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This simply wasn't my cup of tea.

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message 1: by Mathis (last edited Jul 09, 2013 12:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Bailey From a guy’s perspective, I found the first half of this book rather boring. Reading about four young sisters during the Civil War, sewing, singing, acting, playing and repenting caused me to have a snooze fest. There were so many moments that I sat this book aside and started something else to change up the pace. But I was determined to finish it since I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it, especially from my creative writing teacher. I remember her saying it was her favorite book of all time. So I decided to give it another go. I found Alcott’s writing to be very nice, but sermonic at times. I felt like all the characters had something morally preachy to say to one another when it came to someone’s personal life, and it went on for pages.

However, I did find the second half to be more engaging when all the characters became young adults, and went on to having their own lives: Amy, traveling cross-seas to develop her talent as an aspiring artist and as a refined woman; Jo, following her sister’s footsteps traveling to New York to become a better aspiring writer; Meg settling and striving to become the perfect wife; Beth, who learns to appreciate the true meaning of life; then Laurie who is on a quest to find true love.

I must say, the conclusion wasn’t to my satisfaction, but I guess Alcott wanted to introduce a surprising twist. What I love most about this book is how relevant the family issues are to today’s issues. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to my childhood growing up with my siblings.

All in all, I thought the book was ordinary, which led me to give it two and a half stars. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. But if you are into coming of age novels or family oriented stories, this is the book for YOU.


Donna Davis I hear you. I felt a moral obligation to read this because I taught language arts, and many of my students read it, loved it, and wanted to talk about it. But every time I climbed up in that attic with the March sisters, I just zzzzz oh god, SORRY! Guess I nodded off. So there was so much inane dialogue and I couldn't bring myself to love "Marmie" and I wound up zzzz I DO apologize. Can't think why I should keep falling asleep while discussing this classic novel! LOL It just goes to show, I guess, that the book that does it for a lot of people, will still not do it for everyone. (I am retired now, and I STILL have never finished that book. Now I never have to!)


message 3: by Mathis (last edited Jun 01, 2013 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Bailey Donna wrote: "I hear you. I felt a moral obligation to read this because I taught language arts, and many of my students read it, loved it, and wanted to talk about it. But every time I climbed up in that attic ..."

I find your commentary quite amusing.

Yea, I know what you mean. I also felt obligated to read this classic since I am an aspiring writer, and I don't know of a writer that hasn't read it.

And I agree, the dialogue was a bit silly at the start, but I think it was due to the fact that they were still children with no worries, except for their father being in the war and being poor. But I thought Marmie was a good mother. She gave her daughters advice when they needed it. However, I did find her character to be quite flat....she lacked personality. Her character seems to only appear when someone needed a pep talk. And I couldn't even count how many of these she dished out.

Now , I am just happy that I am done with it. I don't have to feel guilty anymore when someone asks me if I have read this acclaimed classic.


Angela I used to read this and Jo's Boys every summer when I was young. It's been decades since I've read them, so I might have a different perspective on them now. I think they are better for younger girls. I remember never really liking Amy much. She just was not a likable girl, and how could Teddy ever fall for her??


Mathis Bailey Angela wrote: "I used to read this and Jo's Boys every summer when I was young. It's been decades since I've read them, so I might have a different perspective on them now. I think they are better for younger gir..."


I'm in my early thirties and I found the second half of this story much more enjoyable and relatable since it deals more with adult experiences. I actually liked Amy. She wanted to live a better quality of life and see the world. I identified with her character a great deal. Jo was the opposite, who was comfortable and content in her rural environment. Actually it took Amy’s wild adventures to push Jo out of her comfort zone and experience life as well. I liked how the tables turned when they were children and then became adults. Amy always wanted to follow Jo around which drove her mad. And when they grew older, Jo wanted to do the things that Amy did and become more in touch with her femininity and travel.

But I agree, it was quite odd when Teddy fell for Amy. I did not see that coming. I mean they had never showed any romance for each other when they were children. So that threw me for a loop.


Mary Mathis wrote: "From a guy’s perspective, I found the first half of this book rather boring. Reading about four young sisters during the Civil War, sewing, singing, acting, playing and repenting caused me to have..."

