I’m here at Barnes and Noble, killing time before I have to attend a work event (some of us are representing our real estate firm, Rutledge Properties (in Wellesley, MA), in a town-wide spelling bee – goodness, I hope we last at least one round! ). I figured I would see if Susan Cheever’s book, Louisa May Alcott A Personal Biography, was available for sale, and sure enough, it is. I’m going to wait until Nov. 13 in Westborough, MA to buy it because sometimes you have to buy the book in the actual store to get the author to sign it, and I would like her to sign it.
Thumbing through it, it looks interesting although I’m wondering what point of view it can offer that will equal or even surpass Madeleine Stern’s or Harriet Reisen’s excellent biographies. We shall see!
I took a few moments to read the preface (the print was deliciously big, round, and easy to read for these old eyes) where Cheevers shared her love of Little Women and her connection and identification with Jo. Her description of her tours of Orchard House carried me away because her experiences were so much like mine. What is it about Little Women and its author that creates such a strong, spiritual bond between her and her readers? Cheevers is not the first person I’ve heard describe such a strong reaction to touching the desk that Louisa wrote the classic on. I know for me, visiting Orchard House is definitely a pilgrimage.
I’m looking forward to buying my copy on the 14th. In the meantime, here are some early reviews:
Excerpt from Publisher Weekly:
“keen, refreshing and authoritative . . . Alcott was able to exemplify her belief that an unmarried woman could be intelligent, successful and, perhaps more importantly, happy. Throughout the narrative, Cheever allows Alcott’s complex humanity to reveal itself slowly, drawing the reader into her iconic life. Lively and astute.”
Speaking of Harriet, we have arranged a little surprise in honor of Bronson Alcott’s birthday coming up on November 29 . . . details coming so stay tuned! Sometime next week I will share with you a lovely conversation that I had with Harriet and something she wrote regarding her feelings for Louisa.
I am also in the middle of re-reading Kelly O’Connor McNees’ excellent novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott in lieu of an interview by email that I will be doing with her soon. I will write a review of that book when I finish which also will be soon.
My goodness, did I ever pick the perfect time to go on my Louisa reading binge after so many years!