lurid" parts in these plays, "the villains, ghosts, bandits, and disdainful queens."

At 15 years of age in 1847, the poverty that plagued her family troubled her, who vowed: "I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!"

Confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women, seeking employment, Louisa determined "...I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world." Whether as a teacher, seamstress, governess, or household servant, Louisa ably found work for many years.

Career of Louisa as an author began with poetry and short stories in popular magazines. In 1854, people published Flower Fables, her first book, at 22 years of age. From her post as a nurse in Washington, District of Columbia, during the Civil War, she wrote home letters that based Hospital Sketches (1863), a milestone along her literary path.

Thomas Niles, a publisher in Boston, asked 35-year-old Louisa in 1867 to write "a book for girls." She wrote Little Women at Orchard House from May to July 1868. Louisa and her sisters came of age in the novel, set in New England during Civil War. From her own individuality, Jo March, the first such American juvenile heroine, acted as a living, breathing person rather than the idealized stereotype that then prevailed in fiction of children.

Louisa published more than thirty books and collections of stories. Only two days after her father predeceased her, she died, and survivors buried her body in Sleepy Hollow cemetery in Concord.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,158 reviews
Profile Image for Starry.
745 reviews
August 30, 2012
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 poor but virtuous and eventually inspires her childhood playmate to exchange his foppishness for manliness. Hmm, sorry. That still sound kinda preachy and old-fashioned. Should I be embarrassed that it appeals to me?

I also need to make a confession about Alcott's sermons -- as unpopular as this book would be to modern teens, I still will want my daughter to read it some day (preferably before she masters the eye roll). Alcott's social commentary, though 150 years old, is spot-on. In fact, not much has changed beyond fashion (snoods and bustles, anyone? some fetching muttonchop sleeves?). We still complain about kids growing up too fast and then acting bored and disaffected when they reach young adulthood. We still live in a society of gossip, back-stabbing, idleness, selfishness, waste and excess.

Also, Alcott hits on a middle political ground that appeals to me. Nowadays, my Republican friends rail about how the poor need to suck it up and work harder and stop bleeding the system with their laziness. My Democrat friends point out that anyone who says this is completely out of touch with those outside their own social class, many of whom only lack opportunity. Alcott manages to balance both sides in a traditional, common-sense American approach: her idea of virtue is to work hard, to value independence, to be content with little; and yet she also sees virtue as generosity, providing charity (money, work, food/clothing) to those in need, fostering sympathetic and active awareness of and kindness toward those outside your social class. (Granted, Republican Friends, all her needy characters are willing to work hard and only lack opportunity. Still, in this big, imperfect world where greed and selfishness and laziness are not limited to any one class, I'd rather err on the side of mercy...)

Similarly, Alcott's old-fashioned-sounding ideas of femininity initially sound abrasive but have an appeal. She celebrates marriage as equal yoking that capitalizes on the complementary natures of men and women. But, at the same time, she shows that an admirable woman is one who is confident, capable, self-sufficient, never simpering or false or overly delicate.

Uh oh. Now who's sermonizing? Sorry. She started it.
Profile Image for kwesi 章英狮.
292 reviews726 followers
July 16, 2011
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 lived in a rural area before, no high buildings, few population, more green and fresh air. Money and style were never been a priority of every citizen. We cherish every simple blessings that we receive. Until, I went to an urban city where money and stars are ready to explode and every people are trying to catch every piece of those shiny stone. A little poverty might not hurt ones interest if we just live in simple and with harmony.

This is the welcome sign built nearby the boundary of my hometown with the strong green color and blue sky that made every people live with harmony with nature. If I'm not mistaken, the city had planted many trees last month to be recognize in the Guinness Book of Records.

Only few appreciated life in simple way and one of them is Polly Milton. When she was 14 she was invited by her friend Franny Shaw and to live with life in the city. Unfortunately, she was a girl with simple dresses and manner like an old-fashioned woman. She was rejected by many friends and people she met because of her taste in fashion as well as her point of view to simple life.

After the rejection, she went back to her hometown and continued her life as a provincial girl. After six years, she went back to Boston to help her brother Will to enter college by teaching music lesson to her students. But a great lost happened to the Shaw, as their business become bad and they have to live in small expense. The kids were forced to live with Polly and live with their small income.

Because of her selflessness and sacrifice, the Shaw brothers and sisters changed as the days came by and the simplest love become the greatest power to conquer poverty.

