April 30, 2013 — “Fact, fiction and in-between: Reading Louisa May Alcott with discernment”
©2013 Susan W. Bailey
(formerly titled “Game Changer: How one book changed my perspective on history”)
Abstract: Louisa May Alcott mined her own family history extensively for her most successful books. In reflecting upon the writing of Little Women she remarked that “we really lived most of it.” It is why her writing continues to resonate with millions of readers around the world. The question however is just how much of her writing can we take at face value? When did real life end and the fiction begin?
A critical reading of an historical novel called The Glory Cloak by Patricia O’Brien challenged me to read with an open mind, allowing me to probe and question the words on the page. Can an author take license with facts for the sake of the story? Should they? When does the story become the priority over the facts? How does this apply to how I read the works of Louisa May Alcott? These are the questions addressed in this essay, “Game Changer: How One Book Changed My Perspective on History.”
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