Saturday, November 03, 2007


Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cornelia Meigs wrote "Invincible Louisa" in 1933 and it really is a product of its times. I found the prose a little too childish for my tastes even though I usually really like children's books. The atmosphere is very sunny even though Louisa May Alcott lived in poverty for much of her life. Anyone who enjoyed "Little Women" would like reading of the family who served as Alcott's inspiration. The Alcott's were a close-knit, loving family who enjoyed life to the fullest even though they didn't live in the best of circumstances. Louisa' father, Bronson, experimented with education techniques, many of which are still in use today, and transcendentalism. For a couple of years, the family lived in a sort of commune which failed in the end. Louisa associated with such exalted literary figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's obvious from reading this biography how much Jo is modeled after her creator and her efforts in trying to care for her family through her writing. There were several things I learned by reading this book:
1. The Alcott's lived for two years in the Wayside, Hawthorne's future home, before buying the Orchard house, where they lived for many years. Louisa hated this house because they were in the process of renovating it before moving in when her sister, Elizabeth, died.
2. Louisa served as an army nurse for one month before contracting typhoid fever which forced her to return home and from which she never fully recovered.
3. Louisa died at the age of 56 just two days after her father. She outlived her mother and father, two sisters and sister, Anna's, husband.
4. When her youngest sister died a month after giving birth to Louisa's namesake, Lulu was sent to be raised by her aunt. Louisa also adopted Anna's youngest son so that he could inherit all the copyrights to her books.
Louisa May Alcott was a fascinating person and Meigs obviously admired her a great deal. Much of the content of the book was garnered from journals which added greatly to the details, but, since this is a small book, much had to have been left out. I would be interested in reading a more adult biography. Maybe David McCullough could tackle this.
Rating: 3.75
Posted by Framed at 6:42 PM

Cassie said...
How interesting. I really should give biographies more of try. It should be more interesting to me to know that this stuff actually happened.
7/31/2007 8:12 AM
Tristi Pinkston said...
I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Louisa -- but was heartbroken to find that Laurie wasn't a real person. Sniff.
7/31/2007 11:59 AM
Framed said...
I always hated that Amy got Laurie in the end so I guess, for me, it's good he's fictional.
7/31/2007 6:47 PM
heidijane said...
This is just to let you know that I've tagged you for the "Blogging Tips" meme. Please don't feel obliged, but I think its quite useful really...
8/01/2007 12:43 PM
Framed said...
Chris had already tagged me for this meme. I posted it on my other blog, "Life's a Picture." Click on the link in my sidebar that says me. I've read some tips on other blogs that were very helpful.

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