Little Women pdf Download, Summary by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women pdf by Louisa May Alcott is a coming-of-age novel written by American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888). Originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, Alcott wrote the book over several months at the request of her publisher. The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. Loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters, it is classified as an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel.  Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, with readers eager for more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume (titled Good Wives in the United Kingdom, though the name originated with the publisher and not Alcott). It was also met with success. The two volumes were issued in 1880 as a single novel titled Little Women. Alcott subsequently wrote two sequels to her popular work, both also featuring the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). In this article you will be able to download Little women by Louisa may Alcott as well as do the following:

Little women summary by Louisa May Alcott

“Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg’s joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo’s struggle to become a writer, Beth’s tragedy, and Amy’s artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louise May Alcott’s childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers. Follow the sisters from innocent adolescence to sage adulthood, with all the joy and sorrow of life in between, and fall in love with them and this endearing story. Praised by Madeleine Stern as “a book on the American home, and hence universal in its appeal,” Little Women has been an avidly read tale for generations.

Louisa May Alcott Author of Little Women pdf Book

louisa may alcott
Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott Author of Little Women was born in 1832, was the second child of Bronson Alcott of Concord, Massachusetts, a self-taught philosopher, school reformer, and utopian who was much too immersed in the world of ideas to ever succeed in supporting his family. That task fell to his wife and later to his enterprising daughter Louisa May. While her father lectured, wrote, and conversed with such famous friends as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, Louisa taught school, worked as a seamstress and nurse, took in laundry, and even hired herself out as a domestic servant at age nineteen. The small sums she earned often kept the family from complete destitution, but it was through her writing that she finally brought them financial independence. “I will make a battering-ram of my head,” she wrote in her journal, “and make a way through this rough-and-tumble world.”

An enthusiastic participant in amateur theatricals since age ten, she wrote her first melodrama at age fifteen and began publishing poems and sketches at twenty-one. Her brief service as a Civil War nurse resulted in Hospital Sketches (1863), but she earned more from the lurid thrillers she began writing in 1861 under the pseudonym of A.M. Barnard. These tales, with titles like “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment,” featured strong-willed and flamboyant heroines but were not identified as Alcott’s work until the 1940s.

Fame and success came unexpectedly in 1868. When a publisher suggested she write a “girl’s book,” she drew on her memories of her childhood and wrote Little Women, depicting herself as Jo March, while her sisters Anna, Abby May, and Elizabeth became Meg, Amy, and Beth. She re-created the high spirits of the Alcott girls and took many incidents from life but made the March family financially comfortable as the Alcotts never had been. Little Women, to its author’s surprise, struck a cord an America’s largely female reading public and became a huge success. Louisa was prevailed upon to continue the story, which she did in Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886.) In 1873 she published Work: A Story of Experience, an autobiography in fictional disguise with an all too appropriate title. Now a famous writer, she continued to turn out novels and stories and to work for the women’s suffrage and temperance movements, as her father had worked for the abolitionists. Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott both died in Boston in the same month, March of 1888.

Information about the book (Amazon)

Little women by Louisa May Alcott
Little women by Louisa May Alcott
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0553212753
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bantam Classics (May 1, 1983)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 560 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780553212754
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0553212754
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD640L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.15 x 0.83 x 6.77 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #19,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • #430 in Children’s Classics
  • #874 in Classic Literature & Fiction
  • #883 in Coming of Age Fiction (Books)
  • Customer Reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars  224 ratings

Excerpt from Little women by Louisa May Alcott

© Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Playing Pilgrims
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,”grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. “It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress. “I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have lots of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff. “We’ve got father and mother, and each other, anyhow,”said Beth, contentedly, from her corner. The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly? “We haven’t got father, and shall not have him for a long time.” She didn’t say “perhaps never,”but each silently added it, thinking of father far away, where the fighting was.

Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, “You know the reason mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas, was because it’s going to be a hard winter for every one; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don’t;”and Megshook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.

