The Little Women by Katharine Weber

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For anyone who has been caught up by the absorbing saga of the four March girls and their incident- and emotion-filled journeys toward self-knowledge...Weber's shallow, self-satisfied riff on the coming-of-age novel is bound to be a disappointment... It has a literary feel...But it is nonetheless a far cry from being Literature.
-LA Times

Synopsis

A delightfully clever contemporary novel inspired by the Louisa May Alcott classic

In Katharine Weber's third novel, The Little Women, three adolescent sisters--Meg, Jo and Amy--are shocked when they discover their mother's affair, but are truly devastated by their father's apparently easy forgiveness of her. Shattered by their parents' failure to live up to the moral standards and values of the family, the two younger sisters leave New York (and their private school) and move to Meg's apartment in New Haven, where Meg is a junior at Yale. They enroll in the local inner-city public high school, and, divorced from their parents, they try to make a life with Meg as their surrogate mother.

Written in the form of an autobiographical novel by Joanna, the middle sister, the pages of The Little Women are punctuated by comments from the "real" Meg and Amy. Their notes and Jo's replies form a second narrative, as they argue about the "truth" of the novel.

Why do readers insist on searching for the autobiographical elements of fiction? When does a novelist go too far in mulching actual experience for a novel? What rights, if any, does a writer have to grant the people in her life and story?

An ingenious combination of classic storytelling in a contemporary mode, The Little Women confirms Katharine Weber's reputation as a writer who "astutely explores the gap between perception and reality." (The New York Times Book Review)

 

About Katharine Weber

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Katharine Weber is the author of the novels True Confections, Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, the cultural historian Nicholas Fox Weber.
 
Published September 15, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Merle Rubin on Oct 01 2003

For anyone who has been caught up by the absorbing saga of the four March girls and their incident- and emotion-filled journeys toward self-knowledge...Weber's shallow, self-satisfied riff on the coming-of-age novel is bound to be a disappointment... It has a literary feel...But it is nonetheless a far cry from being Literature.

Read Full Review of The Little Women | See more reviews from LA Times

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