Title: Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters
Author: Anne Boyd Rioux
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. 2018
Rating: 3/5 stars
Reading Challenges: I Love Libraries; Nonfiction Bingo - Biography
In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.
Alcott’s novel has moved generations of women, many of them writers: Simone de Beauvoir, J. K. Rowling, bell hooks, Cynthia Ozick, Jane Smiley, Margo Jefferson, and Ursula K. Le Guin were inspired by Little Women, particularly its portrait of the iconoclastic young writer, Jo. Many have felt, as Anna Quindlen has declared, “Little Women changed my life.”
I was very excited to read this one considering I really love Little Women. And the first section was very interesting. I loved learning more about Alcott’s life and inspiration. I enjoyed seeing the connections between her life and her various written works. The second half of the book didn’t catch my attention as much. The writing seemed very stilted and a little too much literary criticism. The writing was a bit dry and I started losing attention pretty quickly. So a mixed bad I guess.
Next up on the TBR pile: