PROFESSIONAL READING

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

352p. index. notes. photos. Norton. Aug. 2018. Tr $27.95. ISBN 9780393254730.
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RedReviewStarRioux (English, University of New Orleans; Constance Fenimore Woolson) commemorates the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women with this volume examining the novel's enduring influence. Providing a brief biography of Alcott (1832–88), who faced many hardships yet also saw fame and fortune owing to the work's immediate popularity, Rioux reports ten million copies of the book sold globally since 1868. Moreover, the story has inspired three motion pictures, a play, radio broadcasts, numerous television miniseries, a musical, and an opera, with a new miniseries and film release coming this year. Yet despite its success, critics (especially in the 20th century) have often dismissed the work and schools have ceased teaching what Rioux considers "a core text in the development of feminist literary criticism." Nevertheless, Little Women continues to influence writers and popular media such as television's Gilmore Girls, supporting Rioux's argument for the book to be taught more regularly as it continues to challenge readers.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers interested in Alcott and her masterpiece's legacy.–Erica Swenson Danowitz, Delaware County Community College Library, Media, PA

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