Little Women follows the four March sisters, in a coming of age story written and set in the mid 1800s. It begins when Meg – pretty and envious of girls with luxurious things – is 16, Jo – boyish and creative – is 15, Beth – shy and caring – is 13, and Amy – vain and self-centred – is 12, and the family is poor, their father away fighting in the war. We learn about their adventures with their friend Laurie, and their attempts to improve their various flaws as they grow into women. The second part of the novel follows the girls when they are in their twenties, and we see the different paths they have gone down. This was my third time reading this wonderful novel; it is one of my all-time favourite books, and I especially love rereading it around this time of year!
This book is an honest representation of flawed women, which I love. The four sisters all have believable, and relatable, aspects of their characters that they struggle with. Each time I have read this book I have enjoyed following a different sister’s story-line the most, which I find really interesting. This time I particularly enjoyed following Meg’s progression. Meg is kind and gentle, but she also is proud, and her fondness of luxury often causes her to lose sight of more important things which she possesses. Throughout reading the novel I really felt that I knew all the girls extremely well, and I cared about them as if I were a March sister myself.
The sisters are constantly striving to improve themselves throughout the novel, along with the help of their mother, who consistently encourages them to be their best selves. She is often explaining or demonstrating to them the value of being genuine, respectful and hardworking, and the value of love over monetary wealth. This causes the novel to be a moralising one; the lessons embedded in the story are poignant and timeless.
As well as being full of lessons, this novel is extremely entertaining. In the first part of the novel we learn about all the games the girls and Laurie play, the performances of Jo’s plays they put on, and the various societies they form. Laurie is by far my one of my favourite characters; he is comical, goodhearted and fun. As the girls grow up there are also story-lines of romance and grief, and there are a few big surprises, too.
This is a brilliant novel that will make you smile and laugh and cry and sigh. You will be truly invested in the March sisters’ lives, thoroughly enjoy following the characters along their journeys, and you will be willing it not to end.