Invicible Louisa

Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of “Little Women”

Written in 1933 the language is beautiful.  I am amazed, however, at the positive and glowing description of LMA’s father.  Her father is well known to have been a dreamer, a never-do-well, woefully inadequate as a bread-winner for the family.  The family was in constant finical distress till LMA herself began her publishing career; the strains due solely to her father’s wandering and placement of vague ideals above solid employment to support his wife and 4 children.  The hard life and the constant fear and emotional turmoil Abba (LAM’s mother) held that family together though is heart-breaking.  Honestly the author might have been better off writing a study of Bronson Alcott (LMA’s father) than of Louisa May herself; since mush of the text is devoted to his various schools and odd ambitions. 

Page 98 is the first mention of her publishing any writing and Little women, while certainly not her only noteworthy effort (not even my favorite) is not mentioned till page 200, a mere 41 pages before the end of the book.

On page 184 there is discussion Louisa having a ‘close male friend’ this is AFTER the Civil war, and LMA was born in 1832, so she was in her 30’s or 40’s by this time.  The author, then, speaks of the fact that LMA made veiled reference to lovers or admirers though out her life, but paid them to heed, so history should not attend to them either.  The author claims the earliest reference LMA herself makes to a lover is when she vas 15, I question the definition of lover a 15 year old female for a good family in the about 1845 would really have had, none the less I find it odd the biography author merely looks back on this in passing while discussion her later life.  Again this books doesn’t seem to be about LMA as much as it is about her father and the experience of the family (moving something like 25 times in 26 years) following him.

I did learn a few new facts.  For example while I knew the Alcott family was near and dear to Emerson I have no idea they also know, much less how well, the Hawthorns.  It is interesting; to look back, at the now famous people that readily exchanges addresses before any of them were a person of mention.  I also did not know she has nursed in the Civil war (inWashingtonDC) so that she had come so near to death as a result.

Overall, not that great a read.  I finished it on one hand because I am obsessive like that and rarely do NOT finish a book and secondly just almost with a morbid curiosity to see if the author ever really talked about LMA or is all of the book focused on glowing coverage of her never-do-well father.  Clearly LMA served only as a window though which to discuss her father and his theories and the tribulations he put the family though; though the author presents them all as joyous varied experiences.


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