Wednesday 26 January 2011

Wonderful Wednesdays: Favourite Childhood Book

Little Women by Louisa Alcott

I was having a slight problem with this topic, as I have several books that I absolutely loved as a child, but after much careful thought, I decided that I'd have to go with Little Women, by Louisa M Alcott. I doubt there are many people who don't know about Little Women, but at the same time, I don't think there are too many who feel quite the way I do about it.

For me it's not only my favourite childhood book, but one of my favourite books of all time. I call it my antidepressant, as every time I'm feeling particularly down or uninspired I'll start reading the series and not stop until I'm cheered up, and so far, through biannual readings for the last fifteen years, it hasn't let me down once.

The reason I've picked it as my favourite childhood book though, is that it's the first time that I remember reading a book from cover to cover in one sitting. It was summer, as I was sat on our back doorstep, and it took me two hours to read the whole thing. When I got up I couldn't feel my legs anymore. Being brought up in a Christian household, I think that my sisters and I had a lot in common with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, and as a young child I used to use the book as a model for my own life. I think to some extent, I still do. I know that it's all very quaint, reading about girls who basically just want to be good, and who are very domestic and content to stay home with their parents until a nice young man comes to marry them, but, after years of struggling against it, I've come to accept that maybe that's a big part of who I am as well. As a child, I used to see the girls from the book as very individual and independent, as they are all very much their own people and have their own aspirations beyond wanting homes and families, and although my feminist tendencies have, on occassion, made me keep quiet about my love of this book, I've decided it's time for this to change.

Following reading it, I always have a hugely industrious fit and start embroidering tablecloths or making curtains and suchlike. The most recent reading spurred an obsession with self-sufficiency, which led to me buying a bunch of half price vegetable seeds to grow in the summer. To sum up, reading it, for me, creates only good things and always has done. It makes me happy, motivated, and energised, and so I've decided that in return for this favour, I'll stop being ashamed that it is my favourite!

I'm going to put in a short blurb about it, in case there's anyone who doesn't know the basic storyline, which I have, as usual, failed to even slightly outline in my ramblings!
This is what Goodreads have to say about it, and that's basically all there is to it:

Little Women is the heartwarming story of the March family that has thrilled generations of readers. It is the story of four sisters--Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth-- and of the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War.

Wonderful Wednesdays is a new meme hosted by Sam @ Tiny Library


  1. Thanks for taking part! :D

    I love Little Women too, and like you I see it as an anti-depressant. I've read it so many times.

    Who was your favourite March sister? I always liked Beth, and didn't like it when Laurie married Amy.

  2. Someone chided me just the other day for not having read Little Women. :) I do regreat not reading it yet, though. It is in my TBR pile along with the much newer March by Geraldine Brooks.

  3. Hi!
    I've read this book several times over the years and it still moves me. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  4. Sam, my favourite March was always Jo, and when I was a kid I always thought I'd be her, with the fact that I write and read loads and stuff. When talking about it with my sisters last night, they informed me that I'm Meg... so that'll take some adjusting to!
    I never liked it when Laurie married Amy either, but I'm getting used to it throughout the many re-reads I've been doing!

  5. What a great way to celebrate a book! It sounds like you really love it.

    This was one of the many childhood books I wished I had read but never did.