No young woman can read this book without relating to it in some way. Alcott brings her readers through the highest points of joy, the lowest valleys of disappointment, fear, happiness, triumph, confusion, and sadness. There is nothing perverse or questionable which make it appropriate for readers of all ages. Though the focus remains on the four March sisters, Alcott provides lovable male leads as well: the boyish Laurie, firm yet tender John, and playfully sophisticated Friedrich Bhaer. Every character has some charming quality. It is obvious that this piece is largely autobiographical. Alcott was always quite open about the experiences of her life that formed the structure for this piece. The sermons Alcott must have heard by being the daughter of one of America's most famous preachers pop up all through the novel as the girls face different situations. These lessons are not overly preachy, however. She presents them gently though the mild and wise mother, Mrs. March and quiet father, Rev. March. From loss of loved ones to botched engagements to earning her own way in life, the novel is truly a fictionalized time line of her life. Every girl can put herself in the shoes of at least one of the sisters. Josephine, the most independent and strong-willed of them is, is the most widely favored. Her transformation from awkward tomboy to successful writer, wife, and mother while retaining her individuality is nothing if not encouraging. Alcott also addresses issues about motherhood, marriage, ethics, romance, money, and career planning. There is something in the novel for everyone as it touches on all of the basic experiences of life.
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