View Cart

Review: "Little Men" by Louisa May Alcott

Little Men may be downloaded for free from our ebook catalog. Cover art is by Janice Tarver, for sale at etsy.

Little MenWhen I was five years old, my mother enrolled me in a day care center that offered a private kindergarten class. The school was small, about a dozen students, and I remember it as a cozy, caring environment with a lovely teacher and a captivating curriculum. In the front room of the school stood a little white playhouse with a red roof. Inside, the house contained shelves of books. When we students finished our work, we were allowed to go into the little house to sit and read. Sitting in that tiny library gave me such a feeling of peace and enchantment; I'm sure my book "addiction" started there. Since that day, schools and libraries have been magical places for me, and fifty-seven years later I still have a feeling of unsuppressed excitement whenever I enter either establishment.

In reading Little Men, I find myself agreeing with Louisa May Alcott in the philosophy that schools represent a place for students to learn new skills and test new ideas; to interact with knowledgeable adults eager to impart their knowledge; to find new and exciting games to play, and most enthralling of all, to have use of a library which literally opens up doors to new worlds. Up until now, my favorite fictional school has been Harry Potter's Hogwarts. I applaud J. K. Rowling's inventiveness in designing a fascinating haven for young people that does not shield them from the real world but rather allows them, with guidance, to explore it and to learn to deal with the hazards and challenges it represents. Now Hogwarts has a rival in Plumfield, the school established by Jo and Fritz Bhaer. Jo, of course is Jo March, the tomboy sister in Little Women. Fritz is Jo's professor husband as well as a kindly and astute school director. Jo is the catalyst moving the education process along, the glue holding the school together and the engineer studying and solving the human problems that surface when a multitude of students with widely divergent backgrounds come together. Jo is so inventive, I longed to be one of her students, perhaps Daisy or Dan (yes, in spite of the book title, the school is co-ed.) Where else would a would-be homemaker get a completely functioning miniature kitchen and an aspiring naturalist get his own museum!

Even when Jo does not actually solve a problem, she knows when to stand back and let the students come up with their own solutions, no matter how wacky, especially if students work together for the greater good. Thus, if you were to enter Plumfield of a Sunday evening, you might get caught up in a pillow fight. In the days before Thanksgiving, you might happen upon impromptu meal cooked by the students in front of the fireplace (popcorn, roasted nuts and baked apples--yum!) You might also be held captive until you offered up a story to entertain your chefs.

If it appears that Plumfield is too good to be believed, Alcott rises to the occasion with plenty of drama and even some heartbreak. Like Little Women, Little Men presents adult emotions and adult topics. In Little Men, Alcott did not shy away from subjects such as death, desertion and abuse, but neither did she let the bad times control her story.

Little Men is such an enjoyable story that I suspect you will be happy to learn that it has a sequel. I also suspect that you will be back to get Jo's Boys perhaps even before you finish Little Men.


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