Little Women (Alcott)

Little Women
Louisa May Alcott, 1868 and 1869
~500 pp. (varies by publisher)

Set in a small New England town during the Civil War years and Reconstruction, Little Women introduces Alcott's remarkable heroines, the March sisters, and above all her alter ego Jo March, with her literary ambition and independent spirit. The novel chronicles the episodes, large and small, of the sisters' progress toward adulthood: their amateur theatricals, sibling rivalries and reconciliations, friendships and romance, lessons about work and charity, and the loss of loved ones. (From the Library of America edition.)

Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg's joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo's struggle to become a writer, Beth's tragedy, and Amy's artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louise May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth- century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers. (From the Penguin Classics edition.)

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