Another ten years have passed and Jo and Fritz’ school is now a college and the cast of characters ever widens. I definitely appreciated Jo’s Boys on the same level as Little Women. Whereas Little Men solely served as a bridge between the two and an introduction to the future brave and generous men of Jo’s Boys.
However, as with Little Men, Dan and Nan were my favorite characters. Nan continues to be a spitfire character and has proven she is equal to any man by going to medical school. She has to contend with Teddy’s lifelong adoration, but she takes it in stride. Dan is just as untamable as ever and has by far the most intriguing story of the lot. He comes from the lowest background and falls the farthest, but picks himself back up as well, providing a great mini-story within the novel.
Whereas in Little Women, Alcott got a bit preachy, I believe it came across that way because of how early it was in here career. She wrote Jo’s Boys nearly 18 years after writing Little Women and you can see her ideas and politics have evolved and she is significantly more outspoken than she was in the first two novels, especially concerning education of and the proper place of women in society.
While I was at home for the holidays, my aunt told me there were additional novels that are loosely connected to these three, but I doubt I will read them. I like Alcott’s writing, but not enough to sort them out. I’m hoping by the end of this week to write a review of Geraldine Brook’s March, a prequel/fan-fiction novel which one the Pulitzer Prize in 2006.
Recommendation: If you read Little Men, you have to read Jo’s Boys because it is a better novel, but even better it wraps up what you learned and you learn the fates of most of the characters of Little Women.
Opening Line: ‘If anyone had told me what wonderful changes were to take place here in ten years, I wouldn’t have believed it,’ said Mrs Jo to Mrs Meg, as they sat on the piazza at Plumfield one summer day, looking about them with faces full of pride and pleasure.
Closing Line: “And now, having endeavoured to suit everyone by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness fo things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall for ever on the March family.” (Whited out.)
Quotes from Jo’s Boys
“‘That’s a bargain! I do think people ought to see their own country before they go scooting off to foreign parts, as if the new world wasn’t worth discovering,’ began Dan ready to bury the hatchet.
It has some advantages, but not all. The women of England can vote, and we can’t. I’m ashamed of America that she isn’t ahead in all good things,’ cried Nan, who held advanced views on all reforms, and was anxious about her rights, having had to fight for some of them.”(Loc. 839)
“They all seemed to feel that life was beginning to grow serious; and even while they enjoyed those lovely summer days together they were conscious that they were children no longer, and often in the pauses of their fun talked soberly of their plans and hopes, as if anxious to know and help one another before they drifted farther apart on their different ways.” (Loc. 968)
“‘I am ready to do anything about books, if it’s only to dust them,’ laughed Demi, well pleased with his prospects, for, after trying various things, he seemed at last to have found the sort of work he liked, and a prospect that was very inviting to him.
‘You inherit that love of books from grandpa; he can’t live without them. I’m glad of it. Tastes of that kind show a refined nature, and are both a comfort and a help all one’s life.” (Loc.1982)
“Others cared only for the mental culture, and were in danger of over studying, under the delusion which pervades New England that learning must be had at all costs, forgetting that health and real wisdom are better.” (Loc. 2958)