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Jo's Boys

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Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo’s Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. [Bantam Classics Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo’s Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. [Bantam Classics Synopsis]


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Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo’s Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. [Bantam Classics Beginning ten years after Little Men, Jo’s Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo remains at the center of the tale, surrounded by her boys—including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musician Nat—as they experience shipwreck and storm, disappointment and even murder. [Bantam Classics Synopsis]

30 review for Jo's Boys

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elevetha

    The book, ladies and gentlemen: (I very much tried to make everything chronological. Anything that isn't, such as Josie whining about acting or whenever the Professor decides to grace the world with his presence, is completely due to my lack of remembrance and also my utter lack of desire to go back through the entire book, rather than skimming for the important bits, as I am already doing.) Professor: *chortles* Plumfield: If everybody could just stop acting in plays here, that'd be great. Nan: The book, ladies and gentlemen: (I very much tried to make everything chronological. Anything that isn't, such as Josie whining about acting or whenever the Professor decides to grace the world with his presence, is completely due to my lack of remembrance and also my utter lack of desire to go back through the entire book, rather than skimming for the important bits, as I am already doing.) Professor: *chortles* Plumfield: If everybody could just stop acting in plays here, that'd be great. Nan: ERMAGERSH I WANT TO BE A SINGLE DOCTOR LEAVE ME ALONE TOM Tom: But I love you. Me: Damn, they'd be a cute couple. Mrs. Jo: I shall sit down for a few quiet minutes of writing. Random citizens: LET'S MOB THE AUTHOR, DEMAND AUTOGRAPHS, AND STEAL SMALL TRINKETS. Mrs. Jo: I've had just about enough of this. *pretends to be a maid* Observant fanatic: WHY YOU MUST BE THAT AUTHOR. Mrs. Jo: *objects on principle that she's pretending to be a maid* Observant fanatic: No, you're not. Your picture is right there, on the side table. Mrs. Jo: *sullen glare* Josie: *whines about acting* Mrs. Jo: STOP TRYING TO MAKE "ACTING" HAPPEN, JOSIE. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Dan: *arrives* All the ladies: *swoon* Me: Oh, wow, these next two chapters are boring. Ted: I'll just try and kill this here dog. For fun. Because I suck. Rob: *gets bit defending dog and might get rabies from Don, who probably doesn't have rabies but how are they to know that?* Don: *definitely has rabies* Nan: Why are the women always fixing your messes? Oh, that's right, because we're better than you are. Ugh. Professor: I say, what a jolly good joke. Mrs. Jo: Hahahahahahahaha, why aren't we punishing Ted, dearest? Professor: Because I'm a worthless character. I'm not even sure why I'm in this book or why you're married to me. *chortles* Mrs. Jo: Oh. Right. Josie: *almost drowns but totally succeeds in getting an actress to watch her act at a later date* Josie: Totes worth it. *coughs up water* Josie: *tries to act* Miss Cameron: You're cute but I don't hold out much hope for your acting abilities. Miss Cameron: *glorifies Shakespeare* Me: *le sigh* Tom: Um. I fear I have accidentally gotten myself engaged. Mrs. Jo: WHA- Tom: BUT SHE'S PRETTY, SO IT'S OKAY. I'M OKAY. IT'S FINE. Mrs. Jo: I'm sorry, wha- Tom: No, really. I'm embarrassed, sure, and lamenting that Nan isn't jealous, but I can live with this. Mrs. Jo: But how on earth did you manage to get "accidentally" engaged? Tom: .... Tom: It involved bicycles. Me: Well, there goes that ship. Demi: *gets a job or something but no one really cares* Emil: I'm so THANKFUL that I got shipwrecked with this gorgeous girl who I got to save and spend all this time with because we literally got shipwrecked, and yeah sure, there are other people on this tiny boat but the important bit is that we're totally getting engaged by the end of this book all thanks to this shipwreck. #BESTSHIPWRECKEVER Dan: *kills someone* Professor: *chortles* (Of course, he couldn't have known that Dan killed someone. There was something amusing in the paper.) Dan: *rots in prison* Nat: *does something musically inclined over the New Year or something but no one really cares* Plumfield: SERIOUSLY WHAT'S WITH ALL THE PLAYS? Chapter 16: All I am is flirting. Mrs. Jo: There'll be none of- Chapter 16: FLIRT Mrs. Jo: -that. Chapter 16: YOU CAN'T STOP THE FLIRT. Mrs. Jo: *glares* Chapter 16: *whimpers* Chapter 17: I am a large sewing circle and some education and I am all about the girls yay! *feebly waves flag* Chapter 18: Um, I'm not really sure what "Class Day" is all about, but Emil comes back here, announcing his engagement so that's cool. Emil: #BESTSHIPWRECKEVER Dan: I am home. And also damaged. But maybe a better person? Hard to tell. Dan: Also, I think I am in love with Bess. Me: They would also be a cute couple. Maybe if they got together, this book wouldn't have been the biggest waste of my time. Mrs. Jo: Oh, dear heavens, no. Her mum isn't fond of you. Dan: *spends years loving Bess, his guiding star, until he dies* Louisa's ghost: Haha, did you see what I did there? Any hope you ever had of anyone getting together with whom they should get together DIED along with Dan hahaha. Me: Go away, you're dead. Louisa's ghost: AND SO'S YOUR HOPE. *fades away laughing manically* THE END.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈

    My A-Z challenge for the year with the lovely and vivacious Karly and Kristin has officially begun! A is for Alcott Read a book that is over 100 years old Let the games begin.... I always find that reviewing an Alcott book is a bit difficult. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with her. I read Little Women only a few years ago at the request of my mother who loved it, but didn't like the other two books in the series. And honestly, I agree with her. Little Women though moralistic and preachy, My A-Z challenge for the year with the lovely and vivacious Karly and Kristin has officially begun! A is for Alcott Read a book that is over 100 years old Let the games begin.... I always find that reviewing an Alcott book is a bit difficult. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with her. I read Little Women only a few years ago at the request of my mother who loved it, but didn't like the other two books in the series. And honestly, I agree with her. Little Women though moralistic and preachy, is a very beautiful and tender story about the lives of four sisters and how those lives grow and change every year, into adulthood, and marriage, and motherhood, but that sisterly bond that they have remains strong and steadfast despite the change and distance time has placed on it. Little Men is basically about the students at the school that Jo and her husband have founded, and though there are some sweet and touching moments in that one, I found the complete and utter lack of an ongoing plot rather boring, and as most of the stories contained in it are about the everyday lives of children, I found the whole thing kind of dull. Now in Jo's Boys, the preaching and moralistic side of Alcott is in full force, but I admit, I enjoyed this one much better than the second installment. I will break it down into Pros and Cons. PROs: I still love Jo. She is such an intelligent and witty character, and Alcott has always written her with a lot of depth. Her relationship with her much older husband, Fritz, is absolutely beautifully portrayed here, and I think their brief tender moments beat out any Nicholas Sparks insta-love romance fest any day. The way she cares for the boys and girls at the college she founded is very sweet, and her relationships with many of them are actually very endearing. She was by a mile, my favorite part of this book. Dan. Dan. Dan. Dan. Dan. I absolutely love the character of Dan, who was the iconic "bad boy" of Book 2. We see him as an adult in this one, and I completely fell in love with his rugged outdoorsy good looks, and his boyish charm. He still has the "bad boy" thing going on, but Dan has matured, and has a strong will to do something positive with his life, one that his adoptive mother, Jo, can be proud of him for. I longed to read his chapters, and I only wish he were a bigger presence in this book. There is much more of a ongoing plot in this one, unlike Little Men, even though stories of each character make up that plot. I found it much more engaging, and a lot less boring that its predecessor. I loved Amy and Laurie's daughter Bess and Meg's daughter Josie, and thought they were amazing counterparts to younger Amy and Jo from book 1. Bess is a wonderful artist and Josie is a very talented actress, and I love that Alcott wrote about two such female characters who pursued and were successful in the arts, particularly during a time when women were not as successful in those endeavors. Ok, now for the CONS I really really really don't like what Alcott did to Meg's character. I admit that Meg was always my least favorite of the Little Women, but she is so god-awful in this one I wanted to punch her in the face. She is so moralistic and preachy, and wants her children to be and do exactly what she wants them to do and not what they want to do. She forbids Daisy to marry Nat even though THEY HAVE LOVED EACH OTHER FOR TEN YEARS, simply because Nat isn't rich enough for Daisy. Last time I checked, didn't Meg marry a poor man when her family didn't want her to? And she keeps insisting on a career for Demi that she wants even though Demi obviously wants other things. But Demi, always the dutiful son, wants to please his mother more than he wants to be happy. Barf. Barf. Barf. I wanted Meg to die. Adult Amy is SO. BORING. She makes Lissa from Vampire Academy look like Amy Poehler. (view spoiler)[Seriously? Why is Dan not good enough for Bess? They OBVIOUSLY loved each other. I could tell during the first 10% that there was a major love interest for these two. And its kind of a beauty and the beast thing which could have been awesome, and beautiful, and pure. But NO! Dan is not good enough for perfect Bess who needs someone with wealth and status and power. I would have loved sweet Bess to tame Wild Dan a bit.....but Dan could have given some zest to her as well, taken her out west to paint beautiful landscapes. And these two could have been really happy together. I saw a whole ending planned out for the two of them. I kept believing it would work. But no, Alcott had to take what was left of my romantic impulses and smash them. BOO HISS! Instead Bess ends up marrying some nameless schmuck and Dan ends up dying alone and unmarried. I almost dropped a star because of this. (hide spoiler)] All in all, I would say this is a solid three. Right smack dab in the middle. I think I need to be done with Alcott for awhile. Though I absolutely love her beautiful prose, her annyoing habit of preaching gets on my nerves.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tahera

