Book reviews

Little Men and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS.COM:

Little Men:

With two sons of her own, and twelve rescued orphan boys filling the informal school at Plumfield, Jo March — now Jo Bhaer — couldn’t be happier. But despite the warm and affectionate help of the whole March family, boys have a habit of getting into scrapes, and there are plenty of troubles and adventures in store.

Jo’s Boys:

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 remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. 

REVIEW: (contains NO spoilers)

Usually I review young adult novels on the blog. But, I love classics as much as I love young adult. I try to read at least one classic every month, since a lot of them are longer and harder to read than normal ya. Children’s classics are some of my favorite classics to read because of the innocence and lessons contained inside of them. This month I read Little Men and Jo’s Boys, both by Louisa May Alcott. They are both children’s classics that follow the stories of Meg, Jo, and Amy from Louisa May Alcott’s most famous novel, Little Women.

Little Women has always been my favorite children’s classic. I’ve read it countless times ever since I was younger, and each time I read it, I get something new out of it. I’m sure many of you read it when you were young. Even if it didn’t leave an impression on you when you were a kid, rereading it will definitely leave an impression on you now.

But today, I am not here to review Little Women. Louisa May Alcott wrote three books that follow the story of Little Women: Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. Good Wives is normally considered to be a part two of Little Women, so most people ready them together and see it as one story. Little Men and Jo’s Boys follow the story of Jo March Bhaer as she and her husband open a home/school for boys on Jo’s deceased Aunt March’s old property of Plumfield.

I recently read these two stories, because visiting Louisa’s old home in Concord, Massachusetts not too long ago got me wanting to read more of her books. I loved both SO much!!! I enjoyed seeing Jo, Meg, and Amy grown up, married, and with kids of their own.

Little Men starts off with a poor boy named Nat, who has come to Plumfield to live and learn amongst the other young boys there. At Plumfield, he finds a mother and father in Jo and Fritz Bhaer and friends in the boys at the school. We have Jo and Fritz’s own sons – Rob and Ted, who are the youngest of the boys. Then, the twins John “Demi” and Daisy Brooke, Meg’s son and daughter. Nat himself is a quiet boy, who has a talent for music. Tom is a rowdy kid always playing pranks on people. Dan is an orphan who loves nature and the freedom of the outdoors. Franz and Emil are Fritz’s nephews, and Emil wants to be a sailor one day. Bess is Amy’s daughter and a golden-haired princess who is beautiful and sweet. Nan is a free-spirited girl who wants to be outside all the time. And those are our main characters.

I loved the characters so much!! I loved seeing the “scrapes” they all got themselves into. I enjoyed seeing old characters from Little Women. These children were amazing, and Jo and Fritz did so much for them in the way of teaching. There were so many morals and lessons in here as well that even the readers should abide by. I loved Plumfield and the dynamics of the boys’ school there. Everything about this book was so sweet and perfect, just like a children’s classic should be.

Jo’s Boys was no different. This book happens 10 years after Little Men. I’m so glad Louisa wrote this story as well, because what would I have done without seeing what happened to all the characters after they grew up? There was a lot more adventure in this book, with Emil sailing across the ocean, Dan getting himself into some huge trouble, and romance brewing all over Plumfield and Laurence College.

I LOVE how Jo finally got to be a semi-famous, published author!! That made my heart so happy! I love how Nat went away to study music, learned some valuable lessons, and later came back to marry the girl he loves (no spoilers here). Emil’s story of sailing was super entertaining! It was so cool to see what happened with Tom and Demi, and I love how Nan became an independent doctor, helping women all over the world. But, my favorite story has to be that of Dan. Dan’s character arc in this story was incredible. He went through some pretty scary stuff, but he found God through it all and I loved that.

The ending of Jo’s Boys made me cry as the curtain fell on the March family once and for all. But, this definitely won’t be the last time I read these precious classics.

Of course, I can’t end this review without talking about Louisa May Alcott’s writing. I absolutely love her writing style and old way of wording things (she did live in the 1800s after all).

I immensely enjoyed every second of these two classics, and gave them both 5/5 star ratings. Sorry for the long review as I was sort of reviewing two books in one. But, if you love children’s classics, I HIGHLY recommend any of Louisa May Alcott’s books. You won’t be disappointed!

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