“But I don’t think the little we should spend would do any good. We’ve each got a dollar, and the army wouldn’t be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintram for myself; I’ve wanted it so long,’said Jo, who was a bookworm. “I planned to spend mine in new music,”said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth-brush and kettle-holder. “I shall get a nice box of Faber’s drawing pencils; I really need them,” said Amy, decidedly. “Mother didn’t say anything about our money, and she won’t wish us to give up everything. Let’s each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I’m sure we grub hard enough to earn it,”cried Jo, examining the heels of her boots in a gentlemanly manner.

“I know I do, teaching those dreadful children nearly all day, when I’m longing to enjoy myself at home,” began Meg, in the complaining tone again. “You don’t have half such a hard time as I do,” said Jo. “How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you”e ready to fly out of the window or box her ears?” “It’s naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross; and my hands get so stiff, I can’t practise good a bit.” And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that anyone could hear that time.

“I don’t believe any of you suffer as I do,” cried Amy; “for you don’t have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don’t know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn’t rich, and insult you when your nose isn’t nice.” “If you mean libel I’d say so, and not talk about labels, as if pa was a pickle-bottle,” advised Jo, laughing.

Major characters in Litle women by Louisa May Alcott

·         Josephine March

The protagonist of the novel, and the second-oldest March sister. Jo, who wants to be a writer, is based on Louisa May Alcott herself, which makes the story semi-autobiographical. Jo has a temper and a quick tongue, although she works hard to control both. She is a tomboy, and reacts with impatience to the many limitations placed on women and girls. She hates romance in her real life, and wants nothing more than to hold her family together.

·         Meg March

The oldest March sister. Responsible and kind, Meg mothers her younger sisters. She has a small weakness for luxury and leisure, but the greater part of her is gentle, loving, and morally vigorous.

·         Beth March

The third March daughter. Beth is very quiet and very virtuous, and she does nothing but try to please others. She adores music and plays the piano very well.

·         Amy March

The youngest March girl. Amy is an artist who adores visual beauty and has a weakness for pretty possessions. She is given to pouting, fits of temper, and vanity; but she does attempt to improve herself.

·         Laurie Laurence

The rich boy who lives next door to the Marches. Laurie, whose real name is Theodore Laurence, becomes like a son and brother to the Marches. He is charming, clever, and has a good heart.

·         Marmee

The March girls’ mother. Marmee is the moral role model for her girls. She counsels them through all of their problems and works hard but happily while her husband is at war.

·         Mr. March

The March girls’ father and Marmee’s husband. He serves in the Union army as a chaplain. When he returns home, he continues acting as a minister to a nearby parish.

·         Frederick Bhaer

A respected professor in Germany who becomes an impoverished language instructor in America. Mr. Bhaer lives in New York, where he meets Jo. He is kind and fatherly.

·         Mr. Laurence

Laurie’s grandfather and the Marches’ next-door neighbor. Mr. Laurence seems gruff, but he is loving and kind.

·         Aunt March

A rich widow and one of the March girls’ aunts. Although crotchety and difficult, Aunt March loves her nieces and wants the best for them.

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Read reviews on Little women by Louisa May Alcott

Community readers review on Little women by Louisa May Alcott

Edited September 18, 2019

Someone I know claimed this no longer has value, that she would never recommend it because it’s saccharine, has a religious agenda, and sends a bad message to girls that they should all be little domestic homebodies. I say she’s wrong on all counts. This is high on my reread list along with Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and a Tree Grows in Brooklyn–you could say that I’m pretty familiar with it. Let’s see–there’s a heroine who not only writes, but is proud of the fact and makes a profit from it in a time that this was somewhat out-of-the-ordinary. Reading this, and especially knowing later that the main character is (for all practical purposes) Alcott herself, inspired me to write myself, and I haven’t forgotten the writing lessons even today: don’t let money cloud your vision, write for yourself first, take criticism, write what you know. Still wise even today. Also in this book, we see the perspective of a family coping with the financial and emotional strain of having a loved one away at war, something that is unfortunately all too relatable today.

