Monday, June 21, 2010

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women


Last summer (wow, I cannot believe that was a year ago!), I reread Little Women, Little Men and read Jo's Boys for the first time. They were all more delightful than I remembered (or anticipated). Although they are books for young readers, they also contain themes and deeper messages that resonate well with more mature readers. If you haven't read them in a while, I highly recommend them.

My lovely sister is a huge Louisa May Alcott fan as well, and share with me this biography, which she had just finished. She was overflowing with interesting information about the Alcotts, and their neighbos, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and other interesting American intellectuals and literary giants of the era.

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen is fascinating. It's truly a page turner. It follows the insane adventures of the Alcott family, led by their unstable, idealistic father Bronson, and sustained by their hard-working, steady mother, Abby. It's amazing to see how their lives were so intertwined with the lives of Emerson, Thoreau and other important Transcendentalists.

Reisen also illuminated what parts Alcott and her family were models for the beloved March family. After the success of the book, the sisters even took to calling themselves their corresponding March names on occasion! Reisen also outlined all of Alcott's other works. I hadn't realized she had written so much. I had read Eight Cousins and A Rose in Bloom (both magnificent-go read them!), but I wasn't familiar with much else. Thanks to this fantastic biography, I now have a whole new list to add to my "to-reads"!

If you loved Little Women as a child, an adult, or even just loved the movie, read this biography! Even if you're unfamiliar with the story, it's a thrilling tale of an eccentric family, who landed themselves in just the right place during a fascinating and important period in our nations history.

Image from amazon.com

5 comments:

Julia said...

You should check out The Last Summer of Louisa May Alcott. FANTASTIC (if you love Little Women)!

Caitlin said...

Julia- I've heard of that! I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the rec! I'm on a huge Louisa May Alcott kick these days! I hope you're well!

Jamie said...

I re-read Little Women in the past year and couldn't believe how book-tastic it was. I have added this bio to my Amazon wishlist...

Caitlin said...

Jamie-Oh, I'm glad you're going to check it out! You'll have to let me know what you think. And I know! I was totally blown away by Little Women when I reread it! Have you read Little Men and Jo's Boys too?

Jamie said...

I have not! They are next :-)