Paperback (Vintage, 400 pages)
First published 1868; this edition published 2012
Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars
“Christmas won’t be the same this year for Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, as their father is away fighting in the Civil War, and the family has fallen on hard times. But though they may be poor, life for the four March sisters is rich with colour, as they play games, put on wild theatricals, make new friends, argue, grapple with their vices, learn from their mistakes, nurse each other through sickness and disappointments, and get into all sorts of trouble.”
Reading this for the first time in years filled me with warmth.
I’d forgotten how delightful Little Women is. At times it is saccharine sweet, but the gentle, heartwarming tone of the story does not let the book turn into a complete disaster. The girls themselves are of their time, yet their characters are still highly relevant today, particularly Jo’s rebellious nature and Amy’s struggle to always do the right thing.
There are some gems in the story, and I found myself smiling as I read them, but for the sake of avoiding (247 years-worth of) spoilers, I won’t elaborate on them here. But if you have read Little Women, then you’ll know exactly which gems I mean.
Alcott’s writing is realistic, balanced and plainly skilful; though I don’t think I will be reading any of the sequels, I truly am fond of Little Women and how joyful and easy it is. If you haven’t read Little Women, I really urge you to. It’s a classic not only for children but for adults also – and of course, it helps that the Vintage edition has a lovely cover.