Little Men brilliantly extends the March family saga begun in Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women. Jo---now married to the good-natured Professor Bhaer and with sons of her own---has become the unflappable matron of an extended family at Plumfield, a school that the Bhaers have founded with Aunt March's legacy. Jo's rambunctious youngsters grow up in an atmosphere full of high spirits and misadventure---a world enlivened by Alcott's unique powers of observation and sympathy.
Public Domain (P)2010 Tantor
It’s not really fair to compare "Little Men" unfavorably to "Little Women," just because they're both by the same author, but I can’t help it. "Little Men" is hardly a novel – it’s really just a series of vignettes from the lives of Jo, the professor, and the boys (and a couple of girls) at Plumfield, their school; it really has no plot to speak of. "Little Women" didn’t have much of a plot, but it certainly had more than this sequel.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy "Little Men." I really did. It’s quaint, and the stories are very nice, if a little twee. I had never read it before, and I'm glad I listened to it. Mostly, though, I found it disappointing that the rowdy tomboy, the adventuresome Jo whom I liked so much in "Little Women" would grow up to be as she is depicted in "Little Men," having sublimated her own ambitions and become so completely domesticated. Essentially, Jo turned into her sister Meg, and I wasn’t very happy about that.
The narration is good overall, although the youngest children’s voices seemed too babyish. I enjoyed the other characterizations.
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