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Book Review: Little Women

I don’t know what was keeping me from reading Little Women all of these years. The 1994 film is one of my top three favorite movies. Maybe I felt I knew the story enough and the book wouldn’t be interesting? I was totally wrong.

Last spring I was in the Boston area and dragged my two little kids to Orchard House. If you don’t know what this place is it is where Louisa May Alcott, (author of Little Women) lived as well as where she wrote this book. I was completely smitten by the artifacts, inspiration and charm of this place. I bought a copy of Little Women from the little gift shop with hopes of reading it soon. Weeks turned into months and before long my cute copy of Little Women just sat on the shelf. I finally received the motivation to read it a month ago and finished it last night.

I laughed. I cried. I smiled. I cringed at awkward moments. As cheesy as it sounds this book totally thrilled my soul. I grew to love the March sisters and Marmee. The relationship that this family has and how they extend their love to all around them including their very wealthy next door neighbors is inspiring. There isn’t anyone too rich or too poor for them to be affiliated with. There are four sisters in this tale: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Just because they are sisters doesn’t mean they are really similar or even get along well all the time. In fact, they are a typical family of girls. They fight, hold grudges, forgive, craft, romanticize, gossip and work. They find ways to entertain themselves individually and collectively during the bitter Massachusetts winters. There are aspects of each sister that the reader can identify with. Whether it is Meg’s longing for a more radiant ball gown, Jo’s hatred for wearing skirts, Beth’s desire to do good or Amy’s love for art and travel. I found it hard to choose a favorite sister because they are all so fascinating.

We can’t forget Marmee. I learned so much about parenting from her. She allows her daughters freedom but graciously teaches them at the right moments. She expects them to contribute to society but doesn’t tell them how. She celebrates their strengths and helps them work on their weaknesses without making them feel weak. She creates a luxurious home without any worldly luxuries. Her advice is wanted and lasting.

I also come from a family of four sisters. We all have our differences but I’m sure that just like the March sisters there isn’t another group of women we would rather spend our time with.

I truly loved this book and hope you do too.

P.S. Is it too late to have my kids start calling me Marmee?

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