cover image My Heart Is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa’s Mother

My Heart Is Boundless: Writings of Abigail May Alcott, Louisa’s Mother

Edited by Eve LaPlante. Free Press, $14 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-4767-0280-3

Edited skillfully by LaPlante (a member of Alcott’s family tree), this thoroughly engaging collection of Abigail May Alcott’s warm and lively writings, primarily drawn from her journals and letters, show her to be a witty, eloquent, thoughtful, and captivating writer and correspondent. Born into a prominent Boston family, thirsty for an education, and engaged by the social topics of her time (including abolition and women’s rights), Abigail soon found herself in a troubled marriage to utopian thinker Bronson Alcott. The trials of her married life—especially their financial woes—make appearances, as does the joy she took in her daughters and extended family, her strength of character, and a glimpse of sly humor (“I wish women displayed more brains and less jewelry”). Most fascinating are the excerpts from Abigail’s reports as a welfare worker in Boston; her desire to provide work and just wages for the poor along with relief ring a startlingly contemporary bell. Though one could certainly read this volume on its own, LaPlante’s companion biography, Marmee & Louisa (pubbing simultaneously) will undoubtedly help to fill in gaps. And although some of Abigail’s correspondence was destroyed or altered by family members, one hopes that further volumes of her extant work might one day be released to shed even further light on this remarkable woman. (Nov.)