I think that Little Women is one of those books that needs to be read at certain times in life. I first read it when I was about 8 years old and loved it. Then I read it again in my 20s and it seemed so saccharine sweet that I almost could not get through it again. When I had children of my own, I gave it another try as I read it to them. When reading it again through the eyes of a child, I remembered what I loved about the book when I was a child.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I love Little Women. It is my favourite movie, one of my favourite books. I did a project on Little Women once, too. I just think the story is so funny and so sweet!


message 8: by Mathis (last edited Jun 01, 2013 04:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Bailey Mary wrote: "Mathis wrote: "From a guy’s perspective, I found the first half of this book rather boring. Reading about four young sisters during the Civil War, sewing, singing, acting, playing and repenting ca..."


When I have children I will read them the children's version of this classic and leave it upon them to read the orginal. I just find the dialogue to be cumbersome and long winded.


Mary Mathis wrote: "When I have children I will read them the children's version of this classic and leave it upon them to read the orginal. I just find the dialogue to be cumbersome and long winded. ..."

Maybe you can let their mother read them Little Women and then you can read them Little Men and/or Jo's Boys. ;0)


message 10: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth I loved this book when I was a child. It was one of my favorites along with The Secret Garden. I haven't read either of them in years. I wonder if I would still feel the same about them now. Probably not, because as an adult I became alot more cynical and less trusting and lost that innocence and sense of wonder that I had back then.


message 11: by Mathis (last edited Jun 03, 2013 01:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Bailey Ruth wrote: "I loved this book when I was a child. It was one of my favorites along with The Secret Garden. I haven't read either of them in years. I wonder if I would still feel the same about them now. Prob..."

Interesting. It seems that those who have read this book in their early youth, loved it. Unfortunately I was late getting around to it, and as an adult did not find it quite to my liking. Did I hate it? no, there were some nice moments and I did appreciate the moral aspects of it. But I'm pretty sure I won't be plucking this one off my shelves again anytime soon. The language is just too flowery and I thought the romances lacked depth and passion. I guess Alcott wasn't much of a Jane Austenite.

I will look into The Secret Garden. I read the synopsis and it sounds quite interesting.


Maddison I only stopped reading it because the copy of the book I got only went half way through the story


Ingrid Jonach Maddison {I love the stars} wrote: "I only stopped reading it because the copy of the book I got only went half way through the story"

That might have been because Little Women is two books combined (if memory serves me right): Little Women (when they are kids) and Good Wives (when they are adults). You might have just had Little Women?

I have to say in relation to the whole thread that I do love this book - although I was one of those who read it when I was younger and therefore approached it much differently to if I had read it as an adult.

Also - I agree with previous comments that Laurie and Amy was a shock. I think Laurie would have been happy to marry any of the girls though, because he just wanted to belong to the March family. Apparently Alcott was sent letters from readers begging for Laurie and Jo to get together (between writing Little Women and Good Wives). She was adamant that Jo would remain single, but then caved to the pressure - hence Professor Bhaer.


Janice Gard I agree with Ingrid. This is my all time favorite book but I read it for the first time when I was 10 years old. The story is loosely based on Alcott's life and is really a story for young girls. I have read it many times since and still love it. However neither of my daughters ever cared much for it.


message 15: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Maddison {I love the stars} wrote: "I only stopped reading it because the copy of the book I got only went half way through the story"

There were three books in the March family series if I recall correctly: Little Women, Little Men and Jo's Boys.


Fatin I was so disappointed with the end. I was a little confused, and then glad when Jo rejects Teddy. It made sense. But really? to have her marry some old oddball professor? Why? Why does she need him? She can have her school without him, she can be happy without a man, as a single lady. Ugh. IT MADE ME SO ANGRY.
Also, totally agree with Laurie and Amy not making any sense, other than Laurie wants to be part of the March family, and Amy wants to be part of high society, and have a rich husband.

I don't know if it counts as being "late" but I read the book this year, I'm 20. I did find the mother to be a little preachy, but I enjoyed how she let the girls do what they wanted as "life lessons."
Beth's story was written very well, and I loved it. especially in part 1 of the book where Jo thinks she's dead. It was beautiful.


Nadia I hear you on this one! I totally didn't get what all the rave reviews were on this book at all! Completely lame! And what was with the husband getting all sermonic on his wife? Just felt like slapping every single one of them!


Beatriz I read this book for first time (Little Women) when I was nearly the age of the youngest sister, Amy, and loved it. I have the feeling that this is a book to be read at a certain age. Once you are over 18-20 and have never read it before, might cause the opposite feeling to mine. Guess you have to go through this book with the mind of a 10-18 year-old (the sister's ages more or less) to like it or be around those ages when being read for first time.


message 19: by Lani (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lani I had to read this for a book report in middle school. It was really boring and still is. I will definitely not read it again. If it wasn't for my book report I would not have finished it.


