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4.5 out of 5 stars
Little Women (Oxford World's Classics)
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2003
Little Women by Louisa May Allcott
Little Women is a brilliant story set in America in the 1800s. Mr March has gone to war, leaving his penniless family at home: his wife, a caring and benovelent women who knows her daughters inside out, Meg, the eldest daughter who is mature and sensible of their situation, Jo, the daughter who longs to be a boy but trys her best to get along with everyone, Beth, quiet but beautiful and who makes the tiniest thing seem like a great excitement and Amy, the youngest, naughty but loveable.
This book takes us through the joy and sadness of a poor family and you are drawn in from the first page. It is very inspiring as well as emotional and it is a lovely story.
I think it is suitable for ages 8+ and it is a brilliant read for both children and adults, especially if you like books set in olden times. An essential book for every collection. I give it 5/5.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Having not read Little Women in many decades, I was drawn back to the book by my love of visiting the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. I plan to re-visit that wonderful home and want to refresh my recollections of Little Women before doing so. By the way, if you have a chance to visit Orchard House, I strongly recommend that you do. Your sense of Little Women will expand.

As I re-read these delightful pages, I found myself comparing Little Women to Pride and Prejudice, that outstanding work that captures human psychology so well. The comparison made me see new depths in Little Women that convince me that Little Women is by far the stronger work.

But my biggest reaction was how modern the views in the book are. Women should have education, access to opportunities to develop their interests and marriage to men who will complement them. People should be concerned about each other and help one another, lest any person's life be harmed or feelings hurt in the process.

I also noticed how complete a community of loving women can be within the same family.

The writing style is beautifully spare. The key point of a chapter may turn on two or three words. And then, everything changes in the twinkling of an eye.

Being a long book, Ms. Alcott has plenty of chances to develop her characters and she does so beautifully . . . allowing Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Laurie to grow and change as they age.

I also came to appreciate more the scope of the book, taking the young women from teenage years through the first few years of marriage. It's a time period that few books consider. Usually, it's all over when the marriage happens. I like this approach better.

Should you read Little Women? Does the sun rise in the East?

If you haven't read Little Women, you've missed great role models for how to be a parent, spouse and child.

Here's the story in a nutshell: During the Civil War, Mr. March is away serving as a chaplain in the Union army. Mrs. March (Marmee) and her four daughters are at home in the cold north making do on small income with the help of one servant, Hannah. As the story opens, the March family is facing a frugal Christmas. But events soon take an unexpected turn and their hearts are filled with gladness. Jo makes an unexpected and most humorous acquaintance of the Laurence boy (Theodore, known as Laurie) who lives next door with old Mr. Laurance, his grandfather. The two families draw upon one another for strength and friendships grow. Illness intercedes making the two families even more dependent on one another. One by one, the children move into adulthood, deal with their romantic feelings and form their alliances.

The characters of each child are quite different, allowing Ms. Alcott to explore the contrasts by putting them together in various private and social occasions. Meg is beautiful and much admired. She should attract many suitors. Jo is energetic, self-absorbed and talented in writing (the character closest to Ms. Alcott herself). Beth is very kind and yet fragile. Amy is the social climber in the family . . . and the pet. Laurie has an artistic temperament, but finds himself expected to play an heir's role.

You'll long remember with delight the stories of their thespian performances, games, dances and social visits. Although the book makes up a wonderfully detailed novel, the chapters are written almost as stand-alone short stories that pack a powerful punch in their modeling of good behavior.

What a joy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2002
'Little Women' is a touching story with a message - that money isn't everything. For the March girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, money isn't exactly in its plenty, with their father away, life can sometimes seem difficult. However, the girls seem to pull through anything, and even Amy, the youngest and most extravagent of the girls learns to cope with the hardships. With no male presence in the house, Jo sees it her duty to be the father figure, and her boyish nature and firey temper often clash with those of her older and more ladylike sister Meg. The peacekeeper of the family is Beth. She is gentle and quiet, she never has a cross word to say, and she just takes life as it comes.
In my opinion, 'Little Women' is an essential read for any girl. Its charm, sensitivity and sometimes light humour make it the sort of book you'll want to read again and again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2010
How wonderful to find this beautiful book. Downloaded the Kindle for Mac and found this! I remember reading a battered old copy of Little Women which belonged to my Grandma when I was a small child. Now I can sit and read on my Mac as the hubby and the kids run round my feet!! Bliss
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
As the father of a teenage daughter who was about to see the screen play based on this book, I am probably an atypical reader of "Little Women", but I enjoyed it none the less. "Little Women" tells the charming story of the March family as the girls grow over several years. Presenting an idealized view of life beginning in Civil War era New England, it gives a glimpse into the world of their class and time. Occasionally it is refreshing to read a book which is just plain enjoyable, without devious characters and subliminal agendas. This book is a delight, even for those who are not, and never were, Little Women.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Having not read Little Women in many decades, I was drawn back to the book by my love of visiting the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. I plan to re-visit that wonderful home and want to refresh my recollections of Little Women before doing so. By the way, if you have a chance to visit Orchard House, I strongly recommend that you do. Your sense of Little Women will expand.

