Louisa May Alcott (Born: November 29, 1832 Died: March 6, 1888) was an American author who wrote the great novel “Little Women”. This classic story follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March and is loosely based on the author’s childhood experiences. Originally the novel was published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869 by the Roberts Brothers. In 1880, the two volumes were combined and published as a single volume. Alcott wrote two sequels featuring the lives of the March sisters, “Little Men” (1871) and “Jo’s Boys” (1886).
“Little Women” Book Synopsis
Set in New England during and after the Civil War, the story centers on the four March sisters. When their father leaves to fight in the war, this once prosperous household struggles to overcome difficult times. Despite the situation, Marmee, the mother, tries to continue to raise her daughters to be proper young ladies.
Meg, the oldest sister, is very pretty but is tempted by material possessions; Jo is the adventurous sister and considered a tomboy; Beth is a shy, sweet girl and has a love of music; and Amy is the youngest, very beautiful and elegant but very selfish. The other main character in the book is Theodore Laurence, known as Laurie, who is the next door neighbor.
After the war, Mr. March returns home and the family tries to get back to a normal life but Beth becomes extremely ill from scarlet fever and never regains her full strength. Laurie falls in love with Jo but she rejects him and he eventually finds falls in love with her sister Amy. Jo’s outspoken manner is constantly getting her into trouble but she finds comfort in writing her stories and gains some independence by earning a small amount of money from them. She is certain that she will never marry, but eventually finds someone who changes her mind about love and happiness.
GIFT SUGGESTION: If you are looking for a classic novel to expose a teenage girl to some great literature, I would suggest “Little Women”. The 150 year old story can be very sentimental and seems a little old fashioned in our modern world but I think every young girl will come to love the characters and the wonderful story. This book would make a wonderful birthday or Christmas present. Look for a special, beautifully illustrated edition, write a lovely inscription on the title page and I’m sure it will become a treasured literary heirloom to start a young girl’s book collection.
“LITTLE WOMEN’ MOVIES
It was inevitable that this classic story of the March family would be adapted into a Hollywood movie. My favorite movie version of “Little Women” is the 1949 Technicolor movie which was produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The stellar cast included: June Allyson, Janet Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret O’Brien, Peter Lawford and Mary Astor.
Another wonderful version is the 1994 Columbia Pictures movie directed by Gillian Armstrong. This latest adaption of “Little Women” stars Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon and Christian Bale.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you are looking for a great CHICK FLICK for a weekend with the girls, I would recommend either of these two “Little Women” movies. To make it a special occasion, start with a fabulous dinner and a delicious dessert and enjoy some great conversation with your friends around the table. When the meal is finished, find a comfortable seat on the couch, pour a glass or two of wine and enjoy this classic movie.