View Cart

"An Old Fashioned Girl" by Louisa May Alcott

An Old Fashioned Girl may be downloaded for free from our ebook catalog.

First published in two parts between 1869 and 1870, An Old Fashioned Girl follows Polly, a simple country girl, during two visits to the big city of Boston. Polly's stay with the rich and sophisticated Shaw family shows her that flashy clothes and loud personalities are the characteristics by which many frivolous city folk are judged. Polly in turn teaches her city friends that simplicity and honesty are the things that really matter.

Alcott explains in her Preface that there was such an outpouring of requests for a sequel upon writing the first book, that she relented and has provided us with what we've asked for. Both books, the original and the sequel, are included in our ebook version. The first book is Polly's visit to the Shaw's at the age of 14. Like Johanna Spyri's Heidi, Polly is pure of heart often used as a foil to teach each member of the Shaw family how to better themselves. There the daughter Fanny, extremely concerned about fashion and popularity, who learns to be humble and her true friends will love her for who she is. There is the son Tom, rambunctious and a nuisance to his siblings, who learns to be civil and helpful. Young sister Maude, one of my favorites of the novel, is too young to have any fatal flaws and follows faithfully in Polly's footsteps. Even Mom and Dad learn from Polly--Mom learns that a bit of affection can go a long way and Dad learns that paying more attention to his children will solve problems in the long run.

Book two picks up six years later when Polly is a young adult and back in town to earn a living. Being a working girl puts her at a distinct disadvantage next to the upper class social set of the Shaws. But Polly makes her own friends, and the Shaws learn again that money and fine clothes don't buy everything. Now that the kids are older, a bit of romance comes into the story, which makes the plot hop along at a nice pace.

Alcott's tone is quite distinct between the first and second books. Her first book is truly a children's story, teaching a moral through simple and somewhat stereotyped characters. Alcott is much less moralistic in the second book, which takes on adult themes such as jealousy, the bonds of true friendship, and unrequited love. The novel is a joy throughout, but I'm especially glad there was an outpouring of support for Alcott to continue the story and give it a more adult denouement.


Post a Comment

Browse Ebooks by Tag

Support Free Ebooks

If you enjoy our free ebooks, please consider making a donation to offset website costs.
Why donate?

Highest Rated Ebooks