Book Reviews

Jo's Boys (Puffin Classics) by Louisa May Alcott

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List Price: £7.99


Paperback: 368 Pages.

Published: 28 March 1996 by Puffin Classics

Edition: New Ed

ISBN: 9780140367140

EAN: 9780140367140

Ten years after the school at Plumfield was founded, there is now a college, built with a legacy from old Mr Lawrence. All Jo's original children are grown young men, scattered around the world, and graceful young women with high ambitions. But young men face as many troubles as children do, and they are still 'Jo's boys'.


3.0 Stars3.0 Stars3.0 Stars  by Anne

Far too many moral messages to make the story entertaining

This series started with "Little Women" which is rightfully a classic of children's literature and followed it with "Good Wives" which was more disappointing because the moral aspects seemed to get in the way of the story. The third book "Little Men" was even further away from the spirit of the original. This final installment in the lives of the March sisters has only brief glimpses of the lively and engaging writing of "little Women" which is very sad - what is left is mostly a collection of stories about existing characters,each of which has a very heavy handed moral message. Although I would still advise teenagers to try "Little Women" I don't think that there is much here for the modern young person.

The engaging bit of this book are the descriptions of Jo's experiences as a well-known writer. This is obviously based on the author's personal experiences and the stories of how she tries to avoid her fans are very amusing. The rest of the book takes the characters from the previous volumes (and you have to know who they are because she doesn't recap), especially the boys that attended the school at Plumfield, which is now a college. Nineteenth century attitudes abound, although the author does emphasise women's rights in a way in which is unusual at this time. Two disabled characters from the past book have died which the narrator tells us in passing, is a blessing as they would have had a hard life. Each of the remaining characters is shown to have a character flaw and needs a life lesson to correct this - but the author is brutal. One character who accidentally kills a man and serves his term in prison is destined to die a hero and never to marry - in fact, although he is forgiven, he is not worthy of spending time with the the young women of the family. Moral worthiness is equated with class - the better class of young men seem more easily to be forgiven for their faults. The more worthy they are the more likely they are to be rewarded with a marriage to an equally worthy young woman. The young woman who qualifies as a doctor never marries. In fact, the author is quite advanced for her time but these incidents grate with the modern reader.

If you have read the other books in this set then do read this one just to finish them off but if you haven't started any of these then I suggest restricting yourself to the first two books which have more life and slightly less of the moralising.

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