Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

80%

19 Critic Reviews

...I know I will remember this book for years to come and it will always feel as if it were almost yesterday that I read it, as it is a book to treasure and keep on a dusty bookshelf to pass on for generations.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Little Women has remained enduringly popular since its publication in 1868, becoming the inspiration for a whole genre of family stories. Set in a small New England community, it tells of the March family: Marmee looks after daughters in the absence of her husband, who is serving as an army chaplain in the Civil War, and Meg, Jo,Beth, and Amy experience domestic trials and triumphs as they attempt to supplement the family's small income. In the second part
of the novel (sometimes known as Good Wives) the girls grow up and fall in love.

The novel is highly autobiographical, and in Jo's character Alcott portrays a strong-minded and independent woman, determined to control her own destiny. The introduction to this edition provides a fascinating history of the Alcotts,and of Louisa Alcott's own struggles as a writer.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
 

About Louisa May Alcott

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Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1832. Two years later, she moved with her family to Boston and in 1840 to Concord, which was to remain her family home for the rest of her life. Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a transcendentalist and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Alcott early realized that her father could not be counted on as sole support of his family, and so she sacrificed much of her own pleasure to earn money by sewing, teaching, and churning out potboilers. Her reputation was established with Hospital Sketches (1863), which was an account of her work as a volunteer nurse in Washington, D.C. Alcott's first works were written for children, including her best-known Little Women (1868--69) and Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys (1871). Moods (1864), a "passionate conflict," was written for adults. Alcott's writing eventually became the family's main source of income. Throughout her life, Alcott continued to produce highly popular and idealistic literature for children. An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870), Eight Cousins (1875), Rose in Bloom (1876), Under the Lilacs (1878), and Jack and Jill (1881) enjoyed wide popularity. At the same time, her adult fiction, such as the autobiographical novel Work: A Story of Experience (1873) and A Modern Mephistopheles (1877), a story based on the Faust legend, shows her deeper concern with such social issues as education, prison reform, and women's suffrage. She realistically depicts the problems of adolescents and working women, the difficulties of relationships between men and women, and the values of the single woman's life.
 
Published March 23, 2016 by Penguin Classics. 183 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books, History, Education & Reference, Romance, Humor & Entertainment, Self Help, Action & Adventure, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Parenting & Relationships, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Erotica, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Little Women
All: 19 | Positive: 18 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by dewdrop on Jun 18 2014

...I know I will remember this book for years to come and it will always feel as if it were almost yesterday that I read it, as it is a book to treasure and keep on a dusty bookshelf to pass on for generations.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Michelle Pauli on Dec 22 2010

It may sound too sickeningly pious for words, and it's true that, rereading it as an adult, Marmee's little homilies can be hard to swallow, but there is something wonderful that saves the story from drowning in a sea of sentimentality: Jo.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Cindi Rose on Jan 30 2011

The spirituality of Little Women has made it a favorite for generations and has been used as an example to reinforce the hard lessons that the March family learned. And although Marmee may be seen as a bit too perfect, she does confess to Jo that there are periods in her life where she lost her temper with disastrous results.

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Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by Jelinas on Jul 31 2012

Little Women is a sweet book about growing up and learning the ropes of life and dealing with tragedy and just loving the people around you...Maybe others think that Little Women is antiquated, but I love it. I love its simple depiction of friendship, love, and family, and of many of the values idealized in it.

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Kansas City Public Library

Above average
Reviewed by Bernard Norcott-Mahany on Dec 05 2011

Well, I didn’t quite find the wild feminism nor crazy hippiedom in the book (and was pretty sure I wouldn’t, having seen the two film versions already). But what I did see I found fascinating and quite entertaining. There was some of Alcott’s educational idealism in the book.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by bookcrazy, on Feb 03 2015

I adore this book. Each chapter is like a new story and a new lesson to learn. And reading about the four girls...was absolutely cherishing. All the characters are great actually, and the moments they have together are heartwarming and comical. This is truly a lovely novel.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by BrigitteG on Feb 03 2015

Little Women, in my opinion is a marvelous novel, filled with humorous adventures and tragic moments. One of my favorite parts of the story is the moment Teddy proposes to Jo and even though she rejects him she still loves him. I personally recommend Little Women,...