There’s also (extraordinary in those times, common in ours)a platonic, though not uncomplicated, friendship between a man and a woman that is sort of a different kind of love story in a way and a powerful one at that. We see people getting married, but marriage is never portrayed as The Answer to Everything–many of the matches involve sacrifice and struggling. The girls, though good at heart, aren’t a picture-perfect family of saints. They’re flawed and human. The paragon Beth would seem the exception, but the message with her is more about how even the quietest among us can make an impact on the world–not parading her isolated life as an example, only her kindness.

I won’t lie. Someone dies, there’s a war and a father’s away–so yes, God is mentioned: I think there’s a few Pilgrim’s Progress references in passing and there’s some talk of faith at moments when the characters most need it. To contemporary readers, this may seem like a lot, but heavy-handed it is not. It was probably somewhat unusual for its time. The thought that everyone’s relationship and perception of God could greatly vary, and that to be true to your religion was entirely non judgmental and meant being kind to other people and trying to make yourself better, not other people? The thought that each person must be allowed to deal with these feelings in their own time in their own way? Wacky stuff.
I admit it seems like a tough sell to today’s kids, packaged in somewhat formal sounding-language, and bearing every indication of being literary broccoli, but this book is a classic for a reason. It might be a tough sell, but I don’t think we should give up on trying to think of ways to do it anyway. What’s inside still counts. Don’t write it off. *note* for those of you who liked this review, check out my review of the new The Little Women Cookbook by Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada.

Nilufer Ozmekik
Edited February 1, 2022

This is magical book, when I get into my hands for the first time, I was only eleven and for decades I kept on getting it into my hands, reread it several times and same words resonated different for me, awoke different feelings, made me look at the characters’ flaws and differences at brand new perspective.
Even though I know the ending: I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I smiled, I jumped, I felt peaceful and at the end I LOVED IT TRULY, DEEPLY so MUCH! Christmas is coming. You think there won’t be Christmas without presents and I think there won’t be any meaningful celebration without doing my yearly reading of this book and reconnecting with Holly March Sisterhood. Joe (tomboy, book-worn, hot-tempered, writer, definitely closer to my character), Meg (Romantic, sweet-natured, peace maker older sister), Beth ( sweet, shy, cute, friendly, fallen angel, musical prodigy) and Amy (spoiled, childish, artistic, elegant, refined youngest one): I LOVE YOU BOTH.  It is why this book is always my all-time favorite one! Time to reconnect with the sisters and feeling the best holiday spirit!

Justin Tate
Edited December 23, 2019

Relentlessly captivating story of sisters doing it for themselves. Alcott is a master of character, pacing, and creating page-turning suspense within a context of moderately low stakes. I admire everything about her, from her writing talent to her personal life as an abolitionist and feminist. Much of her personal advocacy makes it into the pages of Little Women. Sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes not. I’m glad to see that the new movie appears to spotlight the feminist undertones because its groundbreaking depth is easily hidden behind a wall of nonstop entertainment. A true landmark of American literature, everyone should have this on their list of must-read classics. And for audiobook fans, Barbara Caruso’s unabridged performance is one of the best of all time.

PS: Don’t stop here! Alcott’s bibliography is full of expertly-written tales. Including some horror and supernatural. I’m a huge fan of her 1866 Gothic novel A Long Fatal Love Chase, which launches into action with the heroine willing to sell her soul to Satan “for a year of freedom.”

Edited December 4, 2013

The book begins:
“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents, grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. It’s so dreadful to be poor! sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress. I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all, added little Amy, with an injured sniff. We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other, said Beth contentedly from her corner.” There’s an undercurrent of anger in this book and I think Louisa May Alcott would have gone much further with it if her publisher had allowed it and if it weren’t a children’s book.

