Amazon.com description: Product Description
: Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains a special place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realistic stories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human nature make the romance, humor and sweet stories of "Little Women" come alive. The four March girls -- practical Meg, rambunctious Jo, sweet Beth and childish artist Amy -- live in genteel poverty with their mother Marmee; their father is away in the Civil War. Despite having little money, the girls keep their spirits up with writing, gardening, homemade plays, and the occasional romp with wealthier pals. Their pal, "poor little rich boy" Laurie, joins in and becomes their adoptive brother, as the girls deal with Meg's first romance, Beth's life-threatening illness, and fears for their father's safety. The second half of the book opens with Meg's wedding (if not to the man of her dreams, then to the man she loves). Things rapidly go awry after the wedding, when Laurie admits his true feelings to Jo -- only to be rejected. Distraught, he leaves; Amy also leaves on a trip to Europe with a picky old relative. Despite the deterioration of Beth's health, Jo makes her way into a job as a governess, seeking to put her treasured writing into print -- and finds her destiny as well. There's a clearly autobiographical tone to "Little Women." Not surprising -- the March girls really are like the girls next door. Alcott wrote their flaws, strengths, and misadventures with a sense of authenticity. How much of it is real? A passage late in the book portrays Alcott -- in the form of Jo -- "scribbling" down the book itself, and getting it published because it feels so real and true. Although "Little Women" may seem daunting because of its length, the actual stories flow nicely and smoothly. There's something for everyone in Alcott's classics: drama, romance, humor, sad and happy endings alike. Alcott's writing itself is nicely detailed. While certain items are no longer in common use, Alcott's stories could easily be seen in a modern home. Jo is the quintessential tomboy, and the best character in the book: rough, gawky, fun-loving, impulsive, with a love of literature and a mouth that is slightly too big. Meg's love of luxury adds a flaw to the "perfect little homemaker" image, and Beth barely avoids being shown as too saintly. Amy is an annoying little brat throughout much of the first half of the book, but by her teens she's almost as good as Jo. "Little Women" is one of those rare classic novels that is still relevant, funny, fresh and heartbreaking today. Louisa May Alcott's best-known novel is a magnificent achievement.