Mathis Bailey Fatin wrote: "I was so disappointed with the end. I was a little confused, and then glad when Jo rejects Teddy. It made sense. But really? to have her marry some old oddball professor? Why? Why does she need him..."


I absolutely agree. I was not fond of the romance between Jo and the professor in the slightest. I thought Mr. Bhaer had come across more like a father figure, rather than a love interest.


Martha A friend of mine read this book over 20 times and absolutely loved it, but when she suggested it to me I was apprehensive-- wasn't sure it was going to be my "cup of tea", but I fell in love with the writing and the family!

I was happy with the professor & Jo, but that's because I didn't perceive him as too old. But if anyone has seen the movie, how old did he seem in it (and who was the actor for that part), that would be interesting to me.


Martha Beatriz wrote: "I read this book for first time (Little Women) when I was nearly the age of the youngest sister, Amy, and loved it. I have the feeling that this is a book to be read at a certain age. Once you are ..."

I am not sure about an age preference because I was 55 when I first read this book and I LOVED it. Maybe it's a younger age & over 50 age too? Seems like we revert back to our childhood as we get older? lol


Chelsea This made me think of my husband's opinion of Anne of Green Gables. I should preface this by saying his mom wanted a daughter but instead had three sons. When he was about 10 years old his mom made him watch Anne of Green Gables. When I mentioned that it was one of my favorite books as a child his response was "ugh" and a shudder.
The point is, this book (and Anne of Green Gables) was really written with young girls in mind. While there are some exceptions, most adults (women included) who are reading it for the first time and boys are not going to enjoy this. I love this book, but I read it when I was 8 or 9.


message 24: by Mathis (last edited Jun 20, 2013 09:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Bailey Martha wrote: "A friend of mine read this book over 20 times and absolutely loved it, but when she suggested it to me I was apprehensive-- wasn't sure it was going to be my "cup of tea", but I fell in love with t..."

Unfortunately, I hadn't gotten around watching the movie. I would be curious myself to see how Mr.Bhaer is betrayed, because in the book he doesn't seem flattering in his constitution the way Alcott described him. I keep thinking of an unkempt, burly man with an unruly cowlick.


message 25: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin WV Reading Little Women, you have to know what you're getting into. It is not particularly romantic and it is incredibly sermon-like because that was its purpose in being written. Alcott was born into the transcendentalist movement and wrote about a family that was meant to demonstrate the values of the movement: progressive Christianity, maintaining high morals within oneself and spreading good works throughout your community. Love of nature, rejection of grandiose wealth and greed.

Also, modern women have the luxury to be happy and productive without a man in their lives. I can't see how that would have happened for Jo 150 years ago. No, she would not be able to run her school alone. Nobody would send their children to a school without a man in charge. She probably wouldn't even be allowed to live on her own, but would continue under her parents' roof. That's what "spinsters" did back then.


Karen I read this and many Louisa May Alcott books as a child. I agree with Ashleigh, time and place need to be considered. I love all her books as does my daughter, who has my original copy. I also don't agree with changing original text to meet modern expectations. I haven't read all the comments above, but this was a semi-autobiographical novel. After becoming a fan as a child, I read every biography of LMA I could get my hands on - my poor elementary school librarian! LMA was a strong, progressive woman for her time who would have been considered a feminist today.


Marta This is a book for children, specifically girls. I read it at the age of nine or ten, fell in love with it, and went on to read many more Louisa May Alcott books. I don't see the point of an adult male reading it, especially if he finds it difficult to get through. I do suggest they read March by Geraldine Brooks, a modern adult book that is from the point of view of the absent father in Little Women, who is off fighting in the Union army.


Glenn Goettel Marta wrote: "This is a book for children, specifically girls. I read it at the age of nine or ten, fell in love with it, and went on to read many more Louisa May Alcott books. I don't see the point of an adult ..."
Marta, I am an adult male who loves the book from the position of my fascination with Ms. Alcott. The product of a virtual "Plato's Academy" of Concord intellectuals, a dynamic altruist and Civil War nurse, she was a severely repressed and intensely bitter woman who had utter cynicism for her commercially successful writing. She wanted most to write soft porn under a male alias. She sent her books to her publishers with remarks along the order of "Here, this ought to hold the little bastards". She somehow never realized, she could not have created such beauty and goodness if she hadn't truly lived it all herself.


Elisa Santos I read it and i didn´t care much for it.

