‘Little women' is a touching and heartwarming story of four young girls growing up in a small American town in the 19th century.
The gripping storyline and plot spun by Loulsa May Alcott, zero’s in on things that really matter in life.
Once upon a time…
As this classical sentimental life drama unfolds we are introduced to a closely-knit family with four daughters struggling to grow up during the civil war, without a father who is away fighting for his country.
The main characters consist of Mrs. March-the mother of the four girls, and her 'little women' namely-Amy who is the youngest pampered beauty; kind hearted Beth who is frail and sickly aged 13; Jo who is 15 years old and dreams of becoming a romantic writer. (It is through her eyes that the story unfolds and reflects the author's own ambitions to write.) Meg who is 16 is the eldest of the four.
In the first few pages we find Mrs. March struggling to bring up her daughters, as her husband fights in the civil war. Although alone, she inculcates the values of goodness and courage, giving and sharing.
Turning over a new leaf…
The story begins on a rather bleak Christmas. The girls resolve to live their lives as 'pilgrims' and to be 'good little women'
We are given insightful glances into the joys and disappointments of their day-to-day lives as each 'little woman' struggles to overcome her own personal weakness…
The oldest girl Meg resolves to enjoy herself more by worrying less about her looks. Jo who is the tomboy of the family is determined to control her temper instead of letting it control her. She is also determined to polish her writing skills and to be more feminine.
Amy, the beauty of the family, wants to overcome her vanity by not being obsessed by her physical appearance and good looks. Even the homely Beth, who everyone thought was perfect, had a resolution. She wanted to overcome her timidity and fear of people.
Over the next year we find each young lady struggling with her own weakness and the day-to-day trials of 'growing up.'
Going to the ball…
By the end of the year Meg is confident enough to go to her first New Year dance and finds someone nice to accompany her. Her escort is Theodore Lawrence-the boy next door. ‘Laurie’ as he is called, is an orphan- (also struggling to overcome his shyness)-who lives with his wealthy though grumpy grandfather next to the March household. In the March’s he finds a loving mother, a family and a lifelong friend.
The same year Meg discovers that her home life, though lacking in frills is far happier then a wealthy friend’s whose estate she visits
Amy continues to grow more beautiful but does so with more humility.
Jo's dream to be a famous author comes true when her romantic novel gets published.
Through all this action, Beth, (still struggling with her shyness)- acts like a warm hearth, comforting and giving love to all around her.
Following in her mother’s footsteps, she soon even takes the hard-up Hummel family under her wings from where tragedy struck.
JO makes a sacrifice…
However bad times soon hit them. A telegram announces their father’s serious illness and Mrs. March has to leave at once to take care of him. But how can she afford to travel? This brings us to one of the most touching parts of the story-Joe sacrifices her long flowing chestnut hair-her crowning glory-so that her mother can afford to make the journey to her father. The twenty-five dollars tearfully earned reunites ‘Marmie’ with her ailing husband.
Barely is that sorted out when another disaster strikes-Beth also falls gravely ill while taking care of the baby of the Hummel family-from whom she contacts scarlet fever. Although she recovers somewhat, she never recovers completely, becoming a ghost of her former self.
A Christmas present, sunshine & rain…
The girls are comforted when their father finally returns and the family is reunited at last.
Three years pass and Meg ged moves away. When ‘Laurie’Jo she refuses to marry him as she loves more like a brother and a friend and wants to pursue her writing career. But cupid has other plans and we soon find beautiful but disappointed Amy marrying Laurie when they meet during their travels in Europe.
Although Jo had sworn not to marry, her sister Beth’s tragic death had left a void of loneliness. It was soon filled by her tutor-an older and caring gentleman called professor Bhaer whom she marries and spends the rest of her life with; running a homely school for boys.
By the time the story ends the 'little women' have matured into fulfilled young ladies leading their own lives while still retaining their close family ties.
Louis May Alcott-the author of the book keeps the reader gripped by this simple yet compelling story about the small but important things in life. Almost autobiographic in content, it is an unforgettable book and a classic to remember.
Ideal for adolescents as well as adults who will both smile and cry through its pages. At a time when family values are breaking down and people have grown selfish and hard this is a book to awaken the heart and bring about a renaissance of family values and the meaning of sacrifice.