Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

My childhood was filled with Little Women. My mother adored the book and movie so we often watched the film whenever it came on TV. I knew the movie plot by heart but the size of the book, to me, was daunting. I tried to read it in fourth grade but gave up on it. My scrawny arms lugging around our thick, classic, hard copy was just too much and the language was a little too advance for my attention to grab.

So I picked the book up again years later and read it from start to end for the first time. It was exactly what I expected it to be, based on the various films I saw of it and my mother talking of the novel so much as I grew up, but I really loved having the book in my hand and developing imagery in my mind that wasn't exactly provided in the movies.

The fact that Little Women is, more or less, a retelling of Louisa May Alcott's life was fascinating to me. I have always found those who are able to write about their lives in a creative way that does not necessarily match true events that happened in real life to be really interesting, smart, and someone I'd love to be as a writer.

McNees' book takes a trip through a summer of our lovely Little Women author. We step behind the scenes of the book and into Louisa May Alcott's life. Now, this isn't a biography but a fictionalized version of it, yet still written with the attitude of being historical. This woman knows her stuff for this time period and gives the attention to detail. I felt like I had a better understanding of the time period -- including the style of dress, the way relationships were handled, and the lifestyle of the family -- and that it painted a very clear picture for the plot at hand.

As Louisa and her family move to a new town, they deal with the ups and downs of family life, as well as the social circles within the town. Louisa is just like our darling Jo in her penned book and finds herself tangled up in romantic ties of a young, handsome man from the town. I enjoyed the peek into life of women in that time and the detail McNees gave to clothing and how women were expected to behave. It's always something that's fascinated me and it was handled well but still with the splash of creativity that made it a story and not a historical tale.

This could be a beach read, it could be something read in the dead of winter or during lazy summer days. It's something romantic and a little heartbreaking. A love story, of course, but a story of love from start to end. I learned more about Louisa May Alcott's life (verified after googling more information about her following points of the book that I found interesting) and was quite happy to have picked this book up. It's a quick read and rather easy to follow, something that you don't have to push your brain too hard to wrap around, and certainly a great gift for anyone who is a lover of Little Women.

Last Week's Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Next Week's Review: My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff

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