6 thoughts on “A working girl in New York: Louisa M Alcott’s Good Wives

  1. I found Professor Bhaer a great disappointment when I was, what, 10 – although later I rationalised that Jo was a strong and off-beat personality whom a conventional partner wouldn’t have suited. Also he is a refugee and is bringing up his nephews. But alas, still boring – and hairy.

    By coincidence I’ve just been reading Katy whom I adore. I only borrowed Clover and In the High Valley from the library, so I look forward to being reminded about them.

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    1. I hope it’s not too late to reply to this post, which was written three years ago. After seeing the film, I’ve also been having another look at the books, and I found your post when looking for comments about “the merry little quadroon”. As you said, he only appears briefly (and without a name) at the end of “Good Wives”, and after that never again. Basically, he’s a symbol rather than a person. On the other hand, it must be said that her own father ran an experimental school, and according to Wikipedia “he alienated parents in a later “parlor school” by admitting an African American child to the class, whom he then refused to expel in the face of protests”.

      Apart from that, like you I reread the Katy series some years ago, including the last two books “Clover” and “In the High Valley”. I first read them when I was about 11 and was disappointed by them, but as an adult I found them fascinating, with their descriptions of life in the American west. The problem is that the books about Katy grow up together with the characters, so that while a child can enjoy the earlier books, by the end of the series the books are too adult, in the sense that the themes are not of interest to a child. Same problem as with the Harry Potter series!

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  2. “The real point of letting Jo go to New York alone, apart from letting her meet her future husband, is so that she can try out being a professional writer with only her own judgement and initiative to help her.” – So true!! I like the fact that she tries out her own way, that she meets people to put in her stories, and that she goes to New York also partly to get away from Laurie (so that he might come to love Beth, who Jo thinks at this point loves him).

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