Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Little Women by Louisa May Olcott

The penultimate book for my classics challenge is 'Little Women'. A funny incident made me select this book. I was watching an episode of the popular TV series 'Friends' where Rachael asks Joey to read a classic named 'Little Women'. Joey immediately springs up with the question ' Rach, how little were they" .
Jokes apart, when I picked this book , the first thing that struck me was its size -it was nearly the size of my pillow ...infact thicker. After reading 'Animal Farm' just a few weeks earlier which hardly spanned to 100 pages, this book was my 'Everest'. However reading a classic is always wonderful no matter how long it takes and so I went ahead with it.
The book clearly stands for all that Louisa Alcott was - a feminist , an abolitionist and a bread winner for the family .The book is set in the American Civil war period and revolves around the lives of four young sisters and the triumphs and hardships faced by them. The book is so simple , refreshing and a delight to read. The first few chapters of the book characterizes the March sisters (namely Meg,Jo, Beth and Amy) to perfection that you would feel like you've known them forever.
The central theme of this book is the importance of family in a person's life. In every other page the author would have stressed the need of family and the comfort that a family brings to you. In this book , the March sisters are portrayed to be truly altruistic beings. They are so selfless that they are willing to sacrifice anythin for their parents'or sibling's happiness.
The book begins when the girls are barely in their teens and are brought up by their caring,practical and strong willed mom. The story unfurls into how each of them go their different ways, pursue the profession they want and ultimately find the man of their dreams.However the setting is not always merry and jubilant. The girls are made to face testing times with their dad hurt in the war , with a sibling in her death bed and poverty. However through all this they find comfort and support in each other.
This book is one of the best classics i have read. Louisa wrote this book for 'girls' based on the experiences of her childhood. It might not be very romantic or flowery as other classics , however it carries a strong theme that makes it worthwhile.


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