    Jo's Boys is my personal favourite in the Little Women series. The book really touched me on an emotional level, especially Dan's story line and I was a little sad that he did not get a conventional 'happy ending' like the other boys did.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Brand

    Finally! I started reading this as soon as I finished Little Men, but didn't really get into so put it down for a few months. Around page 150 I suddenly got hooked on the stories within the book (because every chapter in an Alcott novel has its own individual plot) and read a few chapters every day until I finished it. It's obvious at the end that it's the last book she'll write about the March family as the last page lists what happens to every character - which is a bit sad, as Alcott's novels Finally! I started reading this as soon as I finished Little Men, but didn't really get into so put it down for a few months. Around page 150 I suddenly got hooked on the stories within the book (because every chapter in an Alcott novel has its own individual plot) and read a few chapters every day until I finished it. It's obvious at the end that it's the last book she'll write about the March family as the last page lists what happens to every character - which is a bit sad, as Alcott's novels are always such sweet, simple reads. Luckily I have Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom on my bookcase to read! I once read the synopsis of one of Alcott's older, less-popular novels on Amazon, and it was described as a collection of "wholesome and moralistic stories" which I think is a perfect description of Jo's Boys. A lot of people these days don't like stories which have meanings and morals, but I do. I guess I'm kind of old fashioned in that way - I would love to live in a family similar to that of Jo March's. 9/10

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    A long, sometimes tedious, but almost always charming epilogue to Little Women and Little Men. Alcott wrote it in 1886, eighteen years after Little Women and two years before her death. She must have known, feeling the effects of mercury poisoning from her time as a Civil War nurse, that the lights were really going out, the curtain about to fall. In this book Alcott continues to find a platform for her ideas, including women's suffrage, co-education, rehabilitation for criminals, and temperance, A long, sometimes tedious, but almost always charming epilogue to Little Women and Little Men. Alcott wrote it in 1886, eighteen years after Little Women and two years before her death. She must have known, feeling the effects of mercury poisoning from her time as a Civil War nurse, that the lights were really going out, the curtain about to fall. In this book Alcott continues to find a platform for her ideas, including women's suffrage, co-education, rehabilitation for criminals, and temperance, and makes a mini-Republic out of Plumfield where they can play out. Also interesting were Jo's troubles with being a famous writer, which must have echoed Alcott's. This is the only book in the series that often strays from New England - out west, to London, to a shipwreck at sea - and these parts seemed to be either very sparingly drawn or leaning toward melodramatic. It took some suspension of disbelief to read about Emil's shipwreck and daring heroism, and Dan's rescue of twenty men from a flooded mine. Still, I though Jo's Boys gave an interesting window into Alcott's ideas and the changing world of the late 19th century (the telephone and camera both make apperances). It's hard not to read it as a what could have been, given the differences between the characters and the people on which Alcott based them. By the time she wrote Jo's Boys, two of Alcott's sisters had died, one had lost a husband, and Alcott herself had never gotten married. This was a compelling read for me, though, more for its famliar characters and the world it created for them than for its literary genius, and I felt a little sad at the end knowing the curtain had indeed closed on the March family.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rikke