First illustrated pictures of Louisa May Alcott's book as drawn and published by Roberts Bros. in 1870. Left, Polly went to Boston again. Right, Tom went back to Polly's place when he succeed in looking a job in the West.

Like any Louisa May Alcott books, she always recognized her characters as old-fashioned in a way that they are simple, although through this book she emphasized it clearly the advantage of living with small poverty. No excess money to be used and to be contented in small things. But I must say, that the contentment of men never end as it is a continues process. At least in the end, she unleash the true essence of being simple not only for girls but to everyone.

Although, Alcott's romantic interest of her characters were not interesting like in her other books. Purely, it was well written in an old-fashioned that looses the essence of writing it romantically or maybe she's not really a romantic writer itself and consider the words that her characters said as to be well-chosen. Other problem with it was too short and slow-paced that few may get interest to read this book.

Her interest of making girls to read her books were more distinguished since she used a strong female characters and extras as well as dictating female clothes and manners in her generation. Not recommended to male readers but more recommended to those girls who enjoyed reading classics, chic-lit and young adult novels, and to those guys who are curious to read this book. But I can't guarantee the reader's likeness because of its girly content.

The city celebrated T'nalak Festival, a week long celebration to show case its town's beauty and culture by many forms of arts by street dancing, fashion walk and many more. The T'nalak Festival is celebrated starting July 18. A must visit festival every year!

Review posted on Old-Fashioned Reader .

Rating: An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott, 3 Sweets

Book #190 for 2011
Book #108 for Off the Shelf!
Profile Image for Hallie.
954 reviews123 followers
March 10, 2013
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 significant, but I liked my Moment. Just as James "rewrote" Middlemarch's Dorothea on her honeymoon in Rome in Portrait, I think Alcott "rewrote" Isabel Archer's sitting alone pondering by the fire scene with Polly doing exactly that in the "Nipped in the bud" chapter. Which made me very happy, even though I could find no evidence for the argument that it was an intentional homage. (A few years later I did an essay on AOFG and that was fun too.) (Well, writing the essay wasn't fun, but the research and thinking about how so many authors were writing interactively in the nineteenth century and how very much that included those who sometimes or always wrote for younger readers.)
Profile Image for Katelyn Buxton.
Author 13 books79 followers
December 15, 2019
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 again; I want something to see and feel and live by day-by-day.”
This girl is one of Alcott’s characteristic strong-yet-feminine heroines, and I liked her more and more as the story progressed. She was a lot like Meg from Little Women, and to be honest, a big chunk of the book was like an extended version of Meg’s visit to the Moffats. But instead of succumbing so much to peer pressure, Polly brought her good old-fashioned sunshine into the worldly-minded house of the Shaws. That said, she was still an imperfect human being, and I loved that.

“… I’m only a curse instead of a comfort.”
Tom reminded me so much of Laurie, that I couldn’t help but love him. His character arc was one of the most poignant in the book (although his sister Fanny did a fair amount of growing too), and by the end he’d gone from a harum-scarum boy, to an unmistakable dandy, and finally, to a man.

Another thing I have always liked about Alcott’s writing is her witty descriptions. I found myself frequently stopping to chuckle, smile, or simply ponder a phrase or idea. There was a fair amount of “moralizing,” as some of her characters would put it, but I never found it overpowering. We need more old-fashioned girls (and boys) in the world.

In closing, if you like sweet, simple tales of love, friendship, and remembering the important things in life, this book is for you.
March 17, 2023
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 burden will become lighter. Even though this book was written a long time ago, it’s reoccurring message, “modesty has gone out of fashion,” hasn’t changed. If you too have the same struggles, you will be reassured by reading this book. Five stars all the way!
Profile Image for Abigayle Claire.
Author 9 books222 followers
February 8, 2017
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 lessons and family values that come through the anecdotal storytelling, but much shorter and simpler than Little Women. While the book itself is definitely old-fashioned, this world could do with some of that, especially in the areas of friendship despite differences and security despite ridicule.
Profile Image for Laure.
134 reviews68 followers
December 10, 2016
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
Looking at the date when the book was written - 1869 - it did advocate some more 'advanced' ideas about women's independence, that was nice. I am sure quite forward for the age.
Profile Image for Melody Schwarting.
1,542 reviews81 followers
March 2, 2023
An Old-Fashioned Girl was my second favorite of Alcott’s after Little Women in my adolescence, occasionally even taking the top spot. Reading it now, I can appreciate how much it formed me, how I think about womanhood, and what I look for in a heroine. In many ways this novel is Alcott’s most Austenesque, intentional or not. Gentlefolk in reduced circumstances? A poor but worthy cousin? Still waters that run deep in the swirl of society? No wonder I was primed to love Fanny Price after growing up with Polly Milton!

