01 - Chapter 1
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If you've read and loved Little Women, you'd probably enjoy finding out more about the doings of the sisters in the third book in the series, Little Men.
Published in 1871, the book's full title was Little Men or Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys. It followed the success of Little Women in 1868 and Good Wives in 1869, which portrayed the fortunes of the March family. Filled with remarkable, endearing and memorable characters, the books remain as fresh and enjoyable as they were when they first came out more than a century ago.
Little Men is, like Alcott's other books in the series, based on some of the events in her own life. The “March Family Saga” as the books came to be known was semi-autobiographical in nature. The character of Jo March was based on Alcott herself and many of the episodes in the books are based on real happenings at the family home she shared with her parents and sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. Little Men continues the story of Jo March after she marries the love of her life, Professor Bhaer. She inherits the vast country estate of Plumfield from her crotchety old Aunt March and immediately decides to set up a school for boys. However, this is no conventional school. She takes in orphans, delinquents, disabled and abused children. She and her husband, along with other people, work their magic on the little minds and hearts, leading to many a happy ending.
Jo's sisters Meg and Amy feature in this book too. The other sister Beth, who died earlier, is now only a beloved memory. Meg's and Amy's husbands, their families and friends all form part of this colorful tapestry. Though some of the writing may seem dated, and there are plenty of moral asides from the author and though children today prefer fantasy above reality, the book is indeed a warm and endearing family story that appeals to all ages.
The overwhelming influence of human relationships and the struggle to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world are all brilliantly portrayed in this book. Jo March's journey from an impulsive and hot-headed tomboy into a loving and warm-hearted wife in whose hands the fate of her pupils lies is vividly portrayed. Inspired also by the death of her beloved brother-in-law, Little Men is a tribute to a person who was her friend, philosopher and guide.
A great addition to your collection of the March Family Saga books!