Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott

The Woman Behind Little Women

Book - 2009
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A vivid, energetic account of the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose work has delighted millions of readers

Louisa May Alcott portrays a writer as worthy of interest in her own right as her most famous character, Jo March, and addresses all aspects of Alcott's life: the effect of her father's self-indulgent utopian schemes; her family's chronic economic difficulties and frequent uprootings; her experience as a nurse in the Civil War; the loss of her health and frequent recourse to opiates in search of relief from migraines, insomnia, and symptomatic pain. Stories and details culled from Alcott's journals; her equally rich letters to family, friends, publishers, and admiring readers; and the correspondence, journals, and recollections of her family, friends, and famous contemporaries provide the basis for this lively account of the author's classic rags-to-riches tale.

Alcott would become the equivalent of a multimillionaire in her lifetime based on the astounding sales of her books, leaving contemporaries like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry James in the dust. This biography explores Alcott's life in the context of her works, all of which are to some extent autobiographical. A fresh, modern take on this remarkable and prolific writer, who secretly authored pulp fiction, harbored radical abolitionist views, and completed heroic service as a Civil War nurse, Louisa May Alcott is in the end also the story of how the all-time beloved American classic Little Women came to be. This revelatory portrait will present the popular author as she was and as she has never been seen before.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2009.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780805082999
0805082999
Branch Call Number: 813.4 ALCOTT L
Characteristics: xiv, 362 pages ; 25 cm.

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wmtlady
Apr 27, 2014

The author comments on her experience as a screen writer and researcher, both of which shine through this book. I believe the book would be more "readable" if she were also talented as a fiction or novel writer because the book reads as a dense compilation of notes from the various diaries and papers she researched.

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Bookwoman247
Aug 27, 2011

As is true for so many others, Louisa May Alcott and her alter-ego, Jo March, are icons of my childhood.

I already knew quite a bit about Louisa May Alcott but I still found this an informative biography.

Louisa seemed to resemble her counterpart, Jo March, even more than I'd expected. I was also surprised by how many details from the Alcott's real lives found their way into Little Women. Not surprisingly, it seems as if she wrote her life, but as she wished it to be.

I found some of the details from Louisa's mid-life or so a bit surprising. For instance, her romance with the real Laurie.

I find it terribly sad that this woman who as a girl could go into raptures over nature, or who was always the one to lead any kind of fun, who gave so much pleasure to others, and who worked so hard for everyone around her was never able to find her own happiness. She never really was able to enjoy her own success.

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