Louisa herself was fiercely independent and didn’t marry. Of course, Jo, her doppelganger and the heroine of the book, did marry. I think the struggle for girls and women to be themselves while following convention is an experience that resonates today. I also think that, ironically, when people today want to return to the simple life, they all forget that there was no simple life. Although youngest sister Amy carries her books to school, writes with an inkwell and fights over pickled limes, her father is fighting a real war fought for ideology and national unity. Martha Stewart has us searching for the “good things” and harkening back to garden bounties but nineteenth century girls and women were nearly bound to the home.

Young boys and girls might find the domesticity in the book offputting but it was necessary for people to have domestic skills or they could not survive. The working poor in the 1860s, like the working poor today, could not afford maids. Louisa May Alcott’s family occasionally made money from making and mending clothing just to get by. I think there was just as much screaming as crying going on in the Alcott household, but Louisa tones things down for the March family.

The March family and the sisters made me yearn for my own sisters which never materialized. I also realized that wanting to draw, paint, play music, perform plays and write were interests that I shared with people of another time period. The book itself was written after the Civil War and has a purposeful nostalgic tone.

Jo scribbles in the attic and relishes the time she has to write but she is expected to work as a caretaker for her elderly aunt. None of these girls are independently wealthy and the poverty that Alcott writes about in the book mirrors the poverty of her own life but she softens the reality for her fiction. Alcott’s father Amos Bronson Alcott was not a soldier, yet he was often away from home. He was a dynamic lecturer and a revolutionary educator who was disillusioned by public reaction to some of his innovations and was often jobless.

While a good portion of white northerners were against slavery and wanted more rights for black Americans, they did not go as far as the Alcotts did in their support. I wish that she had written more about their anti-slavery positions. It’s also not widely known that Bronson Alcott was shunned for educating black students. Reading Little Women in fourth grade caused me to work as a historical interpreter at the Orchard House for six years many years later. I visited Fruitlands, the Old Manse, the Wayside and the House of the Seven Gables. I studied transcendentalism and learned about the contributions of Elizabeth Peabody and other great female intellectuals of the nineteenth century. I was forever changed after reading the book and I’ve reread it too many times to count.

Louisa was a master marketer akin to J.K. Rowling. She also had a strong survival instinct like Rowling. She desperately needed to make money and writing was her one marketable skill. Notably, she was able to write the book under her own name and not use a gender neutral pseudonym.
The book is written for a younger audience and older readers reading it for the first time might not feel a connection with the book because all Victorian children’s books were infused with a heavy dose of morality. Girls especially have always been told to endure hardships while remaining happy. My grandmother Ethel, who grew up in the 1930s, told me her mother said to her: “It’s easy to be happy when life rolls along like a song. But it’s the girl who’s worthwhile who will smile when everything goes wrong.”

Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
April 6, 2019

I have owned this book forever! I have the movie and have always loved it. Thanks to several group challenges on here, I have finally gotten to this little gem.

Customer reviews for Little women on Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic of the March family “Little Women” – Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth. A story of love and family.
Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2015
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Little Women is a timeless classic. The story is told in two parts. The first part focuses of the four young March daughters: Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth. The story is told in the nineteenth century in a town setting. The March family is a loving family with a wise and lady mother who is trying to teach values, empathy, and love to her four daughters, while their father is a chaplain in the Civil War. The family is poor and struggle with finances. But the girls, led by rambunctious tomboy Jo, have wonderful times as they read, sketch, write and perform plays, and invent secret clubs. Each girl is different in character with ladylike lovely Meg, boyish Jo, elegant Amy, and home loving, faithful Beth. Jo and her family adopt the motherless and fatherless rich boy and neighbor, Laurie into their family. There is love, laughter, sisterly quarrels, and sadness woven into a beautiful family story. In the second part, the story begins with the marriage of the oldest sister, Meg. and her new life as wife and mother. Jo pursues her interest in writing. Amy has ambitions of becoming a lady and marrying into a rich family. Beth must deal with her lingering illness and hopes to remain with her family. Laurie is in love with Jo, but will she return the love of “her boy.” This second part deals with growing up, romance, and the 19th Century expectation for women to marry and become mothers. The March family will touch your heart and remain in your memory as they learn to step out on their own to transition from little women to beloved wives.

