Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy is a well-written and lively book about the writing and publication of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Millions of people all over the world have read the iconic and much-loved classic, and the recent PBS adaptation showed how much this story of four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War still resonates with readers today.
Professor Anne Boyd Rioux introduces readers to the events surrounding the writing and publication of Little Women, relates the strange history of Alcott’s family and how it shaped the novel, dissects the disagreement among scholars whether this is a groundbreaking feminist text or a domestic novel for children and gives her opinion on why it still captures the hearts of so many readers today. One of the most interesting chapters is about how Little Women has influenced contemporary culture through TV shows like Girls and Gilmore Girls. Sometimes I find examinations of my favorite books to be disappointing or dry, but Professor Rioux has written a fabulous exploration and celebration of the beloved Little Women. If you are a fan of the novel you must read this, but even nonfans will enjoy it - and probably race to read Little Women after finishing. - Anbolyn (Sunset)