Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Classics Review: Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

Title: Little Men
Series: Little Women #2
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Published: Originally 1871 by Roberts Brothers

Synopsis: Little Women, always wanted: a house "swarming with all stages of...effervescence." At the end ofLittle Women, Jo inherited the Plumfield estate from diamond-in-the-rough Aunt March. Now she and her husband, Professor Bhaer, provide their irrepressible charges with a very different sort of education--and much love. In fact, Jo confesses, she hardly knows "which I like best, writing or boys." Here is the story of the ragged orphan Nat, spoiled Stuffy, wild Dan, and all the other lively inhabitants of Plumfield, whose adventures have captivated generations of readers. 

I'm not sure if you knew this but I'm a huge fan of Little Women, like a huge fan. It is one of my favorite books of all time. I cry, I swoon, I flail every time I read or even think about it. I'm sad to say I have never read the next two books about the Marches. I hold Little Women in such high esteem that I didn't want anything to lessen that. But after reading Little Men I found myself wondering why I had waited so long to read it. It is a fantastic sequel to my most beloved Classic.

What I liked so much about Little Men is that it stayed true to the spirit of the original novel despite a completely new and different story. Of course it does still have the same analysis of morality, lessons about being your best self, and 19th Century platitudes. It has the same type of transcendentalist ideals that Little Women propagated like self-reliance, independence, equality, and access to education. But isn't that what we love about Louisa May Alcott? She's such an idealist and really wants you to be better without being preachy. What makes it so good is that Little Men also has the same sentimentality and heart as it's predecessor. While reading it you can't help but feeling this comfort and happiness.

But what Louisa May Alcott also does so well is create likable and complex characters that are far from perfect and that is exactly what she does here. In Little Men we get to follow up with some of our favorite characters from Little Women and every single reference to these characters made me flail so much (include a mention of Beth that yes, did make me cry, because every time). But it's really about their children and those of that generation. It takes us through important moments of the lives of Jo, Mr. Behr, and the boys at Plumfield. Each character has their flaws but they are learning and growing. The only thing I didn't totally love was that Jo seems to have lost most of her impetuousness. She was doing her best Marmee impression but it still worked. It's hard to see a favorite character in a different light but it was nice to see her as a more thoughtful and mature adult, just as she always wanted to be. I can't dislike Jo, she's my favorite! But all the characters were just as genuine, relatable, and interesting.

And like it's predecessor, the best part about Little Men was the larger issue of love that it addressed. And just like Little Women, it wasn't about romantic love. What the first book did for familial love, Little Men does for friendship. The trust, love, and devotion the characters learn for one another is incredibly heartwarming. Despite numerous obstacles and reasons that could keep them from that friendship they still have nothing but devotion for each other at Plumfield. And that is exactly why the book had the same sweet sentimentality as Little Women.

 On the whole I absolutely adored this next installment in one of my favorite books of all time and I love that it stayed true to the previous story and gave us more depth and the opportunity to follow the characters that I have nothing but love for. When I was finished reading I couldn't believe it was already over, I wanted so much more. Good thing I now have Jo's Boys to read!

 I give Little Men by Louisa May Alcott a 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Fans of Little Women should absolutely buy and read the next installment of this most beloved novel. It's beautifully written with a sweet and sentimental plot and great characters that are realistic and likable. A wonderful read!

 Have you read Little Men? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Hmm, I didn't know about this one but it sounds interesting. Of course I have never even read Little Women. Crazy, huh?

    1. WHAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!! We can't be friends!

      I'm just kidding. Little Women is one of my absolute favorites but I understand not having read it. There are a lot of Classic I haven't read (like Anne of Green Gables *runs away*). I recommend it but I'm a little biased.