What I love about An Old-Fashioned Girl is Alcott’s subversion. Polly seems quaint and old-fashioned, but those values prepare her for a newfangled life. Chapter 13, “The Sunny Side,” is one of my all-time favorite chapters of Alcott’s, up there with “Camp Laurence.” Polly is the most modern character in the book. She eschews the different expressions of Victorian womanhood in the Shaw household: Grandma, who is nice enough but takes a backseat in household matters; Mrs. Shaw, who also is not present to her household and who is constantly laid up with unspecified complaints; Fanny, who is left to herself and unsatisfied with the whirl of materialism and flirtations that make up “good” society. Instead, Polly lives independently and supports herself, which, if not uncommon in that day, was at least strange for people of the Shaw’s status. Polly survives where Fanny couldn’t because of her “old-fashioned” training in housekeeping. She has forward-thinking opinions about the poor and women’s rights, even about womanhood itself. She is old-fashioned in the sense that she knows how to keep house and isn’t invested in industrial-age materialism, but many of her values are modern for her day. Holding both old-fashioned and newfangled goodness without conflict in one character is Alcott's great gift here.

For me, "The Sunny Side" saves Polly from being that worst of heroines, the Not Like Other Girls™ individualist who has no community because she is so superior to other women. I wish Alcott had spent the whole novel with the women of “The Sunny Side,” but at least we get this glimpse into Polly’s life. These women want the vote, they live independently, and live in community with one another. Alcott presents an alternative vision to the frantic world of society, the world of communal artistry. Sadly, this only seems accessible to women who have some artistic talent, as Fanny feels keenly.

At times, Polly reminded me of what Alcott’s sister Lizzie might have been. A musician, ever sweet and the peacekeeper of the house--though Polly is very human, she has that idealized place that Lizzie held in the Alcott house. Polly is also musical, giving music lessons and singing/playing. In the same paragraph she is described as shy and social. There’s also an interesting character, Jane, who is rescued from a suicide attempt and rehabilitated by some kind friends. I’m not super into biographical interpretation…but Polly and Jane together put me in mind of Lizzie, and Alcott perhaps imagining what her sister might have been like without her psychological and physical problems.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading An Old-Fashioned Girl again. I kept expecting my reactions to be different from my adolescence but they were not. I still don’t love the first seven chapters, and the book doesn’t get truly enjoyable for me until Polly returns “Six Years Later.” And at the end of the day, and we all know how we feel about that. Yet, if you love the part of Little Women where Jo sojourns in New York City, you’ll likely find much to love in the latter two-thirds of An Old-Fashioned Girl.

I also treated myself to the 1949 musical comedy film, which turns Polly into a Disney princess. She sings at all times without reason; she has an animal companion; there’s a washing-up song complete with pots and pans making the tune. Unfortunately, the audio quality is not great. Like other literary adaptations from the 1930s and 1940s that I’ve seen, the original material is not cherished by the scriptwriters. (At least it begins with Polly’s return, where it could have only adapted the first part of the book, which is my least favorite.) Yet, the film is completely hilarious and worth its seventy-five-minute runtime for a good laugh.

Maud: “Betty Sanderson’s sister is going to marry a doctor, so she can be sick for nothing. But if Polly marries a minister, she can be good for nothing!”
The Shaws, as one: “Maud!”

Fanny: “Cooking? What can you cook?”
Maud: “Fudge!”
Mrs. Shaw: “AAAUGH” *cue smellings salts*


“They were girls still, full of spirits fun, and youth; but below the light-heartedness each cherished a purpose, which seemed to ennoble her womanhood, to give her a certain power, a sustaining satisfaction, a daily stimulus, that led her on to daily effort, and in time to some success in circumstance or character, which was worth all the patience, hope, and labor of her life.” (244)

“...being brought up in the most affectionate and frank relations with her brothers, she had early learned what it takes most women some time to discover, that sex does not make nearly as much difference in hearts and souls as we fancy. Joy and sorrow, love and fear, life and death, bring so many of the same needs to all that it is a wonder we do not understand each other better but wait till times of tribulation teach us that human nature is very much the same in men and women.” (311)

“Never mind what the business was--it suffices to say that it was a good beginning for a young man like Tom, who, having been born and bred in the most conservative class of the most conceited city of New England, needed just the healthy, hearty social influences of the West to widen his views and make a man of him.” (319)
21 reviews2 followers
September 19, 2007
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' hormones who will ask for more than just you having a heart of gold. But those boys will be men, and the right men will want to get the ones with inner beauty. So yes, tell your dearest daughters that inner beauty rocks, and one trait that this materialistic, superficial world will surely need.
Profile Image for Katja Labonté.
Author 19 books192 followers
July 1, 2022
5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This is such a sweet, wholesome story! <3 Alcott was evidently passionate about children and distressed by the way many of them were brought up at the time. This book is a sort of cross between Eight Cousins (raising children in the hearty old-fashioned way), Rose in Bloom (a young woman choosing a simpler, honester way of life + doing something with her life instead of being a mindless doll), and Jack & Jill (homemaking), with bits of Little Women thrown in.

It’s an untypical Alcott setting—a rich family in a big city—but one quickly recognizes the familiar character types and story morals. Alcott’s writing style lends itself well to humorous descriptions of life and people, as well as strong, honest preaching.

The characters, of course, are the best part of the story. Sweet, upright Polly, so bright and honest and realistic—how I love that girl, and how I aspire to be like her! Silly, warm-hearted Fanny, who is not so shallow as she seems. Boisterous, tender Tom, needing only a firm hand to guide him and a warm love to guard him. Fussy, hearty Maud, who turns out much better than expected. Tired, honest Mr. Shaw; sweet old Grandmother; excellent Mr. Sydney; bubbly Belle… <3 they’re all so much fun!

Next, the plot. I love how it starts with Tom, Polly, and Fanny being children, and Maud a baby, and then has the second part when they’re adults. The first part, with Polly’s visit as a country girl to the rich Shaws, is amusing and touching and heartbreaking all at once. The second part, with Polly set up as a music teacher, Tom + Fanny’s struggles in the matrimonial/love department, and Maud growing up, is twisty and sweet and hilarious. The romances in this book are adorable!!

As for themes, messages, and topics—there are so many! Respect and love for family members, true friendship, modesty, being hardworking… But it basically comes down to contentment in your present situation and being respectable + responsible—being a person who can make a difference in the world by just being a beautiful, dependable soul… and having hope + courage, which gives strength.

Overall, it’s a sweet, funny, sober, wise, old-fashioned, beautiful little book and I love it so much. <3

A Favourite Quote: “You don't seem to have as many worries as other people. What's the secret, Polly?”…
“Well,” said Polly, slowly, “I just try to look on the bright side of things; that helps one amazingly. Why, you've no idea how much goodness and sunshine you can get out of the most unpromising things, if you make the best of them.… You can learn; I did. I used to croak and fret dreadfully, and get so unhappy, I was n't fit for anything. I do it still more than I ought, but I try not to, and it gets easier, I find. Get a-top of your troubles, and then they are half cured.

A Favourite Humorous Quote: Tom was reposing on the sofa with his boots in the air, absorbed in one of those delightful books in which boys are cast away on desert islands, where every known fruit, vegetable and flower is in its prime all the year round; or, lost in boundless forests, where the young heroes have thrilling adventures, kill impossible beasts, and, when the author's invention gives out, suddenly find their way home, laden with tiger skins, tame buffaloes and other pleasing trophies of their prowess.
“Dun no,” was Tom's brief reply, for he was just escaping from an alligator of the largest size.
“Do put down that stupid book, and let's do something,” said Fanny, after a listless stroll round the room. “Hi, they've got him!” was the only answer vouchsafed by the absorbed reader.
“Where's Polly?” asked Maud, joining the party with her hands full of paper dolls all suffering for ball-dresses….
But Tom was now under water stabbing his alligator, and took no notice of the indignant departure of the young ladies.
Profile Image for Amanda.
840 reviews343 followers
January 6, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Anne Osterlund.
Author 5 books5,501 followers
July 27, 2014
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 insists on plaguing his sister’s country friend.

Aww. I first fell in love with An Old-Fashioned Girl after discovering a hard copy version amongst the Louisa May Alcott collection on my grandmother’s shelf. That copy, which was in perfectly decent condition when I first read it, is now so tattered I doubt the cover or the binding would survive another reading.

