Cara's Reviews > The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
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's review
Jun 17, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: about-real-people, fun-or-frivolity

** spoiler alert ** Surprised to see Bronson so pigheaded and impractical, and Louisa so prickly and annoying. Crap, do I have to go back and get a biography of her, too? I studied her in fourth grade, but I don't remember anything like this.


Well, based on the premise of the book, it was obvious how it would end. I still don't exactly like it, but I'm more convinced than I expected that she did the right thing for her. I'm still not totally convinced--I think Joseph had enough respect for her and wanted her to be her fullest self enough that she could have still had a good writing career if she married him. But it certainly would have hindered her writing, especially with the debt from his father and the extra mouths to feed, and in the end, her writing was what she cared most about, so she was right to protect it at all costs. Not the decision I would have made, though.

I guess Louisa May Alcott and I are more different than I realized. For instance, when she hears that Joseph is engaged to someone else, he sends her a bunch of letters, trying to explain, and she burns every one without reading it. Even the ones Anna saves and gives to her after she knows the truth, I don't think she ever reads. Dang, not this chick! I might have burned them after reading them if I was still in a rabid rage, but no way would I not read them. How did she not die of curiosity?

Also, I was really shocked that she and Joseph had sex the night of the play! That seemed out of character for someone with the discipline to insist he go through with his arranged marriage because it would be best for everyone else. Also, ridiculously, I was like "but people just didn't do that back then!" Right, sex wasn't invented until the 1960s--not sure how we got all these other people who came along before then. I guess the stork brought them.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and found the story engaging, but the writing style was a little annoying--the author apparently wanted to write the book in Louisa May Alcott's style. It was a passable attempt, but I think the language would have flowed a lot better if she had stuck with her own writing style. As it was, it felt artificial.

Favorite quote: "In [Louisa's:] mind, marriage and love had little to do with one another, and she wished there could be some kind of middle ground. A few lucky people saw the two states coincide, but when they did, it was a complete accident, for it seemed marriage by its very design was meant to seek out love and destroy it." Wow, someone more cynical than I am about marriage! In a backhanded way, that's sort of refreshing.

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