Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott I was given this more than 30 years ago, and it never appealed, but I gave it a go when it was selected by my book group.

As most people know, it's Louisa May Alcott's semi-autobiographical account of four teenage sisters growing up in slight poverty, while their father is away at war.

The opening words alerted me to the tone: "'Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without any presents'... 'I don't think it's fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls to have nothing at all.'" Despite this, they are virtuous and generous girls (albeit, each has a little quirk: Jo is a tomboy, Amy a bit prim etc). If that doesn't tug at the heart strings enough, it is peppered with sentimentality, such as "Very few letters were written in those hard times that were not touching, especially those which fathers sent home." and "Tell us another story, mother; one with a moral". Too much cheese/saccharine for my taste, so I gave up 1/3 of the way through.

The book is of its time (Victorian), but, perhaps because it was written for young adults, there is a simplicity of language and structure that exacerbates the self-conscious self-righteousness of it. It lacks the depth, breadth and moral grey areas of more adult writers of the time, such as Dickens. That may be an unfair comparison, as he was writing for a different audience, but it nevertheless reflects my reaction.

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China MiƩville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake