February Book Review

Marmee & Louisa, The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

This month’s review
is by Lida Bushloper
Marmee & Louisa, The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott
and Her Mother,
by Eve LaPlante

Marmee & Louisa, The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother

In Marmee & Louisa, LaPlante has given us a rich but compact description of many elements of 19th century America: family life and relations, the abolitionist movement, the surge for women’s rights, religious and Utopian movements, and the attempts at educational and other reforms. LaPlante places Louisa May Alcott in the context of her times and of her particular family and the story is all the more illuminating for that. In addition to Alcott’s mother, Abigail, the Marmee of the title, two men stand out as central figures. The first is the brilliant, brave and committed abolitionist, Samuel Joseph May, Marmee’s brother. The other is Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father, a self-centered, immature, boastful ne’er-do-well, who appears to think that life’s rules don’t apply to him. Still, his apparent good nature and boundless optimism ensured that he kept the love of his family all his life. That Louisa overcame and avoided some of the harsh restrictions placed on women during her lifetime is a fitting tribute to the strong, intelligent, sensitive and passionate Marmee, whose lifetime of financial, physical and emotional struggles was relieved in the end by Louisa’s considerable earnings, only made possible by Marmee’s constant support and encouragement.

CALL # STATUS: NON FICTION 921