Beach Read Of The Day

by Joseph Russell · July 17, 2008

louisa may alcottI know most of you've read this, or at least seen the movie, but it is the sort of book you can read again and again and again, to yourself, to your children, to your grandchildren. My little sister is reading it right now, in between spurts of Gossip Girl: You Know You Love Me, and I've been stealing it during my lunch breaks. In case you haven't read it, or your memory's blurring, Little Women is the story of four sisters and their mother, set in America during the Civil War.

Each of the sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, has a distinct and well-fleshed out personality (growing up I fluctuated between being the slightly vain but fun-loving Meg and the stubborn, impassioned Jo), and the book follows them from adolescence through their twenties. There's plenty of heartache, humor, and joy, and while the narration is third person, it's close enough to really make you feel the characters. Occasionally, Alcott can be a bit preachy, but nowhere near as much as she is in her other stories. If you're not in a bookish mood, the movie -starring Susan Sarandon, a young Winona Ryder and a younger Kirsten Dunst, ain't half bad either.