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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

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

Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother - Eve LaPlante

Louisa May Alcott’s mother Abigail (or Marmee) gets her due by being front and center in this informative, fascinating, and sometimes heartbreaking book. Although much more has been written about Louisa’s idealistic but self-centered father Bronson Alcott, author Eve LaPlante makes a convincing case that it was her mother Louisa was closest to and most like.


Abigail was a lively, convention breaking young woman, and was at least as bent on improving the world as her husband--for instance she embraced the anti-slavery and women’s rights movements long before he did. It was Abigail who gave Louisa journals and encouraged her to write, and because Bronson was often away on trips it was Abigail who had the main responsibility for nurturing and providing for their daughters. Bronson doesn’t come across very well here, even the other Transcendentalists become disillusioned with him, and one of his roles in Louisa’s success is that since he considered himself too important for anything so crass as earning a living Louisa became an author to earn the money her family badly needed.


Marmee & Louisa provides a fascinating look at life, especially for women, in the middle years of the nineteenth century. With its communes and movements for social change, it’s an era that reminds me of the idealism and change the world passion of the late 1960’s.