Little Women – Louis M. Alcott

Written in the 1860s, Little Women has become a classic, studied in schools all over the world (so I am led to believe – I never studied it).

I found an old copy in an op shop, and because of the scene below from FRIENDS, I wanted to read it!

When I got to the end, I was confused – because Beth hadn’t died! Turns out, this book was written in 2 parts but is often printed together these days. Just not the one I read apparently.

Okay! In a nutshell:

Mrs. March tells the following story, which basically sums it up for us –

Once upon a time there were four girls, who had enough to eat, and drink, and wear, kind friends and parents, who loved them dearly, and yet they were not contented… These girls were anxious to be good, and made many resolutions, but somehow they did not keep them very well, and were constantly saying, ‘If only we had this’, or, ‘If we could only do that, forgetting how much they already had; so they asked an old woman what spells they could use to make them happy, and she said, ‘When you feel discontented, think over your blessings, and be grateful.’

They decided to try her advice, and were surprised to see how well off they were. One discovered that money couldn’t keep shame and sorrow out of rich people’s houses; another, that, though she was poor, she was a great deal happier with her youth and good spirits than a certain fretful old lady, who couldn’t enjoy her comforts; a third, that, disagreeable as it was to help get dinner, it was harder still to have to go begging for it; and the fourth, that even carnelian rings were not so valuable as good behaviour. So they agreed to stop complaining, to enjoy the blessings already possessed, and try to deserve them, lest they should be taken away entirely, instead of increased.

Four young girls Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy grow up in a family that once was well off but now is rather poor. Each has their own characteristic flaws and trials that they must overcome to realise that they are very lucky and happy indeed – despite what lovely things they don’t have.

This book was written for young girls, encouraging good morals and behaviour. The morals are very cheesily stressed throughout.

One of those very easy to read books that you can tear through quickly and enjoy, as nothing all too terrible happens. As long as you don’t read the second part, where Beth dies!

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