My book group decided to read Little Women in December, and we’ll go together to see the movie on January 6. We’re all in our 60’s and 70’s , so the book is familiar and dear in so many ways. A couple people still had the editions they read when they were young girls. I couldn’t find mine, so I bought a 150th anniversary edition in paperback. I highly recommend it. It has an excellent forward by the singer Patti Smith about the importance of this book in her own maturing. It has excellent notes and comments, and a very helpful glossary to get you through Alcott’s late 19th century turns of phrase and word uses.
We all agreed that this is wonderful book. It never diminishes its beloved characters as “just girls” or thinks them unusual in their pursuits. We all had our identifier – Jo is mine – and each of us could well describe why that character gave us particular hope and courage when we were young. We were, on this reading, completely impressed with the way Alcott described the cultural and relational challenges of the time. And we agreed that not having everything work as perfectly as we might wish is exactly the perfect thing to do. This is a novel is about real people in real situations.
Do read Little Women for the first or the tenth time. See the movie – I understand it’s perfect in every regard.
Here is the edition I recommend. It was published in 2012 by Penguin Random House.