Thursday, January 28, 2016

Louisa May Alcott and Little Women

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
edited by Daniel Shealy

This review is for the annotated edition edited by Daniel Shealy. This massive book contains marginalia and beautiful photos and illustrations. In between these two covers is everything you ever need to know about Little Women. I didn't think I could possibly learn anything new, being a Louisa May Alcott devotee almost my whole life. I've read this book numerous times but I still had a lot to learn. Not only will you find out details about the writing of the novel, the life of the author, Louisa's idealistic views on marriage and the origins of popular words and phrases. You will also learn that this was the first novel for young people to feature characters who spoke like real girls - that is, using slang and colloquial expressions. I think that's why the story resonates with people even today because the characters are all so realistic.

I especially liked the historic photos of Concord, a town I know well. I also appreciated learning the etymology of words and phrases I knew the meaning of but not the origin. My favorite part was the gorgeous illustrations by well-known illustrators. I now have a few more books on my Holy Grail of book collecting list. (I've seen the first edition set but can't afford it).

This book is a must-read for fans of the novel, the 19th century and my personal hero, Louisa May Alcott herself.

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