Little Women, which traces the lives of the March sisters against the backdrop of New England during the Civil War, has never gone out of print. A century and a half after its publication, it remains a staple of American bookshelves—and those across the world. Girls still imagine which March girl they would be: responsible Meg, tomboy Jo, saintly Beth, or spoiled Amy. A new film version directed by Greta Gerwig, with Emma Watson as Meg and Saoirse Ronan as Jo, is in the works for a 2019 release.
What is it about this story that gives it such staying power, even as other classics fall out of favor? That’s a question best-selling author Geraldine Brooks has pondered over the years: In her 2006 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, March, she drew on the life of Louisa May’s father, Bronson Alcott, to imagine the idealistic, absent father of the March clan in the tumult of the Civil War. Brooks explores how Alcott’s radical parents and their progressive intellectual milieu shaped the woman, and the writer, she became.
March is available for sale and signing, as well as a special anniversary edition of Little Women.