Sunday, 08 August 2010

Louisa May Alcott

I picked this up in the States, quite early on. One of the places that I wanted to go to was Orchard House, which you can see in the link above. Orchard House was one of the Alcott's residences (they seem to have moved every five minutes), but one that they seemed to keep coming back to.

Louisa May Alcott really was an amazing woman. I knew her only from the four books about the March family (given that a fair majority of South African books are obtained from British publishers/printers we have Good Wives, rather than two parts of Little Women). I knew that she'd written some other books, but I'd never read any and hadn't much interest in them. I had some vague knowledge that she'd been a nurse in the civil war and that Little Women was semi-autobiographical. I wanted to go to Orchard House because it was mentioned in the adaptation I have of Little Women (the Winona Ryder version).

So, when Steven and I were in Boston, we hopped up to Concord (Massachusetts, not the one in New Hampshire or whatever it is further to the north) and visited Orchard House. There I learnt more about her writing, the importance of her father and the society in which they lived. I was more than ready to read her biography - this apparently being one of the best biographies of Louisa May Alcott ever written. It is well written without appearing at all like a biography in any way. It's written more like a historical novel, though one knows that all the events and facts that are dramatised on the page are actual events written about in the family journal and letters.

This is a highly recommended read.

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