March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women: A Library of America Special Publication

Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado

March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women: A Library of America Special Publication
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March Sisters: On Life, Death, and Little Women: A Library of America Special Publication

Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado

On its 150th anniversary, four acclaimed authors offer personal reflections on their lifelong engagement with Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of girlhood and growing up.

For the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Kate Bolick, Jenny Zhang, Carmen Maria Machado, and Jane Smiley explore their strong lifelong personal engagement with Little Women–what it has meant to them and why it still matters.

Each takes as her subject one of the four March sisters, reflecting on each particular sister’s story and what it has to teach us. Bolick writes about how the depiction of Meg as the “ideal woman” reveals Alcott’s dim views of marriage and planted seeds in Bolick’s own young mind. Zhang, unlike many readers, considered Jo her least favorite sister as a girl, and writes about how Jo eventually won her heart. Machado brings her SF and horror sensibilities to a unique perspective on Beth, “dead & pure girl extraordinaire”; and Smiley, who considers Amy the most captivating sister, writes about Amy’s evolution into the responsibilities of adulthood from the perspective of Smiley’s own experience of motherhood.

These four voices come together to form a deep, funny, far-ranging meditation on the power of great literature to shape our lives.

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