The characters seem to always be preaching one another on how to me more modest, more attentive, more this, and more that....ok, i get it: this is meant to show values to children. But i read it in my 30´s and maybe was a bit over the hill, in therms of the message that was being delivered,because i was already a grown woman?

Anyway, i slugged through the book and ultimatly finished; itwas that i didn´t liked it, but it didn´t said much to me, either.


Mrsbooks Ashleigh wrote: "It's one of my favourite books. I always liked Jo more and never really liked Amy. But one thing that I think aways needs to be considered is the time and place a book was written: as modern reader..."

I read Little Women in my early 20's and loved it. I've been thinking about reading it again.

The comments on this thread make me wonder about morals. I'll try to word this carefully....lol. I'm curious if those who liked this book have more traditional morals vs those that didn't like this book, have a more relaxed moral outlook?

I agree with Ashleigh though. Whether or not it was morally annoying (so to speak) I prefer books that stick with accuracy. This is a poor christian family. To expect them to be any different or want them to be any different is not understanding the difference in culture and the time period the book is placed in.


Glenn Goettel Mrsbooks wrote: "Ashleigh wrote: "It's one of my favourite books. I always liked Jo more and never really liked Amy. But one thing that I think aways needs to be considered is the time and place a book was written:..."
I quite agree with you, Mrsbooks. Look how many classic books have been diminished, even disfigured, by Hollywood's attempts to replace the novel's viewpoints with more fashionably modern thoughts and mores.


message 32: by Hiba (new) - rated it 4 stars

Hiba Mathis wrote: "From a guy’s perspective, I found the first half of this book rather boring. Reading about four young sisters during the Civil War, sewing, singing, acting, playing and repenting caused me to have..."

I'm wondering if it's a "girl's" book. I always loved it. I think I can understand the guys' comments but I didn't feel that way. I read it a few times as a kid and I even read it a few years ago (in my early sixties!) to see how I liked it. I liked it now, too, and was impressed at the quality of writing for young girls to read. Now, even books written for adults are not the same quality much of the time.


message 33: by R.L. (new) - rated it 5 stars

R.L. Mosz I read Little Women as a child, a teenager, and later in middle age on a long car trip with my own teenage daughters. I liked it the first two times but appreciated it much more later in life. The style and sermonizing were just part of that time period. Beth's death held much more significance for me in the autumn of my life. I cried, thinking of all the people in the world who have had to say goodbye to beloved siblings too soon. Five stars!


message 34: by Melanie (last edited Dec 17, 2013 08:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Melanie Ruth wrote: "I loved this book when I was a child. It was one of my favorites along with The Secret Garden. I haven't read either of them in years. I wonder if I would still feel the same about th..."

This year as an adult I reread Little Women and Secret Garden. I loved Secret Garden as an adult, and Little Women not so much.

What I really didn't like is how everything is so perfect. Even Beth had a perfect death for the fact she saw her life wasn't useless.


message 35: by Yue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Yue When I first read the topic, that it was not your cup of tea, I was O_O because this is one of my favorite books and I re-read it a lot of times when I was a kid. However, I completely understand your feeling, because lately I've been reading a lot of classic children's books and I was, too, very surprised that they were considered classic and that they are so loved by many people. Secret Garden was also one of my favorites, but I guess there are books that are meant to be read as a child, others as an adult, and others at any age.

(Beth's death.. OMG, the first time I cried so much over a book! Heartbreaking)


message 36: by Daisy (new)

Daisy I'm sure if I'd read on it would have got more interesting, because it wasn't the storyline that put me off. It was the old fashioned writing style. It's just really hard to understand, just like when I tried to read Shakespeare.


Glenn Goettel Daisy.c wrote: "I'm sure if I'd read on it would have got more interesting, because it wasn't the storyline that put me off. It was the old fashioned writing style. It's just really hard to understand, just like w..."
Ms. Alcott wrote in a very emotional, sentimental, flowery style which became fashionable during the Civil War. To really get Ms. Alcott, one must peel aside the language- appealing as, in its own way, it is- to get the woman's heart and gut, her torment and her triumph.


message 38: by Lee (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lee Lipps Hockey is not my cup of teeth......


Glenn Goettel Sakura Yue Michaelis wrote: "When I first read the topic, that it was not your cup of tea, I was O_O because this is one of my favorite books and I re-read it a lot of times when I was a kid. However, I completely understand y..."

