eight cousins and rose in bloom

The first time I tried to read Little Women — in the fourth or fifth grade, I think — I didn’t get it.  Here was this supposedly great book, and for some reason, it didn’t take.  I put it away and went on to something else (probably another installment of the Baby Sitters’ Club).  But somewhere along the way, I tried again and fell in love with the world Louisa May Alcott wrote about and the characters that inhabit it.  I think this was sometime during high school, because around the same time, the film adaptation with Winona Ryder became one of my favorite movies.  (It’s possible that the movie inspired a rereading of the book, but I don’t remember for sure.)  And not long after, I discovered Little Men and Jo’s Boys, which I have come to adore just as much (if not more).  But for some reason, I never before tried reading any of Alcott’s other work.

Over the last few weeks, though, I’ve been caught up in her world again.  After receiving a beautiful copy of Rose in Bloom for my birthday, I sought out digital versions of it and its prequel, Eight Cousins (which are in the public domain, by the way, and therefore available free online).  Just as Little Women did, these two books pulled me entirely into another time and place: one filled with families and laughter and music and books.

It’s fitting that Little Women is about a family of sisters, and Eight Cousins about, well, cousins; the depth of character development in the former set of books allows for the feeling of the characters as immediate family, which doesn’t quite hold true for the latter. But although our protagonist, the orphaned Rose, and her seven doting male cousins are not developed quite as intricately as Jo and her sisters, their stories are every bit as charming as those of the Marches.  And as with Little Women and its sequels, it’s a pleasure to be able to move from childhood to adulthood with the characters that do come to feel like relatives.

Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth have long been among my favorite fictional friends to visit again and again; I think I can safely say that their fellow Rose will likely be joining these ranks as well.

WHO: Louisa May Alcott
WHAT: Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom
WHERE: Public domain downloads from Amazon
WHEN: October/November 2009
WHY: Intrigue sparked by a lovely birthday present
HOW: Ebook format, on my Kindle iPhone app

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~ by Molly on November 10, 2009.

3 Responses to “eight cousins and rose in bloom”

  1. I loved these books as a kid…Thanks for the reminder, it is time to revisit

  2. I am a huge fan of these books, and first read them at about 9. I cried so hard over Rose in Bloom that my father was very disturbed and asked my mother what I was reading. He was surprised to hear it was LMA (in fact, his own mother’s childhood copies, all that survived her death when he was 6).

    Come to Boston – I will take you to Concord!

  3. Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom were my first LMA visits, a little easier than Little Women for me as a sixth grader. They became my comfort books for years. I love Alcott’s radical philosophies that a woman should know how to control her own financial assets, wear clothes that would allow her to jump out of the way of a runaway carriage, and develop a social conscience. You crazy lady, Louisa! What next, the vote??

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