As I re-read these delightful pages, I found myself comparing Little Women to Pride and Prejudice, that outstanding work that captures human psychology so well. The comparison made me see new depths in Little Women that convince me that Little Women is by far the stronger work.

But my biggest reaction was how modern the views in the book are. Women should have education, access to opportunities to develop their interests and marriage to men who will complement them. People should be concerned about each other and help one another, lest any person's life be harmed or feelings hurt in the process.

I also noticed how complete a community of loving women can be within the same family.

The writing style is beautifully spare. The key point of a chapter may turn on two or three words. And then, everything changes in the twinkling of an eye.

Being a long book, Ms. Alcott has plenty of chances to develop her characters and she does so beautifully . . . allowing Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy and Laurie to grow and change as they age.

I also came to appreciate more the scope of the book, taking the young women from teenage years through the first few years of marriage. It's a time period that few books consider. Usually, it's all over when the marriage happens. I like this approach better.

Should you read Little Women? Does the sun rise in the East?

If you haven't read Little Women, you've missed great role models for how to be a parent, spouse and child.

Here's the story in a nutshell: During the Civil War, Mr. March is away serving as a chaplain in the Union army. Mrs. March (Marmee) and her four daughters are at home in the cold north making do on small income with the help of one servant, Hannah. As the story opens, the March family is facing a frugal Christmas. But events soon take an unexpected turn and their hearts are filled with gladness. Jo makes an unexpected and most humorous acquaintance of the Laurence boy (Theodore, known as Laurie) who lives next door with old Mr. Laurance, his grandfather. The two families draw upon one another for strength and friendships grow. Illness intercedes making the two families even more dependent on one another. One by one, the children move into adulthood, deal with their romantic feelings and form their alliances.

The characters of each child are quite different, allowing Ms. Alcott to explore the contrasts by putting them together in various private and social occasions. Meg is beautiful and much admired. She should attract many suitors. Jo is energetic, self-absorbed and talented in writing (the character closest to Ms. Alcott herself). Beth is very kind and yet fragile. Amy is the social climber in the family . . . and the pet. Laurie has an artistic temperament, but finds himself expected to play an heir's role.

You'll long remember with delight the stories of their thespian performances, games, dances and social visits. Although the book makes up a wonderfully detailed novel, the chapters are written almost as stand-alone short stories that pack a powerful punch in their modeling of good behavior.

What a joy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2009
NEVER in my life have i ever enjoyed a novel as much as i enjoyed this one. This edition had both 'volumes' of Alcott's novel allowing me to continue the novel in one go. I could not put the novel down. Every single character is intoxicating, hilarious and unique and their relationships could capture even the most stone-hearted of people. I have recommended this book to every person i know.
The story is based around four sisters, each different in their personalities, however, they all have one thing in common - a love for each other. although they argue and banter like any other family, they have a bond like no other. they see each other through ups and downs. this book involves the reader so much that i felt like i was in their lives watching over them, feeling every emotion they felt.
THIS BOOK IS SIMPLY INCREDIBLE AND DESERVES TO BE CALLED ONE OF THE GREATEST CLASSICS OF ALL TIME.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2007
Little Women -----> A great representation of women of the 19th century, showing how important money and respectability seemed. The novel uses brilliant imagery and fun characters, who really lift your heart. The story focuses on a family, namely 4 grils: Meg, Amy, Beth and Jo, who had money, yet lost it and despite all soon realise that money is not everything, as the rich seem up able to enjoy themselves and are still unable to buy one thing - they cannot buy love.

The Language is hard at first, but once you get used to it the narrative soon comes alive and you find yourself unable to stop reading! The characters are truely superb, as your find yourself reflected in them all and become attached to each, wanting the best for them.

Love, Friendship and Ambition all roled into one. - Possibly one of the best novels you'll ever read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 September 2010
Having just purchased a kindle i was delighted to find one of my all time favourite classic novels "Little Women."
This beautiful story of four sisters growing up together in 19th century America still holds appeal today as i am sure anyone who has a sister can relate too. The four distinct personalities of the girls and their trials, tribulations and tragedy make for a story that both makes you laugh and cry. My one criticism is that the sequels, "Good Wives", "Little Men", and "Jo's Boys" are not available for download. Come on Amazon, let's have the rest of the series made available - please!

If your new to the world of Kindle i'd recommend you check out the popular classics section of the kindle store there are some amazing books awaiting you.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2009
I remembered this book from my own childhood so I bought it for my 9 year old daughter for Christmas. I spent some time choosing this edition and I'm glad I did because it is so pretty and quite modern and unstuffy. Some editions have an old style font which can be off-putting and a bit dense to read. This one is fresh and accessible. She has loved it and read it in a week and played it with her friends ever since.It's a real classic!
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