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Sam Sattler

That's a great review of one of my favorite books of the year. I became fascinated by the Alcotts when I stumbled onto the novel "March." I imagine you've already read that one but you might also want to check out "Woodsburner," a novel that cover's an interesting period in Thoreau's early life - when he almost burned down the local forest. It's written by John Pipken.

Dorothy W.

Thanks for the review -- there's so much information here! I'd love to read some of Alcott's works for adults, just to see how they compare. I find that whole literary circle fascinating, particularly after visiting Concord so recently. I didn't know you could walk from Boston to Concord -- people were such amazing walkers back then! You don't tend to hear of people doing that kind of thing now.


Sam--I've really enjoyed reading this as well and my curiosity has been piqued now by all the other writers working during this period! As a matter of fact I have not yet read March, though I do have it on my pile and will have to pull it out now. And I'm adding Woodsburner to the list as well. It was interesting that LMA had 'crushes' on both Thoreau and Emerson! It sounds like she preferred older or younger men--no doubt her father and the other men in her life made quite an impact on her.
Dorothy--I didn't mean to make my post quite so long--the thing is I keep thinking of more things I could have added to it. I'm also curious about her books written for adults--I think that's what she preferred writing. She obviously didn't lead such a wild life, but she read enough to write about those things putting her own spin on the stories. And I bet most people do not walk from Boston to Concord--it took her something like five hours to make the trip. She apparently would often go out for 'runs' and loved to walk. What a different world it was then! Lots and lots of interesting things in this book!


What an engrossing summary! Now I really want to read this book.

I also read A Long Fatal Love Chase when it was reissued. I don't remember much of it all anymore, though.

I have a copy of American Bloomsbury waiting on my shelves. I read one or two chapters when I first bought it and was quite impressed. I also have this fiction book called March, which is a sort of fictional biographical tale of Louisa's father. You might consider that if you keep reading about this family/time period.


Whoops, just saw that someone already recommended March....


What a marvelous review. You've made me want to read this immediately! It seems the more I read about Alcott, the more there is to know! I'm contenting myself with adding it to my list and very much looking forward to the documentary on PBS.


What a fascinating post! I would love to know more about Alcott, and about the American Bloomsbury group that surrounded her. This book is already on my wish list so I do hope I'll manage to read it in the not-too-distant future!


I love LMA and would love to read more about her life - what a fascinating and in depth review! I'll be looking out for this!

Sam Sattler

I handed off a copy of Little Women to my 10-year-old granddaughter last night. She reads way above level and I'm trying to distract her from that silly Twilight series (she's only read book one of that thing and I don't like the idea of someone so young reading the later books). She has read all the Little House books now and seemed enthusiastic about another book about girls from "the old days." I'm hoping...


I'm going to need to get myself a copy of this book, it sounds so good! American Bloomsbury is a fun book, very gossipy.


This review had me on the edge of my seat right from the beginning!
I very much appreciated it that you added the link to The Trancendentalist Movement. Very, very interesting. As reading Walden already is part of my reading plan for 2010, maybe I should add some Louisa May Alcott now.


Thank you for sharing so much about LMA. I so want to learn more about her. I won't get to a book anytime soon, but I'm looking forward to the documentary!


Maire--I didn't realize LMA's life was so interesting. I had an idea she based Little Women on her life, but I didn't know how much. I hope to read some more on this period/group of writers. And I need to dig out my copy of A Long Fatal Love Chase, too, as I remember nothing about it now.
Kate--I'm really looking forward to the documentary as well--there'll be visuals then to add to the facts in the book.
Litlove--I think you would really enjoy this. There's lots on Abby and the three sisters as well as her famous father. I think you might especially be interested in Abby if you are still looking for books on mothering. In any case, this group of 'American Bloomsbury' authors sounds fascinating and I'd like to know more as well.
Rachel--I really only skimmed the surface on what I wrote--there is still so much more I could say. I love how the author incorporated the letters and diaries of the family as well as quotes from her work. Definitely a book to keep an eye out for.
Sam--My niece is a so-so reader. She likes books but she also likes her nintendo ds and other games. I plan on giving LW to her this Christmas (along with some other books). I don't think she is mature enough for the Twilight books, which I am sort of happy about. I think they are too emotionally engaging for her at the moment. I don't think she's get into that love story, which also makes me sort of happy. She has read one or two of the Little House books, which I also loved growing up. I think I tend to give her all my favorites for Christmas and birthdays!
Stefanie--I like fun and gossipy and American Bloomsbury also looks like a fast read, too. I hope to get to it sooner rather than later. I really enjoyed the Reisen bio--particularly since she quotes LMA directly so often.
Catharina--I have never read Walden in full--I should pick it up next year, too. There was lots about Emerson and Thoreau in the the biography since they were so close to the Alcott's. Louisa's father even helped build the little cabin Thoreau stayed in when writing his book. This bio or something similar might be a nice companion piece to your other reading.
Debby--She was a really fascinating person. Not necessarily perfect but quite something for the time she lived in. I can't wait to see the documentary, too, for the visuals--to finally see what I read about. You will probably recognize some of it having visited! :)


LMA's journals are indeed published, a few years ago I read one very interesting version edited by Joel Myerson and Daniel Shealy called The journals of Louisa May Alcott.


Your description of Alcott's father definately reminds me of the father described in 'March' (apart from the mental illness, so an idealised version of him). Great review, it's always nice to learn new things about an author you think of in a very particular way, who would have pegged Alcott as a pulp fiction writer.


Kristina--Thanks for the heads up, I will have to see if my library has it. It's really nice when an author keeps journals and to see a different perspective of them--especially when LMA drew so heavily on her own life for her fiction,
Jodie--I think her pulp fiction just went out of print. A lot of it was either published anonymously or under pen names, so for a long time she was simply known as a writer of children's books. I think it was a fluke that a researcher discovered her pen name! I must get out my copy of March now!


This sounds great. Thanks for the great review and for bringing this book to my attention.


Tara--I really enjoyed this--she was an interesting (though flawed person). I plan to read more about her and this period!

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