Saturday, 31 March 2012

Little Women

Date of Reading: 24/08/2006
Author: Louisa M. Alcott
Simplified by: Michael West & E.P.Hart
Illustrations by: Robert Broomfield
Year of Publication: 1724
Publisher: Longmans

Brief Summary:
          Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are the daughters of Mr.&Mrs. March. Though Mr. March works in the army, theirs is a poor middle class family with only one dress to wear in the parties. But the four girls are beautiful and forms a very amiable group which is later joined by Laurie, their neighbour.
          The elder one, Meg, marries Mr. John Brooke and becomes the mother of a boy and a girl. Laurie is in love with Jo, but for her he is only a friend (the usual tragedy!). So he marries Amy, the youngest. Beth dies of scarlet feaver. Jo finds her soul mate in Mr. Friederich Bhaer, a German Professor.

Rating: Nice

          Little Women has much in common with Jane Austen novels where also the only means for a woman to go farther in society is a rich marriage. Jo is the central character here - brave, intelligent, and different in some sense.
          Illustrations of Mr. Broomfield are really cute as they are still in my memory after all these years. Vocabulary is poetic in this children's version, but that cant be said for the unabridged version. I hv tried that sometime before . . . didn't even finish it. May be I am too old for children's classics now!
          Story is loosely based on the childhood experiences of Alcott herself, with her three sisters. Book is published in two volumes, the first being this one and the second is titled as Good Wives. Both are published as a single vol in 1880. She has also produced two sequels, Little Men, and Jo's Boys. There are four film versions, the last one in 1994 starring Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale (remember the Batman hero?). Also the book is been the subject of two T.V. series, one musical and an opera.

Related Readings:
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility
Alcott's Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys

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