I'm glad to find that other reviewers of this fabulous book were as impressed as I was with the ludicrous statement that "9-12" is the proper reading age for An Old Fashioned Girl! Being quite a bit older than twelve myself, and having just read An Old Fashioned Girl for the first time, I was a bit put out by that. . .
I've loved Louisa May Alcott's books since I first read Little Women at age eight. As I delved into all of them- Jo's Boys, Little Men, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Jack in Jill, Under the Lilacs, etc., and then more recently her short story "thrillers", The Inheritance, and A Long Fatal Love Chase, I have had a nearly insatiable desire for "More, more"! Imagine my surprise when I was told that Louisa HAD written another book which didn't appear on my bookshelf! I searched high and low for An Old Fashioned Girl, and discovered that none of my local bookstores (including Border's and Barnes and Noble) carried it. Hightailing my way to Amazon, it brought me great joy to find the book and order it right away!
From the moment I began to read, I knew I should love the story. Even Polly's "goodness" drew me in, contrary to previous experiences. I generally shy away from characters who are Elsie-Dinsmorish and act like "goodey-two-shoes", but Polly Milton is sketched so well that her goodness spurs me onto greater goodness, and leaves me feeling that striving to better myself is always a good thing. I loved how Polly stood up to her morals and values and would not allow herself to be swayed by more "fashionable" people. What a wonderful example she set for me-- years later, in amazingly similar circumstances.
Being a "city girl" myself, I could often emphathize more with Fanny than with Polly, yet I also WANTED to be like Polly. To make the world a better and brighter place just by living and loving in it-- what an aspiration!
The story is charming, bringing one through a range of emotions. I laughed, cried, and became so intensely involved with the characters that I snuck away to a back room during a party on New Year's Eve 2000, just so that I could finish the last few pages (I KNEW Tom was about to propose!)!
As someone who is a sucker for a good romance, I was not disappointed by the love story of this book. Tom was both bad enough and good enough to make me fall head over heels in love with him, too! I know from past effort that it's hard to create a man who appeals to both the wicked side of girls, as well as the side that screams for a "Knight in Shining Armor".
But she did it! Louisa May Alcott did it again- a fabulous book to read at any age, over and over again!