Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women (1934)

Invincible Louisa,as the subtitle so succinctly states, is the story of the author of Little Women.  Louisa May Alcott had a difficult life.  She was born on November 29, 1832.  From a  very early age, her family lived frugally, but what they didn't have in worldly possessions they made up for in familial love.  Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a great thinker and his friends included Emerson and Thoreau.  In fact, Louisa taught the Emerson children in a little school.

With the financial straits the family seemed to perpetually be in, Louisa vowed to do all she could to help with family finances.  When she was old enough she went out on her own to earn money for the family.  She wasn't very successful at first.  "At first" being years and years.  But Louisa had determination with a capital "D".  She was never down for long.  She wrote, but didn't sell much.  She taught and was a companion for a sick girl.  She was quite an accomplished seamstress.  She had a great zest for life and interest in her fellow men.

Louisa and all her family were abolitionists.  In 1862, at age 30, in the midst of the Civil War, she volunteered to be a nurse in Washington, D.C.  She worked very hard for a month and caught typhus.  She went home very ill and was sick for months.  She never regained the health she had before her sickness.  But it was during this time that she began to be noticed as a writer.  She wrote "Hospital Sketches" about the people and circumstances of the hospital that she encountered during her work at that time.  They were very popular.

Around this time, she was approached by a publisher to write a "book for girls."  She accepted the challenge and wrote Little Women, which was a great success.  From this time on, the family did not have to worry so much about money.  Sales of the books she now wrote provided well for them.

Louisa inspires us to approach life with enthusiasm and interest.  She sets an example of love and devotion to family and appreciation for life and the experiences it affords.

Besides being a slightly boring book, I liked it. 

Meigs, Cornelia. Invincible Louise: The Story of the Author of Little Women. Little, Brown and Company, 1933.

No comments:

Post a Comment