Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains aspecial place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realisticstories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human naturemake the romance, humor and sweet stories of "Little Women" come alive. The four March girls -- practical Meg, rambunctious Jo, sweet Bethand childish artist Amy -- live in genteel poverty with their motherMarmee; their father is away in the Civil War. Despite having littlemoney, the girls keep their spirits up with writing, gardening,homemade plays, and the occasional romp with wealthier pals. Their pal,"poor little rich boy" Laurie, joins in and becomes their adoptivebrother, as the girls deal with Meg's first romance, Beth'slife-threatening illness, and fears for their father's safety. The second half of the book opens with Meg's wedding (if not to theman of her dreams, then to the man she loves). Things rapidly go awryafter the wedding, when Laurie admits his true feelings to Jo -- onlyto be rejected. Distraught, he leaves; Amy also leaves on a trip toEurope with a picky old relative. Despite the deterioration of Beth'shealth, Jo makes her way into a job as a governess, seeking to put hertreasured writing into print -- and finds her destiny as well.