This is my favorite Louisa May Alcott book and also one of my favorite books of all time. All the characters have spunk and fire and flaws. The dialogue is engaging, and it’s fun to hear the slang of the era. (I also love how the little sister, Maud, speaks with a lisp throughout the first portion of the novel). Like Little Women, An Old-Fashioned Girl begins with the main character in her teens, then fast forwards in time. Six years to be exact for the final two-thirds of the novel. All the main characters (Polly, Fan, and Tom) are forced to learn to swim or sink in the face of scheming marriage hunters, the societal expectations of Boston’s High Society, and the allure and illusion of monetary security. One of those novels I can read again . . . and again . . . and again.

In a way, Louisa May Alcott wrote An Old-Fashioned Girl to please all those readers who were heartbroken by the way she ended Little Women. And personally, I am so glad she did.
Profile Image for Cudeyo.
957 reviews48 followers
January 17, 2021
Una historia que sigue el estilo de Mujercitas. Una lectura amable, para pasar un rato en una tarde de lluvia.

Narra la historia de una joven que visita a su amiga en la ciudad, chocando enseguida sus orígenes humildes con las costumbres de la acomodada familia. Con su buen carácter y actitud, no sólo se gana el beneplácito de la familia, sino que demuestra que es más rico aquel que vive de acuerdo con su conciencia y principios aunque sea con humildad que los que se guían sólo de la diversión sin medida y el gasto superfluo.
Profile Image for Annie ☽.
43 reviews14 followers
November 1, 2020
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 around Polly, a character written in such a Mary Sue-ish, holier-than-thou fashion that made me want to throw the book away ten pages in. Polly is not like other girls. She is simple, selfless, devout. Everybody loves her and those who don't are girls jealous of her natural, glowing beauty™.

What makes me mad is that I actually shared a lot of Polly's values and ideas, and if it wasn't for Alcott's awkward characterisation and intrusive moralising I'm sure I would have appreciated her, and the book, a lot more.
Profile Image for Patience.
Author 1 book13 followers
February 1, 2017
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 influences the circle she finds herself in. Some might call Louisa May Alcott's books preachy, but I love them, and I must say I enjoyed Miss Alcott's insight into a girl's character/emotions. Made me smile and nod in agreement! :)
Profile Image for Deigan Marie.
89 reviews19 followers
October 14, 2022
Par usual, Louisa May Alcott has crafted a heart-warming story by mixing a tender story of a young girl seeking independence, and a young man searching--just like she is.

It took me a while to get through this book, not because it was hard to get into, but it was relatively easy to put down.

CHARACTERS: My favorite, by far, was Polly. I think there's a little bit of Little Women's Beth and Jo in each of Alcott's characters, and I could defiantly see the Beth in Polly. She should be the role-model of every young woman seeking God. She finds beauty in everything, and smile at everyone. She is strong, independent, and wise, but isn't afraid to admit when she needs help. And then there's Tom. Just. . .Tom. It honestly made me a little but mad when I got to the "6 years later" and realized what had happened to him. But, I knew it couldn't last long.

PLOT: I loved how much time this book spanned, and how easily and smooth it progressed. I do have to give a little Content Warning, because suicide was mentioned while two women were talking (one woman was telling Polly the story of a young girl), but it was never followed-though.

ROMANCE: Yes. There was romance. But it was Old-Fashioned. Adn it was written very well. And please, is the word "romance" turns you off, READ THIS BOOK ANYWAY!! Alcott writes purely simplistic, and lovely romance.

OVERALL: Overall, I'm sad I can only give it five stars. I wish I could give it ten!!
Profile Image for Nicolás Ortenzi.
251 reviews9 followers
November 20, 2020
Llegué a este libro buscando en internet libros del siglo XIX. Lo había dejado en el kindle almacenado y decidí sacarlo, luego de leer: el lobo estepario y la ratonera.

El libro logra engancharte desde las primeras páginas, los personajes están tan vivos que logras conectar con ellos, en mi caso fue la abuela, también el señor Shaw (como personajes secundarios), la historia esta muy bien planteada y la manera de llevar el amor me gustó, porque no estuvo forzado. Creo que May se dio un gusto y también a todos los lectores.
Lo que por lo menos, a mí me agrada de Polly, es su forma de ser, no cambia su forma de actuar frente a la vida ni tampoco sus gustos, para agrandar a los demás, para meterse en el mundo de sus amigos. Eso es algo muy lindo e interesante.

