Little Women or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). Written and published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, the novel follows the lives of four sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March — and is loosely based on the author's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The first part of the book was an immediate commercial and critical success and prompted the composition of the book's second part, also a huge success. Both parts were first published as a single volume in 1880. The book is an unquestioned American classic.
Meg is the eldest and on the brink of love. Then there's tomboy Jo who longs to be a writer. Sweet-natured Beth always puts others first, and finally there's Amy, the youngest and most precocious. Together they are the March sisters. Even though money is short, times are tough and their father is away at war, their infectious sense of fun sweeps everyone up in their adventures — including Laurie, the boy next door. And through sisterly squabbles, their happy times and sad ones too, the sisters discover that growing up is sometimes very hard to do.
Based on Louisa May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
A wonderful story... As a child, I strongly identified with Jo because she is a writer. —Jacqueline Wilson
The American female myth. —Madelon Bedell
It is an essential American novel, perhaps the essential American novel for girls… Girls come to it on their own. —Jane Smiley
In "Little Women", Alcott anticipated realism by twenty or thirty years. —G. K. Chesterton
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