Sakura Yue Michaelis wrote: "When I first read the topic, that it was not your cup of tea, I was O_O because this is one of my favorite books and I re-read it a lot of times when I was a kid. However, I completely understand y
There truly is no telling, which work of art will hit one heart. I always seemed to focus on Ms Alcott herself, just beyond her authorly veil of anonymity. She was one mean middle-aged lady but from somewhere inside her, this tenderness and beauty well up and nourish everything she touches. She is something deep, to me.



Susan When I was younger I read the whole series at least once a year. As an adult, I still periodically re-read the books. For me, I try and keep the stories in the context of their times. Actually, at that level Alcott was ahead of the game.


Holly I read this book as a young adult; it was a good story, but I certainly didn't love it like so many girls I knew. I read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn right around the same time and absolutely adored that book. Just a difference in personal tastes, I guess.


message 42: by Glenn (last edited Apr 16, 2014 02:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Glenn Goettel Glenn wrote: "Sakura Yue Michaelis wrote: "When I first read the topic, that it was not your cup of tea, I was O_O because this is one of my favorite books and I re-read it a lot of times when I was a kid. Howev..."
I found this, per notification, as a comment under my own name; I don't know what's up with that, or if your comment was a reply to mine. But we clearly feel identically about Ms. Alcott. As I said in another discussion on this topic, she was a very bitter woman, and she claimed to have "held her nose" while writing "Little Women". She sent it off to her publisher with a note to the effect, "Here, this ought to hold the little bas--rds." She wanted to write basically soft porn under a male alias (I have read one, and it's really not that good). She somehow never realized, she could not have written so powerfully and movingly of virtue and goodness if she hadn't truly lived it herself. Yes I have always been "in love with" Louisa May Alcott. I relate to her feelings and thoughts as if in some sense, they were my own.


Jennifer Rockwell Have always loved the book, will always love it. I can certainly understand why its unapologetic charm might come across to some as saccharin, particularly with the preponderance of satire and sarcasm in today's culture and media. Nevertheless, I still find it pretty incredible and refreshing. I also don't think Ms. Alcott's desires to write pulp fiction and more sensational work needs to be seen as out of keeping with her writing Little Women. We all have multiple sides to us, and Jo herself writes pulpy tales until she finds her Professor Bhaer. LMA is a very intriguing historical figure, and while I'm familiar with her reluctance to write Little Women, and her resistance was based on a number of factors. The paradox of that resistance is that the more you know about her life, there's simply no question a great deal of love went into the piece as well.


message 44: by Glenn (last edited Apr 16, 2014 02:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Glenn Goettel Jennifer wrote: "Have always loved the book, will always love it. I can certainly understand why its unapologetic charm might come across to some as saccharin, particularly with the preponderance of satire and sarc..."
@Jennifer: I completely feel and acknowledge what you're saying, and I hope my comments regarding Ms. Alcott did not come across as detractive of her. I know all about her struggles, her disparagement by her father's "Concord Circle" and her traumatizing ordeal as a nurse during the Civil War. I know she had an intense "dark side" and a need to rebel, even to deliberately offend some portions of society, and as an "under-published" author myself I feel I can relate hand in glove to where she was coming from. She was flawed as are we all, but she had enormous baggage and I never would detract from her as a person. She is one of my personal heroines.


Jennifer Rockwell Glenn wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "Have always loved the book, will always love it. I can certainly understand why its unapologetic charm might come across to some as saccharin, particularly with the preponderance o..."
@Glenn What a thoughtful and eloquent response. Thank you so much for posting it. Not to worry, I didn't at all take offence to your earlier post, but still very much appreciated hearing your further thoughts. I completely agree. :)


Elisa Santos Melanie wrote: "Ruth wrote: "What I really didn't like is how everything is so perfect. Even Beth had a perfect death for the fact she saw her life wasn't useless.

Yup that´s it - all the perfection really got to me. It was all very sermonious, very rightous, very moraly upscale to a point that one would have thought that they were saints in the altar and the rest of the people scum of the lowest breeding and morals.

I read it as an adult and really....was not my cup of tea, at all. Too wholesome for my taste....



message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Mathis wrote: "From a guy’s perspective, I found the first half of this book rather boring. Reading about four young sisters during the Civil War, sewing, singing, acting, playing and repenting caused me to have..."

I see what you mean about "preachiness". But, if you ignore that, it's a wonderful story with likable characters. I loved it.

Definitely a contender for the title of "Great American Novel".


Silent Dugood I read this book when I was in my teens, then again last year, and The difference between now and then is that, I could appreciate it now more because of the point of view and the relevance it has for women taking control of their lives. I loved Jo, but their Mom was a boss. I will always love this book because it was my first one read.


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