Friday, 25 March 2016

Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Jo's Boys is the final instalment in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women series.

It's an odd mix of nostalgia, religion and morality.

It's probably the least satisfying of the four stories, but somehow indispensable for its heart-warming conclusion.

We see our original little women all grown, married with children of their own. We see the little men approaching adulthood, establishing careers and falling in love.

Trials and tribulations are met with stoic understanding, forgiveness and patience. Mistakes are made, wrongs turns taken and embarrassments, small and large afflict all our favourites.

Throughout all, the comforts of family life, natural living and unswerving belief reigns supreme.

The morality tales are laid on pretty think in Jo's Boys and one gets the feeling that Alcott was keen to be done with the March family by the end of this book. The adult relationships are not as convincingly drawn as are those of her younger people, which alienates us a little from the grown-up Jo, Meg and Amy.

Jo's Boy's, perhaps more than the other three books, heavily reflects many of the events and philosophies of Alcott's own upbringing and life.
A chapter is devoted to the trials of being a famous writer and many sections discuss the rights of women and the purpose of education.

But, ultimately, like Alcott, we are relieved to come to the end of this sweet series. There were times when the sweetness was overdone and almost tipped over into preaching.
It was time to finally bid a fond farewell to these much loved characters.

My Little Women review
My Good Wives review
My Little Men review

This post is part of my Women's Classic Literature Challenge.

4 comments:

  1. I felt much the same about Jo's Boys, especially the bit about feeling alienated from the women. I really prefer to think of them as they were at the end of Little Women - I re-read it from time to time but don't have much desire to read the others again.

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    1. Little Women and Good Wives are the far superior books in this series, without a doubt.
      Some of Jo's boys are great characters - it's hard not to love the wild one - Dan - as much as Jo and Teddy do, but she doesn't bring them to life in quite the same way she did the young March girls.

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  2. That was the point 'sweetness was overdone and almost tipped over into preaching' that annoyed me in Little Women.
    LW did get better one Jo became a young woman. (last quarter of the book).
    Congrats completing the series!

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    1. The sweetness/preaching elements in LW and GW can irritate at times, but it usually has the more positive effect of instilling in me the desire to be a better person :-)

      However Jo's Boys was over the top and dare I say, annoying, in it's preaching. I didn't wish to emulate them as they felt too unreal...I had to resist the urge to throw the book across the room instead!

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