Little Women is a classic realistic fiction novel. It is divided into two parts, both telling the story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. The first part is set at the end of the Civil War, and relates the story of these four loving sisters and their mother waiting for their father to come home from the war. They each have different temptations and struggles, but ultimately they bond together to create a loving household filled with laughter and joy. During this first part they meet their next door neighbor, Laurie, who will become their closest friend. The beginning half of the book ends with the oldest sister, Meg, getting engaged to Laurie’s tutor, John Brooke. The second part begins three years later, at the time of their wedding. Whereas the first half has all the sisters living together, during this last half they are split up and in many different places. Amy is in Europe, Meg is living with her husband, Jo travels to New York, and Beth is at home, weak from an earlier sickness which has returned. This second half revolves more around the romances of Jo and Amy, and around the great tragedy their family experiences. Ultimately, this book is about the love and support these sisters have for each other.
While this book was not my favorite, I did enjoy it. It is a worthwhile read, especially for someone who enjoys coming-of-age, romance, or the classics. The characters had very different personalities, and it was interesting to see how they interacted with each other and how certain characters conflicted with each other more than others. It was also interesting to see how Amy, only twelve at the beginning of the book, grows up a lot, whereas Meg, who is the oldest, does not have nearly so drastic a change in temperament. Overall, I would give this book 3.5 stars because while it is a good classic novel, it wasn’t nearly as intriguing to me as other books I have read.