Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy

The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Anne Boyd Rioux (Author)


On its 150th anniversary, discover the story of the beloved classic that has captured the imaginations of generations.

Soon after publication on September 30, 1868, Little Women became an enormous bestseller and one of America’s favorite novels. Its popularity quickly spread throughout the world, and the book has become an international classic. When Anne Boyd Rioux read the novel in her twenties, she had a powerful reaction to the story. Through teaching the book, she has seen the same effect on many others.

In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women.

Alcott’s novel has moved generations of women, many of them writers: Simone de Beauvoir, J. K. Rowling, bell hooks, Cynthia Ozick, Jane Smiley, Margo Jefferson, and Ursula K. Le Guin were inspired by Little Women, particularly its portrait of the iconoclastic young writer, Jo. Many have felt, as Anna Quindlen has declared, “Little Women changed my life.”

Today, Rioux sees the novel’s beating heart in Alcott’s portrayal of family resilience and her honest look at the struggles of girls growing into women. In gauging its current status, Rioux shows why Little Women remains a book with such power that people carry its characters and spirit throughout their lives.

Book Details

  • Hardcover, Rough Front - Edge: Deckle, Feather, Uncut
  • Forthcoming August 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-25473-0
  • 6.7 × 9.6 in / 288 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

““This delightful look at a great American classic . . . tells the book’s history, explores its abiding appeal, and considers its influence on generations of readers and writers since. It goes without saying that lovers of that book will adore this book. But even those who haven’t read Little Women will enjoy learning about the literary history behind it.”” — Christian Science Monitor

“Reading Anne Boyd Rioux’s engaging Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, has made me pick up Alcott’s novel yet again with renewed insight and inspiration. Every fan of Little Women will delight in reading this book. And all the women—and men—who haven’t read the novel will race to it after reading Rioux.” — Ann Hood, author of Morningstar and The Book That Matters Most

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters masterfully peels away the layers of complexity in Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel. Reflecting astute research and scholarship, Rioux’s book is immensely entertaining and informative, and can be easily enjoyed by teachers, scholars, and the multitude of Little Women lovers around the world.” — Daniel Shealy, editor of Alcott in Her Own Time

“What a marvelous investigation of Louisa May Alcott’s slyly subversive Little Women! Anne Boyd Rioux has given us a thorough and insightful examination of the enduring appeal of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, and why generations of readers have claimed the March sisters as their own.” — Katharine Weber, author of The Little Women

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