Some children’s books give that feeling of, “I would’ve loved this as a child”, but not quite working from an adult’s perspective. Little Women was not such a book – although I do think I would’ve loved this as a child, and that was part of the charm – being transported back to a time when I bathed and dressed my teddy bears, had tea parties with them, ran around outside all day in the summer, playing make-believe, we’d be heroes or villains, spies or princesses, eventually collapsing from tired legs and light hearts. But I enjoyed Little Women just as much because I’m not a child reader – following the sisters from a young age to maturity, through heartache and sorrow, struggles and adventures, romances and happiness. Their growth is I think what will appeal to someone, like me, who are experiencing Little Women for the first time as an adult – appreciating the journey, being part of their world for a while and somehow feeling like there’s a place for you there, with Jo, Meg, Amy, Beth, and the rest of them – always.
Little Women is a story about Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth – four sisters, all very different – different personalities, different aspirations. You’re bound to like at least one of them if not all, I think Jo is probably the one most people would fall for. She’s such a colourful and charming sort of character, all around fun to follow and to spend time with. Although the book is filled with incidents, drama, events of all sorts – it’s not much of a plot driven story, there’s not one main plot, this is without a doubt a character study and so it’s something to keep in mind when picking this book up. I loved the slow pace of the book, I loved to follow the girls every day lives – the challenges they met with because of their lack of money, or the love troubles they wounded up in, the fun they had – when they play “Pilgrims”, all of it.
The book is filled with little lessons – either told from the narrator or through the girls’ mother, Mrs March. And although those lessons are filled with moral – especially religious moral, which is something that would normally put me off – it’s not done in a very annoying way. The lessons are there, throughout the book, but because they’re also part of the mother character they don’t feel so eyesore-y. Only towards the end of the book did I feel that they got a bit too heavy handed. Because the book have lessons throughout (and it’s apparent it’s written with a certain type of reader in mind) many of the intrigues, troubles, or mishaps end happily – when everyone realises their own faults, and try to do better. To put it bluntly – this book is sweet, very very sweet – sugary sweet, which is probably the main thing that could put people off. But although it takes away perhaps some of the complexities of life and people – it’s also not such a bad thing in this book. It’s such a pleasure to read, young and old, that I would still highly recommend it to anyone who has yet to read this fantastic book.
Louisa May Alcott also wrote two sequels to Little Women; Little Men, and Jo’s Boys, both of which I hope to read soon and I am sure to be revisiting Little Women in the not too distant future.
Until next time, Happy Reading!