Written by Louisa May Alcott
Rating: 5 stars
been avoiding Little Women for as long as it’s been on my to read list
for various reasons. So many people I talked to about it seemed
disappointed in the book or felt it far too preachy. But I finally bit
the bullet and am so glad I did. Who would have known going in that this
would quickly become one of my favourite books? Not I!
I think that Little Women’s strength lies in three main factors. It’s writing, it’s world building and it’s characters.
It feels like such an indulgence to read a well written book these days. Have no fear, I won’t pause to despair over the fall in quality of the written word and all of it’s many dire implications. I’ll leave all that fire and brimstone to others. However there is no doubt that Louisa May Alcott has a masterful command of language. It takes so few of her words to build a world full of bright characters and vivid places, while leaving plenty of room for the reader to create their own Jo, their own Beth, their own Marmee’s Corner, their own Camp Laurence.
You may find it odd that I include world building in a review about a book set in a world entirely similar to the time and place it was written in, not having a smidge of a fantastical nature to be found in it anywhere. However it is my belief that world building is as important to the contemporary writer (as Louisa May Alcott was in her time) to the creators of the most creative science fiction or fantasy. It’s all about the reader and whether they are sucked in or pulled out of the fiction, and nothing pull out a reader so thoroughly as a clunky sentence or revealing facts at entirely the wrong time.
Alcott never commits either but provides a moral tale with beautiful flow. I never felt drawn out of the world once.
However the true triumph of Little Women are the characters. Every character in this book is utterly loveable and you truly feel for them through all their joyful times and pitiful falls. It’s easy to become attached to such relatable characters that transcend time and place to be with you where you are in your own life.
This is not to say that the book did not have faults. It did. It was preachy at times - both in regards to religion and “the proper place for young women” - and I did find myself questioning the author’s choices in regards to characters at times, however I come away from reading Little Women with an overwhelmingly warm feeling.
Little Women wraps you round in a blanket, places a hot mug in your hands, gives you a hearty squeeze and reminds you that whilst we can never go back, whilst we may tumble and fall and find ourselves in fear or grief, happiness and peace can always be found in the arms of those we love.