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2018
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First read this book back in the 6th grade and I picked it up once again in my senior year of high school. Still one of my absolute favorite novels from Lousia May Alcott. Would definitely recommend to others who enjoy reading about the struggles of small family love and life.

Phyllis A. Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic for All Ages
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2014
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Little Women is really a classic for all ages. All of us have read it at one time or another. I plan to choreograph a ballet for my students using it as my inspiration and guide—the characters are well delineated and reflect their times.—New England during the mid-19th century. Values, virtues are all there. It is charming, believable and is quite like a breath of fresh air–a shade dated tor the 21st century perhaps but none the less rewarding.—-Phyllis Blake.

Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite the twist ending!
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2013
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CLASSICS TIME! You heard right – I’m reviewing a reeeeeal oldie. But this IS my first time reading this book and I DID read it for a class called Studies in Children’s and YA Literature, so honestly it seemed like a good thing to do. Also, I had to read this in like two days I deserve this. ANYWAYS! Let’s get this show on the road! I apparently have a really inflammatory opinion about the end of this book, according to my classmates, so this should be FUN.

This is usually where I put a summary of the book, but the blurb (which I stole from Amazon this time, not Goodreads) is pretty self explanatory. What’s most important to me is that it talks about how there are two parts to this book. The blurb calls them I and II. I call them Part I: Where Every Chapter is a Morality Story and Part II: The Bit Where Life Gets REAL. With just Part I, this book gets maybe 2, 2 1/2 stars for morality inducing boredom. With Part II? I might never re-read it, but PLOT TWIST OF THE CENTURY, ALCOTT, BRAVO. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Part I, as I continue to say is … cute. Each sister has one negative quality that their mother, Marmee, has to teach them how to control. It’s all “Be less material, Meg” and “Be less temperamental, Jo” and “Be less spoiled, Amy” and “Be less shy, Beth.” I didn’t get annoyed to the point of wanting to hurl my Kindle across the room (which I’ve done before with morality books), but it got repetitive and boring and I really just wanted something to happen. All together, the themes were quite good and I certainly applaud Alcott for several, radical for the times decisions that she made about the girls’ lives, both here and in Part II.
But then came the romance between Meg and John. I cried. I cried hard. 1800S INSTA-LOVE! I cried. THAT’S A THING THAT’S A THING. I knew much of the later book would revolve around Jo, Amy and Beth’s marriages, so seeing this horribleness made me worried, fast. I couldn’t stand Meg and John’s “romance,” let alone three more. (This was my first time reading it, people who’ve read this before and think I had trouble with math/facts. SHH about Beth.)
But THEN came Part II, and all the reality it brought with it. Suddenly, the girls weren’t just learning cute little life lessons. They were learning life facts, and learning them hard. They were learning them with whiplash. All the radical ideas that Alcott had hinted at in the beginning came out in force. (I’m an English major, we analyzed this, SHH.) But the biggest part for me was THE BIGGEST SHIPPING PLOT TWIST IN ALL OF TIME. Like, I’m not a big proponent of “all writers should read the classics,” but I wanted to buy millions of copies of this book and chuck them at the heads of every writer who has ever written a cliched love triangle ever. I am completely and utterly behind what happened, and it made the book really shine and stand out for me. Right at that moment, the book went from being a cute how to for kids to a real book about life and love and sadness and reality. Reality that is still reality, never mind the historical setting.
At the end of the day, I certainly liked this book. This is one classic that I actually recommend for people to read if they have the urge. There really is a girl for everyone to relate to in this book, no matter their age, and I find that extremely important. I almost wish I had read this as a kid, just to see what I would understand now that I didn’t understand then. Little Women is that kind of a book.

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