Welcome to the Reading Buddies discussion for Little Women by Louisa May Alcott! If you’re interested, check out the Goodreads discussion thread for the book. I’ll be away a lot this month but will try to check in now and then! Also please be sure to vote for the book you’d like to read in October using the poll over in the sidebar.
There may be spoilers here, so if you haven’t read this particular classic, you might want to be careful.
I’m not sure how I made it so far in life without reading Little Women. I have owned a nice hardcover copy for as long as I can remember. I must have read the first few chapters as a kid, because I remember bits of what happened in them, and I came into the book with a vague sense of the characters. And perhaps I saw a movie adaptation, or part of one, as events here and there ring a very faint bell. But overall, it’s new material for me.
I’m listening to the audio version narrated by Kate Reading, who is doing a lovely job, except for the fact that she pitches Jo’s voice so low I can’t tell her from Laurie. I’ve just finished Part 1. (I didn’t even realize it had parts!) My feelings about Little Women so far are mostly positive. I’m enjoying the story. I love all the societies and games the sisters make up, like the Pickwick Club and the Busy Bee Society. It’s also set during one of my favorite periods of history, one I’ve always enjoyed learning and reading about. But all the not-so-subtle morals are driving me ever so slightly nuts, and I much prefer the chapters that don’t end with some sort of lesson. I’m still undecided as to whether the explanations of what each sister in turn does or says or feels in a particular situation is a nice way to develop characters or a bit unnecessary. I think these few mild criticisms may have much to do with the fact that I am an older reader than those for whom the book was written.
I’ve heard people say they think Little Women goes over better when you’re younger, and that if you loved it as a child, you’ll keep loving it as an adult, but that if you come to it as an adult, you may not like it as much. I am 100% sure I would have adored Alcott’s classic had I read it as a child. I definitely don’t dislike it now, though, even though I can tell it’s a bit young. On a related note, it’s funny, I definitely remember the girls seeming older to me, probably because I was so much younger when I was first exposed to them. I can’t believe Meg and Laurie are only 16 when the novel begins — that’s so young!
There are a couple of big events I seem to recall happening that have not yet occurred, or that have almost happened and then didn’t, for which I am waiting. I won’t say more in case others don’t know of them!
How are you liking Little Women so far? Did you read it as a child?