Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly (review #123)

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon and Schuster)
Format: Review Copy

First off, let's start with the unfortunate confession that I have not read Little Women. I don't think seeing the movie with Winona Ryder and Claire Danes counts, does it? No, I didn't think so.

But that didn't stop me from wanting to read this book or getting a little excited about it. Why not throw in a contemporary spin to the story of the March sisters? Sounds like fun.

The story centers around the Atwater family, mostly the three sisters, who are "imagined descendants" of Jo March, the strong-willed, tomboy second sister in Little Women.
It takes place in London and a discovery in the attic of the Atwater home. Lulu, the middle Atwater sister, is sent on a mission to find some family recipes for her aunt and comes across a collection of letters written by Jo.
Feeling a bit adrift with not much of a future, Lulu finds herself getting quite involved in the life of her great-great-grandmother.

Through these letters you get to experience a little of the world of the March sisters and I'm guessing the feel of Little Women. I did enjoy these parts. I am a sucker for a past and present story that holds a connection of some sort. If it's done well, it's a joy to read.

This was done fair enough. Unfortunately, I didn't really like any of the Atwater sisters. The book starts off with a very in your face, back and forth bickering dynamic between these women. I found it to be a tad annoying. Each sister had their stereotypical role; the responsible, perfect Emma, the wayward middle child, Lulu and the flighty, attention seeking baby, Sophie.

It was hard for me to really get invested as I read. Overall, it was written well enough as far as style and story. I am just such a character gal that if I don't care for you, it can ruin it for me. And that's not really anyone's fault.

I am a sentimental fool so I did like the concept of seeking wisdom from your ancestors. I certainly have done that with my own grandma. We can all learn a thing or two about finding our way and learning about ourselves, just from looking at those that came before us.

Review: 3/6
This one does not come too highly recommended by me, which doesn't happen too often. But I do think it was just me and my preference for more likable characters. They just didn't stick with me. I think there is an audience for this book whether you are a curious Little Women fan or just wanting a bit of a family drama.

Book Club Pick?
I think the tie to Little Women could generate some good conversation. I know there are certainly many fans of that book and I'd be curious to see what fans would think of this fictional tale.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Misha said...

Little Women is my favorite classic! That's the only reason why I want to read this book. I am really sorry to hear that the characters aren't likable, considering they are the descendants of Jo March, who was my favorite character in Little Women. I guess I will still give this book a try because of sheer curiosity.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I must fall in love with the characters as well. I imagine this one wouldn't work for me. I enjoyed your review :)

Mystica said...

I loved Little Women from the time I was a teenager to right now! This book is of course as to be expected not available in Melbourne so I was glad to read your review. I also read a bit about it today in the meme Mailbox Monday on another blog.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention and for your honest review.

Rachel said...

That is too bad you didn't like this one too much. I love the original.

Sheila Deeth said...

Sounds like it might be an interesting book club book. Nicet o read your review. And I read Little Women while recovering from an appendix operation as a child.