cover image The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

The Journals of Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott. Little Brown and Company, $24.95 (356pp) ISBN 978-0-316-59362-5

Prepared by the editors of Alcott's letters and recently discovered thrillers, this volume deepens appreciation for the industrious author. The journals open in 1843, when ``LMA'' was 11, and continue through March 1888, four days before her death at age 56. One grows to feel close to the Alcotts of Concord, Mass.--like the Marches of Little Women , kept poor by the father's visionary schemes. As a girl, Louisa became the chief supporter of her parents and siblings, working at menial jobs, but always writing (and prudently tailoring stories and poems to specific markets). There is no lack of love in the author's references to her dependents, but she sometimes confessed to envying the security that her labor gave them. Alcott's journals offer a literate, poignant, often humorous portrait of a singular woman. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)