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Little Women (Norton Critical Editions) Paperback – December 5, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0393976144 ISBN-10: 0393976149

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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Critical Editions
  • Paperback: 665 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (December 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393976149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393976144
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gregory Eiselein is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in English, where he teaches American Literature. He is the author of Literature and Humanitarian Reform in the Civil War Era and editor of Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems and Other Writings and Adah Isaacs Menken: Infelicia and Other Writings. With Anne K. Phillips, he coedited The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia.

Anne K. Phillips is Associate Professor of English at Kansas State University where she teaches Children’s Literature and American Literature. She is coauthor of Resources for Teaching the Bedford Introduction to Literature and coeditor of the annual Children’s Literature 21. With Gregory Eiselein, she coedited The Louisa May Alcott Encyclopedia.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I first read Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" the summer between 4th and 5th grades. I was absolutely riveted by the story and characters and clearly remember sitting on the porch steps, my nose in the book. I cried when I reached the conclusion, because I was afraid that I had just read the best book in the world, and that I would never find anything else as good. The local librarian convinced me otherwise. I cannot recommend this novel highly enough - for people of all ages. It will always have a special place in my heart.

Ms. Alcott writes about four young women, living in New England, during a period of much strife in America - the Civil War. They are self sufficient, creative and well educated, and each chooses a different life path, traditional and non. Considering the period when the book was written, the author's views on opportunities open to females, restricted though they were by society, is refreshing and liberating. Of course, this was not my focus as a nine year-old. The novel is long, but that never bothered me as a young girl, or much later when I reread it. I didn't want the story to end, actually.

Sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March and their beloved Marmee, (who offers her daughters guidance, comfort and unconditional love), learn to live in genteel poverty while their father, a doctor, is away treating wounded soldiers. This beautifully written classic, chronicles the girls' adolescence through womanhood, with all their trial, tribulations, and joys.

Much of the novel focuses on Jo, the second daughter, and a gifted writer. She is very much a tomboy, and an avid reader who writes plays which the girls act-out with delight and exuberance.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains a special place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realistic stories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human nature make the romance, humor and sweet stories of "Little Women" come alive.

The four March girls -- practical Meg, rambunctious Jo, sweet Beth and childish artist Amy -- live in genteel poverty with their mother Marmee; their father is away in the Civil War. Despite having little money, the girls keep their spirits up with writing, gardening, homemade plays, and the occasional romp with wealthier pals. Their pal, "poor little rich boy" Laurie, joins in and becomes their adoptive brother, as the girls deal with Meg's first romance, Beth's life-threatening illness, and fears for their father's safety.

The second half of the book opens with Meg's wedding (if not to the man of her dreams, then to the man she loves). Things rapidly go awry after the wedding, when Laurie admits his true feelings to Jo -- only to be rejected. Distraught, he leaves; Amy also leaves on a trip to Europe with a picky old relative. Despite the deterioration of Beth's health, Jo makes her way into a job as a governess, seeking to put her treasured writing into print -- and finds her destiny as well.

There's a clearly autobiographical tone to "Little Women." Not surprising -- the March girls really are like the girls next door. Alcott wrote them with flaws and strengths, and their misadventures -- like Amy's embarrassing problem with her huge lobster -- have the feeling of authenticity. How much of it is real? A passage late in the book portrays Alcott -- in the form of Jo -- "scribbling" down the book itself, and getting it published because it feels so real and true.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The print is rather small, and some of the accompanying essays could have been edited to shorten them, but it is a good edition.
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By TillyMom on November 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Ahhhh! I can't believe I haven't read this book until now. In a way, though, I am glad to have waited so long. Glad to have waited until I became a mother.

This story is truly a treasure. One of my favorites now.

From afar, I had always believed it to be just a fluffy children's story. Alas, how wrong I was. The lessons, the morals, the relationships, the heartaches, the joys are all so relevant and true. I can say that this story was life-changing for me.

There are so many quotes and vignettes to be shared from Alcott's gem Little Women, but Marmee's exclamation and the proceeding narrative at the end of the book are of the most poignant, in my opinion:

"Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms, as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility--
'Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!'"
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maria C. on November 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good account of the lives of three teenage girls at the time of the Civil War, but it should be read by people the same age as the people in the story. It is not relevant to present-day life.
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