Little Women (Full Version)

Little Women (Full Version)

by Louisa May Alcott

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185,644 words (≈ about 12 hours)

Little Women or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). Written and published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, the novel follows the lives of four sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March — and is loosely based on the author's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The first part of the book was an immediate commercial and critical success and prompted the composition of the book's second part, also a huge success. Both parts were first published as a single volume in 1880. The book is an unquestioned American classic.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012237842
Publisher: Sunrise Publishing
Publication date: 03/05/2011
Series: Literary Classics Collection , #6
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 85,860
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. She and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth, and May, were educated by their father, philosopher/ teacher Bronson Alcott, and raised on the practical Christianity of their mother, Abigail May.

Louisa spent her childhood in Boston and in Concord, Massachusetts, where her days were enlightened by visits to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s library, excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau, and theatricals in the barn at "Hillside" (now Hawthorne’s "Wayside").

Like her character, "Jo March" in Little Women, young Louisa was a tomboy. "No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race," she claimed, "and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences ..."

For Louisa, writing was an early passion. She had a rich imagination and often her stories became melodramas that she and her sisters would act out for friends. Louisa preferred to play the "lurid" parts in these plays --"the villains, ghosts, bandits, and disdainful queens."

At age 15, troubled by the poverty that plagued her family, she vowed: "I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!"

Confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women seeking employment, Louisa determined, "... I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world." Whether as a teacher, seamstress, governess, or household servant, for many years Louisa did any work she could find.

Louisa’s career as an author began with poetry and short stories that appeared in popular magazines. In 1854, when she was 22, her first book Flower Fables was published. A milestone along her literary path was Hospital Sketches (1863), based on the letters she had written home from her post as a nurse in Washington, DC during the Civil War.

When Louisa was 35 years old, her publisher in Boston, Thomas Niles, asked her to write "a book for girls." Little Women was written at Orchard House from May to July 1868. The novel is based on Louisa and her sisters’ coming of age and is set in Civil War New England. "Jo March" was the first American juvenile heroine to act from her own individuality --a living, breathing person rather than the idealized stereotype then prevalent in children

