Yeah! I finished my first book for the Flashback Challenge yesterday. For my first re-read I chose a book from the “read in childhood” category.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott was originally published in two parts. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (1868) was followed by Part Two, or Good Wives, in 1869. The story was the first to bring real success to the author, although she had published her first work some twenty years before. The book is a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood. Louisa, like Jo in the story, is the second of four daughters and had to go to work at an early age due to the poverty of her family.
This story has been a favorite of mine since I was about ten years old. I have read it more times than I can count over the years, and to this day, it still makes me cry at certain parts. I understand that to many young women of today, Little Women is somehow uncomfortable or unfamiliar, with it’s Victorian morals and manners. I find, however, that the theme of family working and playing together and striving to be the best that they can be, both corporately and individually is still pertinant and understandable to modern girls and women.
In brief, the book follows the March family from sometime early in the Civil War, when the girls, ranging from sixteen to twelve, and their mother were struggling to make do while their father was serving as Chaplain in the Union Army, to about sixteen years later, when all of the girls were grown and had families of their own. We are given a glimpse of day to day life in that era and share in the struggles and victories, labor and frolics of the March family and their friends and neighbors.
Little Women may not be for everyone, but I believe it is a good choice for young girls who are interested in the American Civil War era, the late Victorian era, or just fond of stories that are about other young women. The book has a strong Christian influence, which may recommend it to some and turn away others. At 643 pages it is a substantial under-taking for a young reader. I think it makes a lovely choice for a read-aloud together book for mothers and daughters. That being said, I confess that I made my eldest son read it once, and he not only survived the experience, it did him no harm! Which is to say, there are definately a few parts boys can enjoy, so don’t be surprised if you find your son’s listening in if you opt to read it aloud.