Little Women – Louisa May Alcott: A Review

Posted 27 July, 2007 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 16 Comments

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Title: Little Women
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Pages: 388
Date Finished: July 27, 2007
Rating: 3.5

I haven’t been this glad to be rid of finished with a book in a long time–probably since I was reading The Portrait of a Lady. In retrospect, I liked the first part of the book, but I think that is just in comparison to the second part of the book because while reading the beginning I was often annoyed. Urg!

Little Women, as many of us know, is the story of the March girls: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. I think the book spans roughly fifteen years, so the reader gets to know the four very different girls and how they have grown and matured. One of the qualms I have with the book is the pedantic nature. That’s fine and good and all, but it was just too damn sweet. Every chapter (at least in the beginning and again in the middle of the second half) seemed self-contained and formulaic. One of the girls has a folly that is corrected at the end of the chapter. The parts that did flow together and weren’t quite so preachy, though, were wonderful. I enjoyed reading about the girls and seeing their characters develop. Despite this horrid review, I did really like elements of the book and as a whole.

Recommendation: I think I am an anomaly here. I could only take one chapter at a time and sometimes it was a struggle just to make it through the chapter. The same thing happened, though, when I read Anne of Green Gables a few years ago. My guess is that I just loved these movies/specials so much when I was little that the story was so etched into my brain that I was impatient with the heavy language. *SPOILER* Besides, it pisses me off every single time that Jo and Laurie don’t get together. Yes, I get it, but whatever. :)

16 Responses to “Little Women – Louisa May Alcott: A Review”

  1. Lisa – I hope you like Time Traveler’s Wife. I know I’ve said it before, but its one of my favorites! And where you are with AGG is where I was with LW. It was a struggle ALL month to finish it.

    Joy – Not ALL classics are bad. ;) I’m sure there’s one out there that might be decent. Maybe I’ll just wait for YOU to recommend it…

  2. Mailyn – I’ve come to find out that I’m NOT an anomaly…I have heard more people not like this book recently than people who do. I’m just glad to be done with it!

  3. Joy

    LOL I’m really glad that other people love classics, I really am. There just aren’t for me.

    I just finished THE COLOR PURPLE and rated it a 3.75/5. That’s pretty good. :)

  4. I always liked Emily of New Moon way better than Anne.

    And whenever I think about Little Women, I’m reminded of the Friends episode where Rachel dares him to read it and he agrees, clearly with no idea whatsoever what the book is about. He asks, “Just how little ARE these women, anyway?” That always makes me laugh!

  5. This is one of those classics that I do want to read at some point, but I wonder how much I’ll like it. Your review confirmed my suspicions.

  6. I have to wonder if this is a book that is better off left in my childhood. I loved Little Women reading it as a girl in elementary school, but I haven’t touched it since. Jo was one of my literary heroes back then, and I remember feeling quite proud of reading a “classic” at such a young age. Lol. I wonder if reading it now would be a disappointment.

  7. I absolutely adore Little Women. But if you had a hard time with it then you definitely want to avoid Alcott’s other books. Little Women is the least preachy and syrupy of the bunch.

  8. Joy – I’m glad you liked The Color Purple a little better. I did a folklore paper on that book a few years ago, so I became a little attached to it. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one to you!! :)

    Darla D – I don’t remember that Friend’s episode, but everyone keeps talking about it. I guess I’ll have to review…

    Nymeth – What can I say? I was disappointed, but there are a few people out there that still like it in adulthood.

    Alyson – Yes, I think the same thing happened for me on this one. But given the language of the book, I can’t believe I read this when I was little!

    Petunia – Hmmm, I don’t think I’ll be picking up any other Alcott anytime soon. I’m reading Atwood and relishing every moment!

  9. I read the book as a young girl before there were movies and stuff about it. I really enjoyed it back then, but don’t know if I could re-read it now.

  10. ladytink – that seems to be the general complaint…I’m suprised at how many people didn’t like the book when they re-read it!

    MyUtopia – Now now, you can’t be that old! :) The Katherine Hepburn version of the movie came out in 1933! Anyway, I too enjoyed the book when I was younger, but oh well. You can’t like em all!

  11. Hi, Trish! I saw your comment on the Something About Me blog and thought I would read your review. I am so glad that I am not alone about rereading Little Women. I guess some books are better off in the past. I learned my lesson (which means I am not EVER going to reread Gone With The Wind – my favorite book from childhood).

    =) Jill
    http://mrstreme.livejournal.com

  12. * Jill – thanks for coming by! I read Gone with the Wind a few years ago and, whew, I can’t imagine reading it as a kid. Another beloved book that seems to get a bad wrap from adults is Anne of Green Gables–so you might want to say away from that one as well if you read it as a child. :) As you can see though, you aren’t alone in your feelings!