Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - Goodreads review

Little WomenLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ok so, despite my snarky comments during the listen (I bought the audio book) I have given this book 4 stars.

Spoilers from here on

The reason I gave the book 4 stars is because the writing is charming (dear lord I have fallen into the March girls' way of speech!) The book itself is hideously moral in tone and terribly preachy at every turn, at one point Louise May Alcott actually suggests her reader may have fallen asleep during one of her little homilies, so even she is aware!

As an educational pamphlet for the young lady of the age I'm sure this book would have been wonderful. There are numerous top tips about gloves, ribbons, keeping skirts clean in the mud and bonnet adornment on the cheap.

The girls do however seem convinced that they are 'poor' which seems to translate as 'lower middle class with only one servant'. Poor Hannah, despite being a perfect dear with the children, seems to have no time to have a family of her own.

Beth's death scene, promised since about chapter 4 and yet not actually happening until near the end of the book, was a blessed relief for us all. Much was made of her saintliness and goodness, but as she barely rose from the sofa after chapter 5 I'm not sure what naughtiness anyone expected from her. I was absolutely thrilled when she finally popped off.

Amy remained my favourite daughter, Meg was far too smug, Jo tried far too hard to be 'boyish' and Beth was in bed.

The only highlight for me was when Prof. Bhaer proposed to Jo in a touching scene in the rain. Maybe I was swayed by an older bearded man proposing to an unconventional girl in odd circumstances (wink) who can say but I did feel a drop of moisture rise into my eyes. Sadly this was instantly dashed by him asking her to wait a year due to some obscure reason that made no sense at all.

The book ended on a delightful note with everyone either dead, married or otherwise happy. And Jo able to be both suddenly feminine but also able to indulge in her odd obsession with young boys.

The writing and language was lovely, the plot could have been fun but was spoiled by the obsession with gloves and morals.

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