Little Women | Louisa May Alcott | Book Review

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Book Review of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

Rekha Bhagtani
Author: Louisa May Alcott


Sometimes in life, a book comes along that is much more than just a morale booster; it is a game changer for life! Yes, writing has the power to alter not only lives, but history is witness to great literature bringing a 360-degree turn around to the cosmos itself.

Yes, such a Classic book as Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is a tale of four sisters, teaching us that sometimes in life, in the most bizarre and difficult situations, life itself presents us with so many opportunities and instances to rise above all odds, fighting all discrepancies, sailing high like a phoenix from the ashes. The story of the March family, Little Women, is the first in a series of four books which chart the events and episodes in the life of the March family and their pursuits in the journey of life.

Women have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition and talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.

Well, heroic words, some of the strongest I have heard in this lifetime (considering none of the other parallel ones I may be a part of),  On a serious enough note, yes, haven’t we all girls always thought about this one thing-no we are not simply made to be loved and for living, caring, and keeping things running, like old maids. Yes, we too have our aspirations; we are as much boys as girls, and we want our share of “doing, fighting, falling, and getting back up too.” Hey, it’s one life, and I want to live it to the fullest, right?

Ok, before you get carried away by my notion that I am in the feminist “Avatar” today, I was just fondly reminiscing about Jo, aka Josephine March, a character, or rather, a woman, who came into my life when I was little, too young, in fact, to understand the ways of the world. The quote above has been said by her in the book and has always held a sort of ringing for me, whenever I read it again, as if a staunch and headstrong woman (kinda like my mom, you know) is egging me on to go ahead, follow this and conquer the world)


With all that was happening around me, there was little ol’ me, having read Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” for the first time in my life when I was 9. I still remember there being this book fair in our school, where I grabbed my first copy of this one (I have like 4 of them now, all parts in the series, including e-books). I fondly have this little memory of being short of 3 Rs and the bookseller consenting to give me the copy for Rs 37/-. At that time, I had simply no clue that here I was, going to be picking up a book that has been more than my favourite and love of life, it has been a friend, an inspiration, a mentor, and most importantly, a world I like to lose myself in whenever I feel lost…

Plot And Characters

So, this one basically revolves around the lives of Margaret (Meg), Josephine (Jo), Elizabeth (Beth), and Amy; Laurie, aka Theodore Laurence, their friend and next-door neighbour; and Mr. and March, along with senior Mr. Laurence. Raised in poverty, albeit with loving care by their mother, Marmee,” as they address her, in a quaint and quiet Massachusetts town, their father, Mr. March, is away, serving in the American Civil War as an army chaplain. Oh, and there is also Mr. Brooke, aka John Brooke, Laurie’s tutor, and many other characters, such as Sally and Hannah, the housekeeper.

Coming to the plot, well, simple yet relatable, this one recounts the daily struggles and wanderings of the 4 sisters, their pursuits in the journey of life, growing up, and also their trysts when life throws them curveballs.

Character Sketches

So, I wanted you to take a moment and be with me and understand what it is that has hooked me to the March girls for more than 25 years now (ah, don’t you dare ask me my age, peeps). Sweet, dutiful, compassionate Meg is the one who iconizes what women usually depict, for me-motherly and caregiving, yet yearning in a manner of sorts, trying to live their dreams, fulfilling their aspirations, quietly yet cautiously.

Jo, ah, now that could be a discussion, guys. Strong-headed, resolute, and super resilient, officially the man of the house in Mr. March’s absence, sweet and free-spirited Jo has been one of my absolute favourites in life for a reason-the lady is much more than just a tomboy. Caregiving and dependable, she is what I would call a figure I would love to fall back upon in times of distress and difficult circumstances at home. A sweet yet strongly dependable character, she is what I call the life of the house, the zest and zing of the March family.

Then, there is Beth, aka Elizabeth, the nursing mini-mom and caregiver of the family. She is such a timid and sweet little thing, I fear that she is like this whiff of sweet smoke, disappearing amidst turbulence (and disappear she does, spoiler alert! in book two, albeit). With a fondness for very limited things in life, including playing the piano, it is therefore surprising when she develops such a close friendship and bonding with Mr Laurence, who, although ferocious and strong in appearance to the rest of the world, is somehow meek as a lamb, fondly petting her, always akin to the ‘little girl he lost many years ago’. It was a heartwarming thing to see the two bond over music.

And then there is Amy, vivacious, full of life, yearning for so much, yet so mature even though she is so young. True, a person who was shown as immature and silly initially (forgive my audacity of calling her that), but rising like a phoenix, Amy matures faster than one can comprehend, becoming the shining armour of the family from a shorn sheep.

My Musings

A life-changing experience, the journey of Little Women is much more than a book. Life-altering morals, teachings to inspire and educate the most mundane of us, nobility, resilience, and forgiveness—there is so much to learn layered between the pages, hidden amidst the episodes in their stories.

Be it the instance when they learn to sacrifice, sharing their Christmas morning breakfast with the family of Hummels, Meg going to the Moffats and learning a few home truths about true happiness in life apart from rich dresses and living in finery, Amy and Jo fighting and then bonding over their strengths and weaknesses, Jo curbing and letting her temper and anger wash over in a mature way, learning to “grow up” amidst all odds, and most importantly, the girls learning to fight and rise above all in life, in spite of countless difficulties, this is an endless treasure trove, the likes of which you shall seldom find in many pieces of contemporary English literature.

Final Thoughts

I am absolutely adamant when I say today that this is not just a piece of great fiction; it is a life-changing narrative one ought to read anyhow, especially in the growing years, to decode and understand life and its multi-layered facets. Yes, many times there is so much to learn, and yet there are seldom things in life that teach you so much in such a short space of time. Having grown up alongside the girls,” as I like to call them, there surely is a Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy in all of us, at some point in life, and it is upon us to either redeem ourselves suitably in the situation, rising against all curves, or fall flat, short of expectations, choosing nothing but less than what I call the larger picture. More than a piece of storytelling, Louisa gives us what I fondly refer to as a piece of candid life, being lived to the fullest, by the girls,” teaching us nothing but a way to achieve a happy, contented life.

So, I hope you guys liked my book review of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul for the best in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, food, fun, finance, fashion, travel, tech, and gadgets, as well as all things bookish.

Adios Amigos!  

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