    There's a certain sense of emptiness that only booklovers will know. Upon closing a dear book and saying goodbye to its variety of language and characters, it can often feel like some precious part of one's soul is left behind and lost forever. And here I am; with a bittersweet lump in my throat and a melancholic longing for something more. "Jo's Boys" by Louisa May Alcott is different from the other books in this series. It is far more dramatic - even violent at times - in its plot, and is There's a certain sense of emptiness that only booklovers will know. Upon closing a dear book and saying goodbye to its variety of language and characters, it can often feel like some precious part of one's soul is left behind and lost forever. And here I am; with a bittersweet lump in my throat and a melancholic longing for something more. "Jo's Boys" by Louisa May Alcott is different from the other books in this series. It is far more dramatic - even violent at times - in its plot, and is generally a far cry from the idyllic ending one would have expected. Most of the time I agreed with Alcott's decisions in her characters' fate, but I will not and cannot accept the broken road Dan had to take. I wanted to see him succeed so badly that his dismissed dreams almost felt like a true tragedy. My heart ached for him. However I loved the story of Nat who got everything he deserved, and dear Nan who turned out to be the perfect feminist that Jo failed to become. Emil's experiences added a tone of adventure to the novel, and Tom's lesson was an underlined deja-vu of Laurie's previous experience. Jo's character was also rather interesting, and I loved how Alcott used her for a higher purpose and through her explained the triumphs and trials of being an admired author. It felt very authentic. I started reading "Little Men" and "Jo's Boys" in order to catch glimpses of Meg, Jo and Amy, but I ended up enjoying the new colorful additions to the little group equally. Alcott managed to introduce the new generation with such heartfelt emotion, that I couldn't help but to give in and adore them just as much as the original characters. "And now, having endeavoured to suit everyone by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall for ever on the March family."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Trace

    The last sentence of this book had me in tears: " And now having endeavored to suit every one by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall forever on the March family." Its sad to say goodbye to a family that I've come to know and love in this past year... Jo has become somewhat of a mentor to me after reading Little Men and Jo's Boys... and so, yes, I'm somewhat emotional that I've The last sentence of this book had me in tears: " And now having endeavored to suit every one by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall forever on the March family." Its sad to say goodbye to a family that I've come to know and love in this past year... Jo has become somewhat of a mentor to me after reading Little Men and Jo's Boys... and so, yes, I'm somewhat emotional that I've finished this saga regarding the March family. I remember when I read Little Women, I felt a little disloyal to my beloved L.M Montgomery because I instantly felt I needed to jostle Anne over to make room at the very top of my favorite books list for Little Women...now I can say that I feel that way about all three of the March books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I just finished reading the entire series of the March family and their descendants. I homeschool and picked up Little Men for inspiration. I gleaned so many wonderful insights for educating young children, finding our personal missions and following your bliss. In reading the entire series, I get a vision of what I want our lives to look like as I raise my children and the kind of experiences I want them to have. It is easy to involve yourself in the lives of the people in these books because I just finished reading the entire series of the March family and their descendants. I homeschool and picked up Little Men for inspiration. I gleaned so many wonderful insights for educating young children, finding our personal missions and following your bliss. In reading the entire series, I get a vision of what I want our lives to look like as I raise my children and the kind of experiences I want them to have. It is easy to involve yourself in the lives of the people in these books because you know a Meg or a Beth or you are a Jo. There is sweetness, sentiment and TRUTH throughout. It is uplifting and inspiring and you will be a better person for having read it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    I grew to love all the characters in Little Men, so one is bound to love this one just as much. There's plenty of laughter and fun in this book. The end bit has some emotional scenes with wandering Dan and I would have loved to see him happy. Ah, but that is life! A lovely read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This was a great conclusion of the Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott. If you enjoyed Little Men, you will enjoy Jo's Boys as it tells what happens to the boys of Plumfield as they get older. Definitely check the whole Little Women series out as they are all a joy to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    *opens book* Ah, I can’t wait to re-visit all the characters from Little Men. A few chapters later: It’s kind of boring, but all the boys are still awesome, especially Dan. But he has a beard. That’s weird. Oh, well, I’ll just ignore it. Later: Wow, this is really boring. Too much moralizing. Whole chapters of it. But at least the Josie-wanting-to-be-an-actress thing is interesting. I wish Alcott would focus more on Dan everyone else, though. And am I the only one who sees definite similarities *opens book* Ah, I can’t wait to re-visit all the characters from Little Men. A few chapters later: It’s kind of boring, but all the boys are still awesome, especially Dan. But he has a beard. That’s weird. Oh, well, I’ll just ignore it. Later: Wow, this is really boring. Too much moralizing. Whole chapters of it. But at least the Josie-wanting-to-be-an-actress thing is interesting. I wish Alcott would focus more on Dan everyone else, though. And am I the only one who sees definite similarities between Nan and Tom’s relationship and Jo and Laurie’s (from Little Women, that is)? Still Later: Nat’s going to rack and ruin in Germany? Meg won’t let him marry Daisy? Emil’s shipwrecked? AND DAN’S IN JAIL FOR MURDER??? WHY CAN’T THERE BE HAPPINESS ANYMORE? *picks up book after abandoning it for several minutes* Emil’s awesome. Well, at least Nat’s getting his life turned around for the better now. Why’s everyone suddenly getting engaged? Why does Alcott stop the story to talk about women’s suffrage for chapters on end? The Dan-Suffering-In-Prison Chapter: MY POOR BABY. HE ONLY DID IT IN SELF-DEFENSE. DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID AND GET YOUR SENTENCE LENGTHENED. Now he’s crying…OH, MAN, I JUST WANT TO REACH THROUGH THE BOOK AND HUG HIM. *feeeeeeeeeeeeeels* Rest of the book: Well, everything’s turning out okay. Dan’s back home, everyone’s happily married or engaged. EXCEPT DAN. Who, it seems, will never get a happy ending. WHICH IS NOT FAIR. I’m soooo glad Nat and Daisy are going to live happily ever after, though. They’re both sweet. Now she’s wrapping up the story and-DAN DIED. DAN. DIED. DEFENDING THE INDIANS. NOOOOOOOOO. *spends the rest of the day moping around the house because DAN*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Lynn

