Little Women is about the four March sisters who live with their mother and face Christmas without their father, because he’s away fighting in the American Civil War. The March family recently moved to a new neighbourhood, but are living in almost-poverty after their father lost their money. The elder sisters work to support the family while the younger sisters help with work around the house.
I enjoyed reading Little Women as a girl because it’s a short, sweet story that has female protagonists (which is what I enjoyed most as a child – now it’s quite the opposite!): Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March and we follow their progression form girlhood to adulthood.
I also like the very noticeable differences between each sister; Meg has her beauty, Amy is charming, Beth is a musician, Jo is the impulsive tomboy.
The book is about the importance of family relationships and how love, friendship and quality time is worth more than money and presents*. We tend to reflect on these things more as we celebrate Christmas, but I think they’re important values to remember all-year round.
* You can tell we’re drawing near to Christmas, when sentimental topics are being blogged about!
Of course, modern-day readers may raise their eyebrows at certain scenes, such as Marmee’s declaration that having a loving husband and family is the greatest joy a woman can have. However, it’s important to read older books within their context, and know that however unfortunate you find it, at the time, that would have been one of the best joys in a woman’s life. Personally, although I know I have more options now than a 19th century women would have done, I still don’t think there’s anything wrong with hoping to have a loving husband and family one day too.
I still see Little Women as a childhood classic and if you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely add it to your Christmas List!