All Things Alcott Challenge

I joined Margot’s challenge back in April, full of good intentions to re-read some of Louisa May Alcott’s books and to read Eden’s Outcasts: the Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson, which has been on my bookshelves since last year. It was only yesterday that I suddenly realised that it’s nearly December 31 and I haven’t read a single book for this challenge. Better late than never, I began reading Eden’s Outcasts. There’s no way I’ll finish it by the end of December (what with Christmas in between) but at least I’ve started it.

It begins with Bronson Alcott, who was born in 1799. Yesterday the Booking Through Thursday question was about books that change your life and I couldn’t specify just one book or even pick out a few. Bronson Alcott had no such difficulty. For him it was The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It captivated Bronson:

He called it his ‘dear delightful book” and later claimed that it was his most efficient teacher and the dictionary by which he learned the English tongue. … [he wrote] “It is associated with reality. It unites me with my childhood and seems to chronicle my Identity. How I was rapt in it. (page 18)

If I remember correctly The Pilgrim’s Progress features strongly in Little Women, so it seems he passed on to Louisa his love for the book. I can see that I will be getting Little Women out to read again very soon. This is one reason I like ‘challenges’ – they spur me on to read new books and to re-read old favourites.

I expect this will be my last post until after Christmas, so I wish everyone who reads my blog a very Merry Christmas.

6 thoughts on “All Things Alcott Challenge”

  1. I loved all the Little Women series of books, and read and re-read them as a child. I read ‘Behind a Mask’ by Alcott a few years ago and loved it – very different to LW! Hope you have/had a wonderful Christmas. Bx


  2. Oh, I so loved Little Women and all the LMA books as a child, so naturally I signed up for this challenge, too. I enjoyed rereading Little Women, and I was happy to realize that I still loved it! Yes, Pilgrim’s Progress shows up in the chapter titles and the “lessons” learned by the girls.

    I also got to read for the first time The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and The Woman Behind Little Women…both very good. It was amazing to me how, when LMA fictionalized her family moments, she seemingly swept those moments with brush strokes of “gold,” recalling or portraying everything in its kinder version. She didn’t show the Father in Little Women as a father who pretty much left the family to pursue his own goals, but left the fictional father with all of the characteristics she admired in her own father.

    Maybe that’s just as well.


  3. I’m dying to read Eden’s Outcasts too but I have so many other books I’m engrossed in right now. I’ve been fascinated with Louisa since my childhood but only read Little Women this year, can you imagine? I’ve been blogging about Louisa since August and would love to have you all come over for a visit (some of you already have :-)) – we have a lively little community. The address is


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