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Brynn, on Aug 26 2010

For others, Little Women may just be that one book that they don't want to read...but for me, it's probably the book that I love the most. It is truly a classic, and it has helped me through some hard points in my life. I recommend you read it, whether you think you'll like it or not. It's a seriously awesome book.

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Parental Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Alli on Feb 07 2015

Little Women is awesome because with all of the characters, every girl can find something that they can relate to. While there obviously isn’t equal portrayal in all fields...the point is that they have personal goals and ambitions and passions that they want to follow...I find this book irresistible and I will treasure it forever.

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Jules' Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Jules on Nov 30 2011

This was a sweet coming of age story, during the civil war era, and a lovely written classic, well worth reading and rereading again...Overall, the book was a great read, with a fun cast of characters and it's a great read for young adults ad the young at heart.

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Lit Lovers

Above average
Reviewed by Molly Lundquist on Jan 31 2013

There's nothing—at all—old-fashioned about the concept of virtue: generosity and compassion, forgiveness, self-restraint, wisdom, and living with intention. These are the values that Marmee teaches her four daughters...Unfortunately, the novel's second part tends to sag: chapters are long-winded and the structure more episodic...

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http://goodbooksandgoodwine.com

Excellent
Reviewed by April on Jan 03 2010

By reading the full version of Little Women, I fell in love with the March girls. They each embodied different characteristics which I admire...The writing within Little Women is quite readable for a classic, it is after all a young adult/children’s classic.

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https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Dunnewind on Oct 09 2013

...LITTLE WOMEN's appeal is its vivid depiction of its 19th-century time period. Though the writing style can be didactic, even contemporary girls who can't imagine wearing silk dresses or being too ladylike to run will identify with the March sisters' strong bonds and earnest efforts to overcome their faults.

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Booking in Heels

Good
Reviewed by Hanna W on Nov 18 2011

...it's hardly action packed as it's mostly about four sisters and their struggles to conquer their own flaws...it's about their relationships, feelings and little dramas as they struggle to grow up...This is a bit dated but I do really recommend reading it. It's so nice that it can't help but cheer you if you're feeling low.

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https://suite101.com

Good
Reviewed by Melissa Howard on Jun 27 2008

It is a superb novel for adults to share with their children and a delightful retreat for adults who want to leave the 21st century for a few minutes or hours. Little Women is also an excellent first introduction to the world of Alcott’s writing.

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Prolific Living

Good
Reviewed by Prolific Living on Oct 10 2010

The theme and plot of this novel paint the pictures from every day life for an ordinary family. The hardships of Civil War and near-poverty, while real for the March family, are not central to the plot and so “Little Women”, which has many important messages, comes across as extremely light, fun and beautiful reading.

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Lucybird's Book Blog

Above average
Reviewed by lucybirdbooks on Feb 24 2014

I think maybe I read it at the wrong time. I should have read it when I was younger maybe...As an adult though, I didn’t like it so much. It struck me as being a little preachy to be honest.

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Holly

Good
Reviewed by Holly on Jan 18 2010

Each of these characters is interesting and different in their own right but it is the family bond emphasized throughout the story that makes this book so endearing...I keep asking myself why I never read this when I was younger. I would recommend Little Women to anyone looking for a good family story.

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My Life is a Notebook

Good
Reviewed by Gretchen on Sep 16 2013

At the end of the day, I certainly liked this book. This is one classic that I actually recommend for people to read if they have the urge. There really is a girl for everyone to relate to in this book, no matter their age, and I find that extremely important.

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Reader Rating for Little Women
84%

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Alex Reverman 4 Jan 2014

Rated the book as 4 out of 5