Hi, friends. Today’s classic is sweet and heartwarming, and the burgeoning of little girls into little women pairs well with the buds and blossoms of spring.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is aptly titled, as the novel follows the adventures and the mishaps of four sisters as they grow from little girls to “little women.” The novel begins with the four girls discussing the presents they won’t be receiving for Christmas that year because their family is poor. Through narration and their dialogue, we get a picture of each sister from the beginning.
Meg, the oldest, is the sensible leader with unmatched beauty. Jo, the second oldest, is an unabashed tomboy–tall, lanky, and quick-tempered yet also witty and passionate. Beth, the second youngest, is lovely, humble, and pure; she embodies an angel. Amy, the youngest, is a slightly-vain-but-precious doll who wants to be pretty and well-liked. The mischievous but sweet boy who lives next door, Laurence, quickly becomes a main character also.
This book is wholesome in the best way. Their lives are far from perfect, especially due to their poverty, but they learn valuable lessons and grow so much along the way. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy all have their own stories, but as I read, I found myself relating to experiences from each of them. Their mother’s words of advice throughout the novel are incredibly poignant, and the narrator also asserts words of wisdom at times; a distinctly Christian perspective is incorporated in these instances. I can’t help smiling just reflecting on the novel; “heartwarming” is the perfect adjective for Little Women.
“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”
“Be comforted, dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds.”
“Conceit spoils the finest genius.”
~Advice from Mrs. March
The novel is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters; the book is considered “semi-autobiographical.” Alcott modeled Jo after herself.
The novel was originally published in two parts in 1868 and 1869. The first volume sold all 2,000 original printings quickly, and the publishing company struggled to meet public demand.
From a modern perspective, this novel doesn’t seem to rock the boat (the girls/women are fairly tame), but the fact that the sisters are given agency and portrayed dynamically and ambitiously made this novel more groundbreaking for the time. After the first volume came out, young girls wrote to Alcott and asked who the little women marry because girls were trained to see marriage as their goal in life.
Little Women has been adapted for the screen repeatedly in films and shows. Another adaption will be released in December 2019 starring Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, and more. (Yay!)
Thanks for reading! Have you read this book or seen the adaptations? Let me know in the comments.