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Little Women / Good Wives (1869)

by Louisa May Alcott

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Little Women (1-2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,836185374 (4.11)27
Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in nineteenth-century New England.

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» See also 27 mentions

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  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
As I think many readers can relate to when reading “Little Women” as an adult(ish, I’m nineteen) for the first time, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed, loved, and lost over this book. Alcott is a master of spinning character arcs and, most importantly and surprisingly to me in a children’s book, giving them time to develop. Each of the March sisters’ journeys from young girl, fantasizing of her “castle in the air,” to a young woman who took her life and abilities in stride is given due attention, time, and love from the author.

This isn’t to say that Alcott sentimentalizes And always roots for her characters, either — quite on the contrary! She’s quick to point out, depending on whose viewpoint she’s in, the faults that the sisters see in one another, or that Marmee and Mr. March see in their girls. An example that immediately comes to mind is Alcott’s criticism (via Amy) of Laurie, while he and Amy are together in Europe. Succumbing to laziness and melancholy after rejection by Jo, Amy (and Alcott’s voice through her) don’t beat around the bush in telling him to get his act together, and start moving on. It’s not out of a lack of love that Amy does this, or Alcott criticizes Laurie, but out of a desire to see him become better.

Ultimately, I think, this might be what Alcott really wants out of readers of “Little Women,” too — in growing up alongside the March sisters and “their boy,” the reader learns their lessons of kindness, industriousness, passion, dedication, and love alongside and anecdotally, without Alcott needing to overmoralize and smack us on the head. Occasionally, the story does veer into this moralizing, but it’s usually out of the mouths of other characters (Jo, Marmee, Amy, etc.), and doesn’t feel too heavy-handed as a result.

I came to love, lose, and live alongside the Marches for two very good months as I read this book — a longer time than I usually take with novels. However, the time I spent with the Marches, Alcott, and adventuring alongside each of the characters in “Little Women,” was well-spent and all the better for the time I gave it. I know I’ll be carrying its lessons into the future, and returning when I need counsel and a level head — much like the girls turned to “Pilgrim’s Progress” in their own times of need. ( )
  priorfictions | Jun 24, 2020 |
This book is extremely preachy, but still manages to be great despite that... largely due to Jo. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
this is a favourite ( )
  LauraAnne2001 | Jun 20, 2020 |
Really enjoyed it! It's heart-warming, charming, and aspirational in some ways (trying to lead a better life). Curious to watch the recent movie again as well as the PBS series. ( )
  tgraettinger | Jun 7, 2020 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louisa May Alcottprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jambor, LouisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Showalter, ElaineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tudor, TashaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.
Quotations
Between Meg and Marmee:

"He's away all day, and at night when I want to see him, he is continually going over to the Scotts'. It isn't fair that I should have the hardest work, and never any amusement. Men are very selfish, even the best of them."
"So are women. Don't blame John till you see where you are wrong yourself." (Chapter 38, Gutenberg.org edition)
Gentlemen, which means boys, be courteous to the old maids, no matter how poor and plain and prim, for the only chivalry worth having is that which is the readiest to pay deference to the old, protect the feeble, and serve womankind, regardless of rank, age, or color. (Chapter 43, Gutenberg.org edition)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT work is the complete, unabridged Little Women , containing both Part First (originally published in 1868) and Part Second (published in 1869). American editions almost always contain both parts. UK and European editions frequently contain only Part First, with Part Second being published separately as Good Wives. If you are not sure which version you have, check the table of contents. Part First ends with Chapter 23, "Aunt March Settles the Question." Part Second ends with the chapter entitled "Harvest Time". Please do not combine with editions that contain only Little Women: Part I., or with any abridgments, adaptations, or film versions.
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Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in nineteenth-century New England.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Available online at The Internet Archive:
https://archive.org/details/littlewome...
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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140390693, 0141192410, 0451532082, 0143106651

West Margin Press

An edition of this book was published by West Margin Press.

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