Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Reading in Retrospect: "Under the Lilacs" by Louisa May Alcott
If you're like me, the name Louisa May Alcott brings to mind Little Women and not much else. You may know about Little Men and Jo's Boys (unfortunately I can't remember for sure if I've read one or both of those). But when Under the Lilacs caught my eye at the library a few years ago, it was a delight to find it was authored by Alcott.
This was a sweet little story. I could see why it was not one of Alcott’s better-known classics, but I still enjoyed it. It was a little slow to start but was a pleasant read. At the time, I thought I might recommend it to my book-loving child when she got a little older. I'm glad to be reminded of that thought, because I think she's at the perfect age to read it now.
Mrs. Moss, who has two young daughters named Bab and Betty, is a caretaker for a large old house that has been shut up for some time. They take in young Ben and his dog Sancho who have run away from the circus. Not long after, Miss Celia and her brother Thorny, wealthy orphans, move back in to the house that Mrs. Moss cares for. Everyone is great friends and has grand adventures, like putting on a play (an Alcott staple) or walking to the next town to watch a circus. I can't remember how the book ends, but I have no doubt it was happy, one way or another.
You can download a free e-text copy of this book from Project Gutenberg, or listen to the free audio version from LibriVox. Or borrow it from my local library. I wouldn't call it a must-read for the garden-variety adult reader, and any true Alcott fan is probably already aware of this title, but the little girl in your life might appreciate being introduced to it.