Louisa May Alcott

Susan Cheever, Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4165-6991-6
Little Women was the idea of Alcott's publisher, who bullied her into writing it. Louisa may, Cheever speculates, have taken revenge on Bronson Alcott—a friend of the great Transcendentalists, but an irresponsible and browbeating father—by leaving him out of her semiautobiographical masterpiece. A revolutionary educator whose uncompromising high-mindedness made him a financial failure, Bronson was critical of and often punished the rebellious Louisa. But his close friendships with men like Emerson and Thoreau blessed Louisa with a unique circle of mentors, whom Cheever depicted in American Bloomsbury. Alcott gradually lost everyone dear to her: her beloved sister Lizzie died at 22, and her sister Anna's marriage felt like a betrayal. Struggling so hard for wealth and fame that when it came she was too ill and weary to enjoy it, Louisa never married and died two days after Bronson. Cheever laces this provocative biography with musings on the genesis of genius, and her identification with Jo March when she was a rebellious girl in the throes of puberty. While some may find Cheever's digressions and self-referencing grating, most will savor this work—surely a future book club staple—as keen, refreshing, and authoritative. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61707-009-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-4790-8
Hardcover - 481 pages - 978-1-4104-3552-1
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4165-7024-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-1790-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-6790-6
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4165-6992-3
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X