Teresa's Reviews > Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy by Anne Boyd Rioux
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
541416
's review

it was amazing

This was a joy to read and I hated to see it end. Even if you’re not a Little Women aficionado, there’s a lot to learn here about societal, educational and cultural trends (just to name a few topics) of the past 150 years. (150 years! It’s hard to believe that a book I started loving as a child and that’s still relevant today was written that long ago.)

The first section, ‘The Making of a Classic’, gives a brief history of how and why Little Woman came to be and of its instant fame. I didn’t think I’d learn anything new in this section, but that was not the case at all. I also appreciated the discussion of the various illustrators the work has had, as well as a few examples of some of their art.

In the next section, ‘The Life of a Classic’, Rioux delves into the “afterlife” of Little Woman, its adaptations to stage (the first of an earlier date than I expected) and screen; and how the novel made its way from being considered a book that all, including male adults, would read to being taught in classrooms to its marginalization as just a girls’ book and its banishment from classrooms, or even serious discussion, until new-wave feminists, driven by the unearthing of Alcott’s sensation fiction, “rediscovered” it.

The last section, ‘A Classic for Today', starts off with male reactions to the work and gives a strong case for the benefits of boys reading stories about girls. The analysis of each March sister’s different path to womanhood was likely my favorite part, especially in relation to Beth. The last part of the section is devoted to stories that girls connect with today, of how these stories (including TV shows) are (or are not) like Little Woman, some being direct descendants of this illustrious ancestor. All of this goes a long way toward proving Rioux’s argument that Little Women is a “living text.”

This is a thoroughly researched, yet completely accessible, book that I recommend to anyone interested in Louisa May Alcott, Little Woman or the relevance of women’s stories from the 19th century to today.
29 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

November 28, 2017 – Shelved
November 28, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
August 6, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Terrific review, Teresa! I liked the novel approach of this familiar tale.


Teresa Barbara wrote: "Terrific review, Teresa! I liked the novel approach of this familiar tale."

Thanks so much, Barbara! It is a familiar tale, isn't it, and it's amazing how much can be gleaned from it.


message 3: by K.D. (new)

K.D. Absolutely I am a fan of "Little Women," T. Your review wants me to read this book again. Good morning, my friend. I am baack!


message 4: by Teresa (last edited Aug 08, 2018 08:24PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa K.D. wrote: "I am a fan of "Little Women," T. Your review wants me to read this book again. Good morning, my friend. I am baack!"

Hey there, K.D. So good to hear from you! My review of 'Little Women' is here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... . And now I'm off to read your review. It's good night from me.


message 5: by ·Karen· (new)

·Karen· I think you just sold it to me.


message 6: by Teresa (last edited Aug 09, 2018 10:09AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Teresa ·Karen· wrote: "I think you just sold it to me."

Thinking back on our past conversations about the Brontes and the Alcotts re our childhoods, I think you would be one who would appreciate this.


Diane Barnes Just finished this book, and reading the acknowledgements noticed her thank you to you for help with a portion of the manuscript. I enjoyed the book a lot, and found it both surprising and informative.


Teresa Diane wrote: "Just finished this book, and reading the acknowledgements noticed her thank you to you for help with a portion of the manuscript. I enjoyed the book a lot, and found it both surprising and informat..."

I hardly did anything, so it was very sweet of her to mention me. I (among others) read the first draft of her introduction and that was it; though it was a lot of fun to be in her reading group.

I completely agree about the enjoyment, and it being surprising and informative.


back to top