I have so been enjoying finally reading Invinsible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs. While this biography of Louise May Alcott is found in the children’s section of the library, it has been so engaging for me. Mrs. Meigs does an lovely job of painting a picture of Louisa’s life, family, and surroundings. It took me a few weeks to get it from the library but I think that is has been worth the wait.
“Louisa’s heart stood still at the very thought. Few children loved their parents and each other as did the little Alcotts. They had so little else, but they at least had one another! Louisa’s strong, warm nature held passionately to her dreaming father, to her devoted, toil-driven mother, to the two smaller ones, gentle spirited Elizabeth and May of the vigorous will. She had the feeling that she wanted to protect them as well as to love them. She knew, even in her child’s mind, that her mild, visionary father, with his great ideas, needed them all to help keep him safely in the path of ordinary life. Charles Lane might insist that for the sake of a tremendous purpose a man ought to give up such small things as family love, loyalty, and devotion to one’s own. He did not know that it us upon such things that the very structure of life is built. It was in those dark and desperate days that Louisa learned to know the truth of what family life should be, learned it and never forgot.” p54
I must confess….I have never read Little Women. If I read it as a child, I do not recall it. However, Little Women has been well-loved by a few of my girls and Alcott’s other works are read and listened to frequently by my oldest. As I read this biography, I definitely feel that I have short changed myself a bit. If I can squeeze in some extra reading time, I think Alcott will find her way into my stack of books.
“The house had eight outside doors, so that as they were settling to the table, or to read about the lamp in the low-ceilinged sitting room, a rap somewhere would send every member of the family flying, each one to a separate door, to admit the arriving friend. It was there, with a great deal of flurry and fluttering, that the household sat down at last, that evening of the moving-in. Anna had been busy in the kitchen; Louisa had kindled crackling fires in the numerous fireplaces. The smaller children were washed, and Bronson came out from the congenial task of unpacking his books. Around the table there began a hilarious account of the adventures of the day, each person having her own joke to tell of the absurd mishaps which go with moving, of the things which were lost and broken, of the lack of things which could not be had in a household where money was still as scarce as good spirits were abundant. ” p61
I love this picture. We once lived in a house that was, years ago, a boarding house. Every room in the house had an outside door. I can just imagine the same commotion for our family if knocks had been heard at the door. The love in the Alcott family shines through in little glimpses such as the above.
I think that reading this biography before reading Little Women is going to create a richer experience perhaps?