Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - Book Review #76

Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is an American classic, adored for Louisa May Alcott's lively and vivid portraits of the endearing March sisters: talented tomboy Jo, pretty Meg, shy Beth, temperamental Amy. Millions have shared in their joys, hardships, and adventures as they grow up in Civil War New England, separated by the war from their father and beloved mother, "Marmee," blossoming from "little women" into adults. Jo searches for her writer's voice and finds unexpected love...Meg prepares for marriage and a family...Beth reaches out to the less fortunate, tragically...and Amy travels to Europe to become a painter. Based on Louisa May Alcott's own Yankee childhood, Little Women is a treasure -- a story whose enduring values of patience, loyalty, and love have kept this extraordinary family close to the hearts of generation after generation of delighted readers.

Little Women is idealistic story about sublime family. There is an army of fans of this novel and I don’t think I ever met anyone who didn’t like this book. It is named one of the greatest stories for children. It is praised, glorified and celebrated for generations. Countless movies, plays, operas and musicals are created bases on this novel. Thousands of reviewers in numerous publications and in internet are singing glorifying hymns to Little Women and Louisa May Alcott. So what else can I possibly add to this undying roar of voices? – Only my opinion. Unfortunately, it is completely different from the majority.

It took me three weeks of whining, hair-pulling, head-banging and swearing to finish this book. And once I finished it, I had only “Thanks god, it’s over” to say. Little women, in my opinion, is not a novel, rather a collection of short stories, connected by chronology and same characters, but not much of a plot. Each of these short stories examines some moral aspect, using main characters to illustrate the consequences. Each story ends with the moral admonition directed to teach a lesson to the reader. This is done with blunt straightforwardness, pretty much shoving these moralizations into the reader’s throat. Little Women is not a novel; it is a handbook on how to raise obedient, highly moral, but completely boring, without a thought of their own and with a blank eyes daughters.

While I was reading without analyzing what I was actually reading, Little Women read like a cute little story. However, once I allowed myself to think, this novel instantly was making me sick. Every sister is so eager to get rid of their flaws. Everyone loves each other until death. The first kiss of Meg after the marriage is to her mother. Laurie is exchanging, at least somewhat interesting, Jo to completely shallow Amy. Jo’s, what looked like, a forced marriage. Why Louisa May Alcott couldn’t leave her single? And many other moments that I found quite controversial. Maybe if I read this book when I was a child, I would have viewed it differently. However now I’m just glad I finished it and I don’t think I would ever come back to it.


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