Little Women is the story of March girls – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and spans from their teens to adulthood, matrimony, and motherhood. Modeled after her family, Alcott weaves a charming story with a truthful and accurate account of human characters and human relationships. This realistic approach so sincerely done has captured the hearts of millions of readers across the globe and throughout centuries to become one of the most enduring classics.
These four sisters are very different from each other. But the sisterly love and the family bond, firmly instilled in their hearts by their wise and kind mother, makes them close and united. The girls are not perfect; they have their virtues as well as flaws. But the readers fall in love with them because they feel real. Their characters develop through the book and once carefree girls become responsible and dutiful “little women”. I first read this in my teens and loved Jo more than others. Her tomboyish ways resembled me and I found a comrade in her. But this time around, I can safely say that I learned to love them all, though a slight partially remains for Jo.
Although the story mainly revolves around the March girls, Little Women is not a “girlish” book. It is rather a “domestic” book full of morals and life lessons. The insightful advice which is thrown throughout really does benefit the reader of any age. Most of these things were overlooked in my first read, for I took it for a mere romance. But the depth of the book pleasantly surprised me this time around.
In all my love for March girls, I shouldn’t forget their “dashing young neighbour”, Laurie. This headstrong, quick-tempered, and moody boy added the much-needed male contrast to the dominating female characters. As was with the girls, the author takes care to develop Laurie’s character too from the willful boy to a patient and responsible young man.
In my first read, I was disappointed that Laurie and Jo were not as united as I hoped. But after this read, I feel Alcott did right by coupling Laurie with Amy and Jo with Professor Bhaer. Overall I believe Alcott matched the couples well taking in to consideration their vibrant personalities.
With its beautiful prose, charming story, realistic and compelling characters, Little Women is a complete work in itself. Even with my disappointment, I remember liking this book very much. However, this second read clearly showed what a rare piece of classic this book is; and I couldn’t help but fall in love with it deeply and dearly.