LOUISA MAY ALCOTT by Louisa May Alcott


Her Girlhood Diary
by & edited by & illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 14
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 A few revealing fragments: excerpts from the diary Alcott started at ten; her mother's responses to it; Louisa's own comments, added as an adult (when she destroyed much of the original diary); letters; and parallel quotes from Little Women (pairing Beth's death with Alcott's account of her sister Lizzie's--the only entry dating from her 20s--is particularly poignant; in its simplicity and directness, the diary is even more eloquent). In step with recent biographers, Ryan's commentary and selections present the Alcott family as troubled: Bronson's vaunted Socratic method is seen as virtual bullying, his wife's exhaustion such that Louisa's lifelong ambition was to alleviate her toil, and Louisa herself bedeviled with the impossibility of being ``good'' (suppressing her emotions). Still, Little Women is not an untruth; it's one side of a complex story, and Ryan makes it clear that the Alcotts were creative, loyal, and genuinely affectionate. Graham's rather misty, generalized paintings reflect the sunnier side and--while pretty- -don't do justice to Alcott's and Ryan's honesty. Attractive, enlightening, carefully wrought. Chronology; sources; index. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8167-3139-X
Page count: 56pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1993


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