Little Women is a touching story about the lives of four young sisters in Victorian-Era America. The father of these young ladies has gone off to war, and they miss him dearly, so they try again and again to make their father proud of what he calls his “little women.” The sisters are taken care of by their amazingly wise mother and a servant named Hannah, whom all members of the family consider to be much more a friend than a servant. They are also carefully watched over by their dear old neighbor, Mr. Laurence, and his teenage grandson, Theodore, also known as Laurie.
The girls live in poverty, and miss the days when their family had money to do whatever they pleased. They often long and pine for the material possessions they wish they had. Throughout the book, however, the sisters learn that the riches they have in family and friends, love and laughter, far exceed the lack of money. They make games for themselves to spend the time, and to try and make “being good” easier to endure.
Any girl reading this book will relate to one of the sisters quite easily! Meg is the oldest of the four. She is described as quite pretty, and longs the most for pretty, expensive things, but is shown time and time again that riches certainly do not equal happiness. Jo is the next eldest. A tomboy at heart, Jo deeply regrets not having been born a boy, and wishes dearly to be off in the war with her father. She loves writing and does incredibly well. Beth is next. A quiet, mousy girl, Beth is the pet of the family. She dearly loves music, and it brings her an incredible amount of joy. Beth lives to please and take care of her family, and rarely complains about anything. Amy is the youngest of the sisters. Her biggest trial is being poor and having to go to school and long for the pretty dresses and things that her schoolmates have. As a child, she is quite vain and affected, but grows up with good influences and becomes a lovely young woman, with a deep passion for art.
Little Women is without a doubt one of the best-written American classics. Even girls in today’s society will relate to, laugh at, cry with the trials and triumphs of these young sisters. The book is rich with important life lessons, well hidden in the story line so as not to come across as “preachy,” so it proves to be a very effective teacher for young readers and an often-needed reminder for older readers. A wonderful book for anyone in search of a good, worthwhile read!