Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

Little Men by Louisa May Alcott is the book I most recently finished. I read this in the course of over a month, but if I had read it more frequently, I would have finished it sooner. It is the book between Little Women and Jo’s Boys in the Jo March trilogy.

Jo March has started her school, taking in boys and girls of all different backgrounds to teach them and love them. Similar to Jo’s Boys, there are quite a few different characters, and plot lines, because Alcott basically writes a summary of what happened at Plumfield over the course of six months. I won’t get into much of the story, but if you like Alcott’s work, this would be a good book to read since it has a lot of beloved characters in it.

Alcott’s style can be slightly confusing. It is definitely not modern; therefore, it might be necessary to reread sentences multiple times to understand who is speaking, or what the meaning of the sentence is.

Overall, I’d suggest this book to anybody who really likes Little Women. It’s definitely not as good as Little Women, but it continues the story of our beloved March (and Lawrence, and Bhaer, and Brooke) family.

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I’ve got exciting news! I finally read the full version of Little Women! I started it on Wednesday the 13th and finished it in the course of a little over a week (my reading time was only about 2-2 1/2 days because I didn’t read every single day and some days I read for hours and hours and others for really small amounts of time). It can be a pretty easy/quick read if you have the time, patience, and can speed read. Some parts are easier to get through than others (because some parts are duller and easy to pay less attention to) but it was extremely good. This post will contain spoilers. 

Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott. I know Jo is supposed to be the main character (right?), but I feel like each March sister has their own moments, and has their own amount of changes throughout the novel. Little Women is a story about life. We see our beloved characters grow up and become women over the course of about ten years.

The March Sisters:

Meg is the eldest March sister and is about sixteen in the novel’s opening. She desires wealth, beauty, and rich things.

Josephine (Jo) is fifteen in the beginning and is very headstrong, bold, and tomboyish. She eventually wants to be a writer.

Beth is thirteen at the start and is extremely timid, quiet, and sweet. She is the musician. When I was little, Beth was my favorite.

Amy is identified as twelve in the first part of the story. She is the artist of the family and loves to be proper. She really dislikes her nose.

The Other Important Characters: 

Theodore Lawrence (Laurie/Teddy) is Jo’s best friend, Amy’s future husband,  and neighbor of the March family.

Marmee is the loving and kind mother of the “little women.”

Mr. Lawrence is Laurie’s grandfather and is extremely sweet. He and Beth have a special connection.

Mr. John Brooke is Meg’s future husband.

Mr. March is the father of the “little women.” He is at war for some of the novel.

Aunt March is the cranky old aunt of the March family. She does have a good side, and eventually leaves Plumfield to Jo when she passes.

Professor  Friedrich Bhaer is Jo’s future husband. He is German and a sweetheart.

As written above, this is a story about life.  Little Women is frozen in time. It was written long ago, and yet we still read it. But why? Louisa May Alcott’s characters are real. They are not over the top, Lord of the Rings characters. The struggles and hardships the March family faces are not overly absurd. They could happen to any one of us. Any knights in shining armor happen in the imaginations and stories of the characters. The characters all have flaws. Jo is way too headstrong and outspoken. Beth is overly shy. Amy is selfish. Meg isn’t content. This novel is very enjoyable. It is loved by all different ages, and will be loved into the future. Definitely a must-read for every book lover!

Jo’s Boys (Louisa May Alcott)

Jo’s Boys is the third and last novel about the March Family (and special friends). It was written by the well known author Louisa May Alcott. It is a pretty clean novel, but I would not necessarily suggest it for a younger child (more on this below).

 

Before getting into the details, I need to explain something. Though this book was pretty good, I was confused at times. The biggest reason for this is that when I read this book, I had never read the full version of Little Women or Little Men. I read an adapted version of Little Women (which doesn’t cover the entire plot line), and I saw the musical twice (which is, by the way, a fantastic musical). That was sufficient to understand the novel partially, but I have never read Little Men, which was where I had the most trouble. I might have read a summary of the novel, but whether I did or not doesn’t change the fact that Little Men is fairly essential to understanding Jo’s Boys. The reason is that Jo’s Boys covers the stories of some children first introduced in Little Men. Jo’s Boys has so many random characters that it’s hard to keep track of who is related to who.  For instance, there are a bunch of young men and women: Josie, Daisy, Demi, Rob, Teddy/Ted, Rob, Dora, Mary, Emil, Dan, Nan, Tom, etc. Although not all of them are first introduced in Little Men, it is much easier to save yourself the confusion by 1) reading the books before 2) reading a summary.

 

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS* 

Plot: The story centers around Plumfield once again. Its characters include: Jo March Bhaer (main character), Professor Bhaer (Jo’s husband), Meg March Brook, Amy March Lawrence, Theodore “Lawrie” Lawrence, and many more. There are a lot of different mini plot lines within the whole novel, and it would take decades (ok that’s not entirely true) to get through each story individually, so I will just cover some main elements.

Points worth mentioning:

  1.  There are a lot of romances, which are pretty clean and charming.
  2. There are a few moments which are perilous for the characters, but it all seems to turn out okay.
  3. A character murders someone (I think it was manslaughter and maybe self defense).
  4. A boy who isn’t particularly righteous has a crush on a girl very much out of his league, but nothing really happens except a talk about it, he has her picture, and it was decided it is harmless for him to like her (he doesn’t do anything to her. She is fine).
  5. Characters don’t always make the right choices, but most (if not all) repent.

 

 

Like I said, it is a book with half a million mini plot lines, so it would be hard to cover each and every little thing. I’d steer clear of it for younger readers, unless an adult reads it to them or those elements don’t bother their parents. It is a good book overall, though not as good as Little Women.

 

Update: After reading Little Men (second in series), the third book makes a lot more sense. I want to reread Jo’s Boys someday when I can fully appreciate the characters. What is weird is that Dan loves Bess, and Dan is probably close to 10-12 years older than her. I guess sometimes boys like girls way younger than they are, but Bess is very young when they first meet. Also, Dan’s friendship with Ted (Jo’s son) starts at a very young age.