    Another great work by Louisa May Alcott! A must read for Little Women fans! I just love this book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Preach it, Louisa May! Or, maybe stop preaching it. This book is preachy, y'all. Moralizing and sermons on every page. Blahhhhhh Also, Meg grew up to be a bitch. Did not like. OK, there were some good characters (like Nan, the independent woman doctor) and some good messages (many of Alcott's views were progressive, such as women's rights etc), but for the most part... nah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I am sad to see the curtain close on the tales about the March family! It is a little slower-paced than Little Women, which is my hands-down favorite out of the series, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The thing I love most about Louisa May Alcott's March family series (Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys) is the way she gently weaves her philosophies about childrearing, feminism, education and living a good life into her stories in such a gentle, non-preachy way. This will I am sad to see the curtain close on the tales about the March family! It is a little slower-paced than Little Women, which is my hands-down favorite out of the series, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The thing I love most about Louisa May Alcott's March family series (Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys) is the way she gently weaves her philosophies about childrearing, feminism, education and living a good life into her stories in such a gentle, non-preachy way. This will be a great book to read to my kids around age 12 or so, and perhaps again when they are contemplating marriage (because I just love her ideas about growing up and getting married as presented in this book).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kailey (BooksforMKs)

    Wonderful sequel; can't get enough of Jo!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    Gosh! I thought Little Women made me cry. This one was even more heartbreaking. Poor Dan. I need to reread these books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suziey

    Not the best book but at least every loose end was neatly tied up?? Oh, my little heart... Dan deserved better! :'(

  18. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    some quotes: p. 116 "Virtue, which means honor, honesty, courage, and all that makes character, is the red thread (British put a red thread in their ropes) that marks a good man wherever he is. Keep that always and everywhere, so that even if wrecked by misfortune, that sign shall still be found and recognized. No matter what happens to your body, keep your soul clean, your heart true to those who love, and do your duty to the end." p. 112 "It is the struggle with obstacles which does us good. You some quotes: p. 116 "Virtue, which means honor, honesty, courage, and all that makes character, is the red thread (British put a red thread in their ropes) that marks a good man wherever he is. Keep that always and everywhere, so that even if wrecked by misfortune, that sign shall still be found and recognized. No matter what happens to your body, keep your soul clean, your heart true to those who love, and do your duty to the end." p. 112 "It is the struggle with obstacles which does us good. You must paddle your own canoe now, and learn to avoid the rapids and steer straight to the port you want to reach." p. 134 "Rob said the heartiest little prayer he ever prayed. It did him good; and wisely laying all his fear and doubt and trouble in God's hand, the boy felt ready for whatever was to come, and from the hour kept steadily before him the one duty that was plain, to be brave and cheerful, keep silent, and hope for the best." p. 138 "I'm very glad to see you helping one another. It's the right way, and we can't begin too soon to try to understand the needs, virtues, and failings of those nearest us. Love should not make us blind to faults, nor familiarity make us too ready to blame the shortcomings we see." p. 175 "Love is apt to make lunatics of even saints and sages, so young people cannot be expected to escape the delusions, disappointments and mistakes, as well as the delights, of this sweet madness." p. 254 "It was a hard won battle; but he would never have to fight so terrible a one again; for though enemies would still assail him from within and without, he had found the little guide-book that Christian carried in his bosom, and Love, Penitence, and Prayer, the three sweet sisters, had given him the armor which would keep him safe."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liss Carmody

