Giveaway: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

27 Oct

Despite my lack of familarity with the classics, one of my favorites is Little Women. So when I ran across the author of a new biography of Louisa May Alcott – the author who notoriously modeled Jo March after herself – at BEA in May signing copies of the book, I pretty much dropped everything and got in line. (Okay, I didn’t really drop everything because I had a lot of books and if I’d gotten someone’s toes, it would surely have broken something).

Harriet Reisen has taken a fresh look at Alcott’s life with the book Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women. Alcott had a fascinating life. The description of this biography from the Picador Web site:

A vivid, energetic account of the life of the beloved author whose work has delighted millions of readers, Louisa May Alcott portrays a writer as worthy of interest in her own right as her most famous character, Jo March, and addresses all aspects of Alcott’s life: the effect of her father’s self-indulgent utopian schemes; her family’s chronic economic difficulties and frequent uprootings; her experience as a nurse in the Civil War; the loss of her health; and her frequent recourse to opiates in searh of relief from migraines, insomnia, and symptomatic pain. Stories and details culled from Alcott’s journals; her equally rich letters to family, friends, publishers, and admiring readers; and the correspondence, journals, and recollections of her family, friends, and famous contemporaries provide the basis for this true-life rags-to-riches tale.

 Fascinating, right??

I’m not the only one that thinks so either. PBS is producing a film based on the book as part of their American Masters series (one of my favorites!). The book was originally published in hardcover last October, but the paperback was just release yesterday by Picador. And in honor of the occasion, Picador has generously offered a copy to a Home Between the Pages reader!

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment below and tell me your favorite of the March sisters. I like Jo personally (is it any surprise I’m such a fan of Alcott then?). For an extra entry, tweet the giveaway – but you have to include my twitter handle, @homebtwnpages and the handle for the book @alcottbook.

I will announce the winner next Monday, Nov. 1. Good luck to everyone!

In the meantime, check out the Facebook page, read an interview with Harriet Reisen, or read an excerpt of the book.


9 Responses to “Giveaway: Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women”

  1. Harriet Reisen October 27, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    Thanks for doing this — and all the links. The film is out (I produced it with Director Nancy Porter and wrote it) and is available at, where there are clips, interviews with people like Geraldine Brooks, and tons more.

    Jo, the writer, is of course my favorite Alcott. Amy is my sister’s, and I feel somewhat like Jo did toward her, even though she’s older.

    Best, Harriet Reisen

  2. Robin Weisenborn October 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    I cant’ wait to read this book! I loved Little Women and I think Jo is my favorite too. I can especially relate now as we both had boys!

    Thanks, Robin Weisenborn

  3. Laura/Readerwoman October 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Yes, it is true, Jo is a perennial favorite. I do identify with her in many ways. And yet I am drawn to Meg – a big sister trying to hold her family together, while creating a new family with her husband and twins. I love her personality, strong yet vulnerable and caring deeply about family.
    Can’t wait to read it!

  4. pburt October 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    My mother still has her Alcott set from when she was a little girl. I love to browse through them when I visit and recently reread Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.

    I am a big Jo fan but I too have a soft spot for Meg, her domestic struggles and how she manages to be a single mother in Little Men.

    I also think Alcott does the best death scenes. Whenever I need a good cry, I know I can pick up one of her books and be in tears when Beth or Meg’s husband dies.


  5. Natolmir October 29, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    I can’t wait to read the book! Even I love Jo, my favorite March sister is Meg, she inspires e to be strong.


  6. susanwbailey October 29, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    This book is wonderful and got me to read Little Women. It also, in part, inspired me to start a blog exclusively about Louisa May Alcott, her life and writings – come on over to – we’ve a wonderful group currently discussing Little Women and I’ve commented also on Harriet’s book and other topics. We’d love you for join our discussion!

  7. Jillian October 30, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    Oh, I’d LOVE to read this! I’ll tweet it for sure.

    My favorite sister is Jo, because she reminds me of Alcott. 🙂

    (I do like Beth, too. And, well, all the sisters. And Marmee!)

  8. LifetimeReader October 30, 2010 at 8:11 am #

    I too love Jo–but I’ve always been a Meg fan, too. I’m so looking forward to reading this book and am very happy it is out now in paperback.

  9. oh October 31, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    Typical Piscean, it’s tough to decide my favoritate sister, each likable in her way and I do like Meg yet admire Jo. Both are gutsy for different reasons and like pburt, above, I have copies of EIGHT COUSINS and LITTLE MEN and ROSE IN BLOOM – such hardy hardbacks I have from ages ago.
    OK, forced to a decision, my fave would be Meg. That’s my answer today!

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