Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy

The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Large Print - 2018
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Published on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America's favorite novels. Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. She examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women. Alcott's portrayal of family resilience and her honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women has influenced readers-- and writers-- for over a century. -- adapted from jacket.
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Michigan : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, ©2018.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781432857479
Characteristics: 469 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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JessicaGma Mar 13, 2019

A friend posted an article about this book written by the author and I found it really interesting as I had essentially rejected my reading of Little Women. That makes me a fool, as the book definitely has FAR more merit than say Wuthering Heights. I learned a great deal about Alcott and her family, but also about the book, and it's telling that the book is no longer taught in schools as it has been massively gendered as a girl's book, and therefore junk. I forgot about a lot of the nuances of the book and characters, and this book biography reminded me of much that I had missed. It is definitely worth picking up and I will be offering it over and over as a classic when asked for good reads.

Nov 29, 2018

Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" is 150 years old, and its status as both an American classic and a pop culture touchstone (There's a new film version in the works.) is as secure as it has ever been. In University of New Orleans professor Anne Boyd Rioux's book, she deftly and vividly traces Alcott's biography, the writing of the book, the book's critical legacy, and how it became one of the most famous books in the American canon. She breaks it up into three sections: "The Making of a Classic," "The Life of a Classic," and "A Classic For Today" and, even if you're not a fan of the book (I just read it last year.), this will appeal to any intelligent reader.

debwalker Sep 21, 2018

Why does Little Women still resonate? Last read it when I was about 12 - time for a re-read!

Aug 30, 2018

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy might be considered a biography of both Louisa May Alcott, and the novel she wrote, though significantly more of the book is dedicated to the latter. Whereas the early part of the books draws heavily on existing biographical work about Alcott, the later chapters incorporate more of Rioux’s own exploration and analysis of the work and its legacy. There are chapters dedicated to examining the various editions the book went through, and how the different illustrators have put their mark on, and changed perceptions of, the book over time. I found this section particularly interesting given that the edition of the book I am most familiar with has a cover image, but no interior illustrations whatsoever. Rioux also analyzes the choices made in the various adaptations—including a 1933 version starring Katherine Hepburn as Jo, a 1949 version with June Allyson, and the 1994 film starring Winona Ryder that is best known to my own generation—and the role media played in keeping Little Women alive in the public imagination. This certainly rings true to how the book initially came into my own life; the box set I first read was published simultaneously with the 1994 film adaptation, with an introduction by Anna Quindlen. Rioux notes that the early film versions were heavily driven by romance, despite the significant emphasis placed on familial relationships in the book, but does not delve further into how romance tends to be feminized and devalued.

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Thank you to the publisher for providing an early review copy of this book


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Aug 30, 2018

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott published Little Women, a work for girls that had been requested by her publisher. It was not the kind of thing Alcott usually wrote, but she had compelling financial considerations in supporting her parents and siblings that prompted her to take the leap. The result would be a best-selling novel first published in two parts, but known in America today as a single story, which has remained alive through the generations, adapted into stage plays, radio dramas, films, and television mini-series. 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the novel, and in Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, University of New Orleans professor Anne Boyd Rioux examines the legacy of the novel in the American canon and popular culture, arguing that while the novel has a special place in readers’ hearts, its acknowledgement as a significant work of American literature has been circumscribed by sexism in a society that continues to devalue women writers, young female readers, and especially works that center their experiences.


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Aug 30, 2018

Alcott’s novel is not what it at first appears to be. What seems like a tale from a simpler time turns out to be the product of a difficult and sometimes troubled life. What appears to be a sweet, light story of four girls growing up is also very much about how hard it was (and is) to come of age in a culture that prizes a woman’s appearance over her substance.

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