Title: Little Women & Good Wives
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Publication Date: 1993
Publisher: Wordsworth Children’s Classics
Format: Paperback|464 pages
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott follows the lives of four young girls detailing both their childhood and the beginning of their womanhood, the two somewhat “overlapping” each other. The March sisters are very different: Jo is a free-spirited tomboy with a temper and love for writing, Meg is morally vigorous and has a weakness for luxury, Beth is quiet and always trying to please people around her and Amy is an artist who treasures visual beauty. Although very different, they are united by love: love for their parents, love for beauty, adventure and for each other. The autobiographical novel portrays the sisters growing up in times of financial and emotional struggle during the American Civil War, with their father serving as a chaplain.
The timeless classic is written with charm and humour in such a manner that it made me look forward to reading a chapter every day. Regarding the plot, it consists rather of series of humorous, thought-provoking and devastating episodes about the March sisters learning about generosity, kindness and courage. Each sister’s personal struggles are portrayed as though the author sympathizes with what they are going thorough. At points, I even found that the narrator goes to great lengths to offer an insight into the characters’ background and an explanation regarding their strong reactions. What I feel captured the hearts of millions of readers across the globe, including mine, is the accurate and truthful account of human, relatable and believable characters. Through this realistic approach, Alcott weaves a delightful story warming up the reader’s heart. Some people claim that the novel is no longer relevant because of its religious agenda and the idea of women being nothing more than housewives, which I clearly disagree with: the heroine is a writer who not only is not ashamed for being a woman who writes novels, but makes a profit from it, marriage is never portrayed as a solution to everything and the girls haven’t been told to endure hardship to remain happy. Although God is mentioned, the novel doesn’t revolve around religion but rather around the idea that perceptions about God could vary from one character to another, but they must be true to their religion and non-judgemental towards others’. However, when reading the novel one must consider the time it was written in order to realize Louisa May Alcott was actually quite progressive.
The novel conveys a cosy, fluffy feel and it is definitely perfect for a winter read as certain parts of the plot are set during and around Christmas. Although written for younger audiences, it is an all-time favourite for many older readers as well. Thus, I recommend it for everyone at every age looking for a feel-good read.