PD: Polly me recuerda a mi, cuando iba a la escuela. todos hablaban de sus cantantes favoritos, yo no conocía a ninguno 🤷 y cuándo me preguntaban, les decía: "no me gusta la música"
Profile Image for Kris (My Novelesque Life).
4,660 reviews189 followers
April 28, 2019

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-Fashioned Girl I think is more simplistic and fluffy. You never get to really know Polly like you do the characters in Little Women and the storyline does not have much climax. It is a fair book and if I read it as a child maybe I would have liked it a lot more.

My Novelesque Blog
8 reviews1 follower
August 23, 2007
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.
Profile Image for Ralu_Constant_Reader.
53 reviews63 followers
April 4, 2021
Sincer, nu mă așteptam să-mi placă așa de mult cartea asta deoarece chiar nu este genul de carte pe care obișnuiesc să-l citesc.Cartea prezintă povestea lui Polly, o fată ,,de modă veche" care ajunge să aibă un anturaj total diferit de ceea ce este ea de de fapt.Fiind o fată săracă, mereu apreciază lucrurile mici iar excesele și exagerările privind garderoba și ieșirile la petreceri i se par o prostie.Ea trebuie să facă față conceptelor și criticilor din partea societății, având în suflet mereu o mare dorință de a-i ajuta pe ceilalți.
Povestea pare cumva banală, clișeică și chiar e dar ce mi-a plăcut defapt la cartea asta este, în primul rând, vibe-ul pe care îl transmite, peronajele și mesajul care este unul foarte important.Citind cartea aceasta aveam impresia că mă transpun cumva în trecutul meu.Cartea în sine e ,,de modă veche" dar în sensul în care te face să te gândește la trecut chiar dacă nu pare deloc o carte veche, aveam impresisa că citesc o nouă apariție...M-ar bucura enoorm ca unele dintre cărțile romance contemporane cu povesti toxice să fi fost ca această carte.Mi-a plăcut mult de protagonistă, de Polly, un personaj foarte bine construit, foarte puternic cu care m-am indentificat.Chiar dacă avem parte de povești de dragoste, opera nu este deloc o carte siropoasă (sau nu prea) prezentând iubirea într-un mod foarte pur.Mesajul este unul foarte puternic, cartea prezentând în mare parte importanța unor valori care tind să se piardă dar care, cu ajutorul lui Polly, ele nu sunt uitate.
Nu este o carte despre acțiune ci despre ce înseamnă să fii cu adevărat om!
Profile Image for Olivia.
677 reviews111 followers
January 24, 2018
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 story to life extremely well. The relationships throughout are so sweet and homey. I could completely understand Polly and Will's brother-and-sister relationship and it made my very well. Then there's Tom and Fanny who I couldn't help love :)

The beginning few chapters I skimmed because I was a little bored with it, but otherwise this book held my attention. A sweet read, that I'm glad I read again! The ending was very satisfying :)
Profile Image for Amelie.
193 reviews33 followers
April 8, 2023

This book was beautiful, an amazing and inspiring story that left me with a happy heart and a determination to keep holding on to the things that matter.

Polly was a lovely, relatable protagonist whose journey and character growth touched and encouraged me to stay true to the values and truths I believe. The setting and secondary characters were so real and interesting, and the story kept me hooked until the end. The themes, as I’ve mentioned, were the best part of the book; Alcott is so insightful, and many of the things she points out about the time period then are still relevant now.

I’ve always been a Louisa May Alcott fan, but I didn’t expect to love this book so much. Heartily recommend this wonderful classic.
Profile Image for Elizabeth .
1,013 reviews
May 21, 2019
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 principle that can't bear being laughed at, frowned on, and cold-shouldered, is n't worthy of the name.”
Profile Image for Dayna.
209 reviews
August 6, 2007
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.
Profile Image for Meredith (Austenesque Reviews).
939 reviews314 followers
August 30, 2009
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. The author daughter is six and she is fixed onoo having her own way about everything. THe young man in the family Tom is a trouble maker, who no matter how hard he tries can't seem to stay out of trouble very long.

Polly is a gentle, kind, loving, caring, selfless, practical, and sensible girl. SHe becomes a great service to this family, touching each of them in a special way. She moves in the same town six years later and gives piano lessons. The family needs her more than ever and she helps them all in the end. This book has heart, romance, and realness to it that we can all relate to, rich or poor, young or old. It will make you feel warm fuzzies. Read on a rainy day underneath a flanel blanket!
Profile Image for Tessa.
1,895 reviews68 followers
March 2, 2017
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 reading it.
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 41 books415 followers
July 28, 2016
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.
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