Louisa May Alcott did not intend to write a children’s book that would remain successful for future generations, but she did with Little Women (1868). The book’s main themes are domesticity, work and true love. This was a fiction novel for girls that veered from the normal writing styles at the time.
The story is set in Concord, Massachusetts in the March household. The family consists of Marmee, the mother and her four daughters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Mr. March is serving in the army during the Civil War.
The four girls are close in age however very different in personality. Being the oldest, Meg is in charge of the house while their mother is off and she is a used of lecturing her sisters. Jo is the tomboy and enjoying literature, both reading and writing. Beth is thirteen at the beginning of the book and is described as shy, gentle and quiet. Amy is the youngest sister and is considered a snow maiden,with curly golden hair and blue eyes, as the youngest, she is spoiled and thus sometimes vain. This book follows the March girls through happy and sad times of their lives.
Then term “little women” refers to the time in a young women’s life where childhood and elder childhood overlap. It has been read “as a means of escaping life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well.” (Well Read Lives: How Books Inspired A Generation of American Women.)
Little Women was followed by Little Men and Jo's Boys.
Little Women is the sixth book in Children’s Classics month.
Little Women can be found in your local library, the website for the Bergen County Cooperative Library System can be found here or at your local Barnes and Noble in Hackensack.
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