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Little Women 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 214 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good, classic novel. Never had to read it in school so decided to read it as an adult. Was pleasantly surprised. A little slow at some points but glad I read it since it is considered a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading this book. Saw the movie years ago. Books are always better as you can get so caught up in the stories!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So romantic wonderfullly written
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A lovely and lively vignette of girls growing up. I don't know what else I can say about it. The story is so well known, all I can say is that I enjoyed it to it's last classic page.
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Little Women is, at its heart, a wonderful story about family. It's also an example of historical fiction that is great for young adults and adults. This is one of those rare "classics" that I think actually deserves to be called such. It reaches across generations and times - just about anyone with siblings can identify with what these girls go through as a family. Moreover, many people can also identify with having too little money to get by at times, and what a struggle it is to make ends meet. These characters are so real, with such individual personalities, that they come alive off the page and suck you into their world. I read this as young girl, and again as a woman. It resonated with me both times. Highly recommended.
Callie1983 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my absolute fav classics... love this book
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Little Women, that classic tale of four very different sisters growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War, is well known for its warmth, humor, and moral lessons. Louisa May Alcott, the "Jo" of the story, describes the life of the March family with an eye for the funny side of every situation. Jo is the literary sister and more than a little tomboyish, while Meg, the oldest, is almost a woman and takes her responsibilities very seriously. Beth, next youngest after Jo, is shy and gentle, playing her piano and tending her dolls. Amy, the youngest, has the artistic temperament and is a bit vain, though still lovable in her own way. And then there's Marmee, the center of the March household and the standard for moral behavior in her daughters' lives. There isn't much of a plot, as each chapter tells of some memorable episode in their family history. I was struck this time by how similar my childhood was in some ways to that of the March girls. My siblings and I also "published" a newspaper of sorts and got up theatrical presentations for the delectation of our parents. We wrote stories, played with dolls, created elaborate make-believe games, and had a "post office" where treats were occasionally left. We read voraciously, were educated at home, never had much money, and learned early the strong work ethic that has been so valuable in adult life. I can even see some strong resemblances between Meg and myself (the oldest) and Jo and my next youngest sister, the undisputed tomboy of the family. We four sisters are as unique and distinct as the March girls. I guess happy childhoods share many of the same traits, regardless of how times change. Many readers object to Alcott's occasional preachiness. I actually don't mind moral lessons carefully woven into a story, and I can take a great deal of what others may term "preaching" without annoyance. But I object to Alcott's preachiness on a different score. She preaches what she knew, the doctrines of the Transcendental movement that was then popular in their family's social circle. And it's astonishing what they got wrong. On the surface it seems like good moral stuff, and perhaps it is, as far as it goes. But Christ is absent¿or if He is there, He's a friend and helper rather than a Savior. The slightest misdirection at the start will change the entire trajectory of a person's faith. It was almost sad to hear Alcott describing her and her family's struggles to be good, to subdue their sinful flesh and improve themselves by their own efforts and self discipline. They completely missed the point of grace; it isn't there to help us be good enough to be saved, but to save us completely, apart from any good we may do. There is freedom in that. An example of this is the ongoing metaphor from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, that of the burden that Christian carries to the Hill. There is no doubt that Bunyan intended Christian's burden to represent the burden of sin; it falls off when Christian beholds and believes in the Savior. But Alcott and her family apparently missed the entire point and interpreted Christian's burden as the general burdens of everyday life, our cares and responsibilities. Biblically astute Christians will see the problem at once: if our burden is our everyday life rather than our sin, that means we don't have a fatal problem that only Christ's sacrifice can alleviate. We are capable of perfecting ourselves. Another contentious point is how Jo rejects Laurie and instead marries Professor Bhaer, a much older German man. I have always been dissatisfied with that, as much as I respect an author's authority over her own characters (and in this case, her own life!). This time I really tried to listen with an open mind and Alcott does a fair job of convincing me that she really did make the right decision. But it's still hard to read about Laurie's rejection and later marriage with Amy. I have several of Alcott's "thrillers" that she disparages in this sto
theboylatham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

Four out of ten. eBook.

The story of four sisters growing up and coming of age. It follows the girls from a young age into marriage and beyond. The first half of the book was reasonably entertaining but becomes dull and predictable. Obviously meant for young women and in the style of older books is slow moving and patronising at times.


SimoneA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am doubting about my rating of this book. On the one hand it is an entertaining classic. On the other hand it is a preachy, old fashioned book with annoyingly outdated ideas about women. For now I'll stick with just a fun read in between.
NicoleHC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's impossible to pinpoint the year I first read this. Probably the year I learned to read in sentences. Classic, indeed. A book I'd recommend to all little girls.
theageofsilt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at "The Orchard House" in Concord, Massachusetts where Louisa May Alcott lived while she wrote "Little Women". I didn't enjoy this book as a girl, but I appreciate it more now. It was a pleasure to read about young women who are more interested in developing their character than their appearance. The writing style is lively enough to carry the reader through plotlines that are credible to the point of banal. It is also a wonderful depiction of daily life of its time. It is also a feminist novel -- the home is the core of a woman's responsibility, but the home is also seen as absolutely crucial for society. Oddly, I think the denigration of the role of women in the world belongs to a later era.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read. Ages 10 and up shoukd look into this book. This is a spoil-free page, and guys, no one dies. So, just read this GREAT American classic. p.s. don't let 643 pages scare you. It is soooooo worth it. : { )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found out who died too. Im so angry at that guy/girl!!!!!!!!! Actually, im angry that they told you, I didnt read that review; i watched the movie. SPOILED!>:(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow i hate that guy or whoever did a spoiler alert ssssssssooooooo angry im on page thirty and i found out who died nice going:(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a hard time loading and turning the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was hard for me whe I was 9, but now that I am 11, this book is easy to understand. This book is a grat read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Little Women! (But I'm on page 375) I think I will give it 5 stars! I think people might like it.