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Books > Literature & Fiction > Classics > B003IHW0GE
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Four sisters live with their mother, facing Christmas without their father as the American Civil War is underway. The family is settled in a new neighborhood, living in genteel poverty after the father lost their money. Meg and Jo March, the elder sisters, both work outside the home for money to support the family. Meg teaches four children in a nearby family, while Jo aids her grand-aunt March, a wealthy widow whose strength is failing. Beth helps with housework, and Amy attends school. Their nearest neighbor is a wealthy man whose orphaned grandson lives with him. The sisters introduce themselves to the handsome shy boy, Laurie, who is the age of Jo. Meg is the beautiful sister; Jo is the tomboy; Beth is the musician; and Amy is the charming artist with blond curls. Jo is impulsive and quick to anger. One of her challenges in growing up is to control acting out of anger, a challenge that also faced her mother, Marmee. Marmee advises Jo on speaking with forethought. The boy Laurie enjoys his neighbors, joining the family often in play and home theatrics written by Jo. His grandfather, Mr. Laurence, is charmed by Beth, and gives her the piano used by Laurie’s dead sister.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

I must have read Little Women 10-20 times as a child and cried every time I read it. The relationship between the sisters is so touching. It wasn't until much later that I made the connection with the Civil War, and reading it as an adult made the story even richer. This book is a wonderful read aloud to middle school and high school students studying the Civil War time period. I highly recommend reading the book before watching the movie. The movie is great, but cannot begin to touch the emotions portrayed in the book! The other works of Alcott as also as touching. I loved Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom almost as much as Little Women!
If you're an Alcott fan, as I am, this volume will be a delight. I've read LITTLE WOMEN since childhood (all the way back to when I complained to my mother when I found out I read an abridged edition--I wanted the whole story!) and, by dint of further reading, found out many of the historical background items for this book, but this collects all of them in a super package, from the many references to Bunyan's PILGRIM"S PROGRESS, to how book events paralleled the Alcotts' real lives, to definitions of familiar objects and terms in the 19th century that have since disappeared, like a charabanc, pickled limes (which, BTW, sound disgusting!), and "trumps." (I did find it a bit sad that the author needed to translate several words that I found commonplace; is it really necessary today to tell someone that "sober" means "solemn," for instance?) Other than the fact that a couple of the annotations struck me as incorrect or odd, and that one illustration was mislabeled, this is thoroughly... Read more
Don't be fooled by the cover - it doesn't begin to tell the story. This is a gorgeous oversized edition (measuring 9" x 10" x 2") with an elegant choice of typefaces, filled with color plates, letters written by Louisa and her publisher Thomas Niles and commentary on each page which enhances the reading experience. Shealy introduces the book with an interesting essay about the extensive revisions made to the text between its original publication in 1868 and the revised version in the 1880s. In many respects the revisions were a response to negative criticism about the slang Alcott used throughout the book being a poor example for children! Fortunately Shealy uses the original text which is more vibrant and real. A second essay includes photos of each of the main players from the Alcott family. Alcott drew from the deep well of her personal life to bring Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Marmee and Laurie to life. Shealy includes analysis of the era, fascinating anecdotes and great trivia. If you... Read more
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