By Anne Boyd Rioux
W. W. Norton & Company, 2018. 273 pages. Nonfiction
Since it was published, Little Women has been a phenomena. It has come to be the standard for American writing about girls and women, just like Huckleberry Finn is the standard for American writing about boys and men. It has never been out of print. In this book Rioux explores the backstory behind the book, Louisa May Alcott’s family life, her experiences that built the book over time. Rioux also explores how this book set in the 1860’s still resonates with modern audiences, modern writers, and continues to inspires girls and women to become writers.
Jo March has always been one of my heroes, so this book was a joy to read. I loved how Rioux went through the history behind the book but didn’t get bogged down in it. She did some really fascinating analysis of the plays and movies that are based on the book, talking about how it is difficult for adult women to portray the childlike qualities of the March girls while also portraying their iron wills and their strength. This was a really fun, quick read about one of my favorite books.