Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jo's Boys

Better known for her novels Little Women and Little Men, Louisa May Alcott continued the story of her feisty protagonist Jo in this final novel chronicling the adventures and misadventures of the March family. Entertaining, surprising, and overall a joy to read, Jo's Boys is nevertheless shaded by a bittersweet tone, for with it Alcott brought her wonderful series to an end.

Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo's Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo's boys -- including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musicain Nat -- are grown; Jo herself remains at the center of this tale, holding her boys fast through shipwreck and storm, disappointment... and even murder.

Popular for more than a century, the series that began with Little Women continues to hold universal appeal with its powerful and affectionate depiction of family -- the safe haven where the prodigal can always return, adversity is never met alone, and our dreams of being cherished, no matter what our flaws, come true. With this new edition of Jo's Boys, readers once again have access to a treasured classic by one of America's best-loved writers.

Set ten years after Little Men, we see the regular set of characters. Obviously they are older and moving on with their lives and careers. Some are set on continuing their educations and others are not sure what or who they want. It was nice to see the Marsh sisters together again, although we see more of Meg and Jo than Amy.

I thought that it was a great conclusion of the series. But felt at times that it was a little bit preachy for my taste.

Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott (3.5/5) Classic Children Literature; Published: Roberts Brothers (1886); 18th & 19th Women Writers Reading Challenge (5); Books 2010 (74);

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