Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

by Anne Boyd Rioux


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On its 150th anniversary, discover the story of the beloved classic that has captured the imaginations of generations.

Soon after publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America’s favorite novels. Its popularity quickly spread throughout the world, and the book has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read the novel in her twenties, she had a powerful reaction to the story. Through teaching the book, she has seen the same effect on many others.

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.

Alcott’s novel has moved generations of women, many of them writers: Simone de Beauvoir, J. K. Rowling, bell hooks, Cynthia Ozick, Jane Smiley, Margo Jefferson, and Ursula K. Le Guin were inspired by Little Women, particularly its portrait of the iconoclastic young writer, Jo. Many have felt, as Anna Quindlen has declared, “Little Women changed my life.”

Today, Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in Alcott’s portrayal of family resilience and her honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, Rioux shows why Little Women remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393254730
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/21/2018
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 186,177
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Anne Boyd Rioux, a professor at the University of New Orleans, the author of Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a Lady Novelist, and the editor of Miss Grief and Other Stories, has received two National Endowment for the Humanities Awards, one for public scholarship. She lives in New Orleans.

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Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
susanbailey More than 1 year ago
Most important work on Little Women in years Disclaimer: I was sent an advance copy by the publisher to review. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of a classic read by millions around the globe. Written by Louisa May Alcott, a writer under duress fulfilling the assignment of an insistent publisher, Little Women, in the words of Anne Boyd Rioux is the “paradigmatic book about growing up, especially for the female half of the population.” Her latest book, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, tells the story of Alcott’s enduring work as well as its impact on the lives of millions of readers.After reading Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy I better understand the genius of Little Women: why it has resonated with so many readers, and why it still remains relevant today. Rioux, a professor of English at the University of New Orleans is that rare academic who can combine meticulous research with a writing style that appeals to a broad range of readers. The work is succinct and appealing, providing more than enough information to satisfy the scholar while engaging the mainstream reader. I was delighted with Rioux’s many sharp and surprising insights not only about Little Women, but of the Alcott family as well. She brings fresh ideas to Alcott scholarship. I highly recommend the reading of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy. Read it first for pleasure and then go back a second time and study it with care. Anne Boyd Rioux has captured the genius of Alcott’s classic, demonstrating without question why Little Women still matters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You don't have to be a diehard fan of Little Women to enjoy this fascinating book about the novel's history and enduring legacy. Deeply researched and an engaging read from start to finish! So many surprises and wow moments. It reminds me of what Joseph Campbell writes about in The Power of Myth. The author, Anne Boyd Rioux, shows how Little Women is one of those powerful universal stories that we go back to again and again for inspiration and illumination of who we are as individuals and a society. How many other novels have held our imaginations like this for 150 years? After reading this book, I have a whole new appreciation for Little Women and its impact on our culture. Highly recommended.
sbdorsey More than 1 year ago
After 150 years, Little Women matters and so does this book! I am still in the first section of this wonderful book! Anne Boyd Rioux has given us all a treasure, so I am not speeding through it, but savoring the drama unfolding and the deft infolding of sources of the time. Rioux is highlighting LIttle Women in a timely fashion. #metoo and 150 years are only a couple of the reasons you should read this book! Thank you, Anne!
KariMiller More than 1 year ago
I have loved Little Women ever since I was a little girl, and I’ve re-read it frequently over the last 30+ years. Each time, I take something new away from the text, either because I connect with a different character or because I have new life experiences that make me read it in a new way. When you love a novel this much, sometimes you’re afraid to hear other opinions or information about it, for fear that might take away some of the magic for you. That is not at all the case with Anne Boyd Rioux’s book. Rioux’s work only enhances my appreciation of Little Women and its author, Louisa May Alcott. I highly recommend this book for all types of readers, from those who have never read Little Women to those who are obsessed with it.