    In all honesty, this is a dreary book. Imagine the epilogue to the Harry Potter Series, which most people agree is somewhat hamfisted and not up to par, if not blatant fan service. Now imagine if J.K. Rowling had written it into a full eighth book, rather than a single chapter. That is what we have here. As the third (or fourth, depending on how you care to look at it) and final installment in the chronicle of the March sisters and their families, this draws much too heavily on the In all honesty, this is a dreary book. Imagine the epilogue to the Harry Potter Series, which most people agree is somewhat hamfisted and not up to par, if not blatant fan service. Now imagine if J.K. Rowling had written it into a full eighth book, rather than a single chapter. That is what we have here. As the third (or fourth, depending on how you care to look at it) and final installment in the chronicle of the March sisters and their families, this draws much too heavily on the less-compelling Little Men for its characters and basically occupies itself giving small snippets and synopses of what happens to them when they reach adulthood. Half of the characters from Little Men are dismissed completely with two-line summaries, while the ones that remain are each dutifully given their trial, lesson, and ultimate happy ending. Mostly, the boys are married off to faceless but undoubtedly very sweet girls for whom it's impossible to care much, because they are such hollow caricatures. Two of the girls were so young in the preceding book that they are basically introduced fresh, and the best stories in all honesty have to do with their independent aspirations (theatrical Josie and pragmatic doctor Nan). There is a chapter early on in which Jo Bhaer, having acquired some literary success modeled directly off of Alcott's experience, relates the tribulations of being a famous author in that day and age. Of all the moralizing and sermonizing that happens in this book, that chapter rings the truest with both honest experience and humor. Otherwise, I could have been happy having this book compressed down to a single epilogue, a la Harry Potter.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    Standing by the 5 stars. As I've said before, these people are too intimately wound up with my psyche to be rated objectively. There's some preaching but to my eye it's not as heavy-handed as in Little Women. There are lots of great female role-models (with respect to the times). All of the young women are working toward careers, with the exception of Daisy (that natural housewife!). The young men are supportive and for the most part, respectful. There are anachronisms aplenty, but there's also Standing by the 5 stars. As I've said before, these people are too intimately wound up with my psyche to be rated objectively. There's some preaching but to my eye it's not as heavy-handed as in Little Women. There are lots of great female role-models (with respect to the times). All of the young women are working toward careers, with the exception of Daisy (that natural housewife!). The young men are supportive and for the most part, respectful. There are anachronisms aplenty, but there's also love and joy in abundance. If you haven't read the book and plan to, please stop reading now. Spoilers below. Kathleen asked, in the context of another review, if I thought that Dan was dismissed as a contender for Bess' affections because of his race. I said no at the time, and I still say no. Dan killed a man and served a prison term because of it, and that is the reason that there will be no "nice" woman for him. I still think that had he not done so, he'd have been unacceptable for Bess the mealy-mouthed perfect princess- for class reasons. His rough and tumble upbringing would be against him, in the eyes of the hyper-refined Mrs. Amy. Nat, who came from similar cellars, was much more malleable and weak. He became adequately civilized- but still wouldn't have been okay for Bess.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    "…books are always good company if you have the right sort. Let me pick out some for you.' And Mrs. Jo made a bee-line to the well-laden shelves, which were the joy of her heart and the comfort of her life.” I DID IT! I really did it. I read a series within 4 days! I'm so proud of myself!! (view spoiler)[Aside from falling asleep after reading the first chapter this book was a pretty good read. I like all of the books tied into each other, well except for Good Wives. I just didn't like that book "…books are always good company if you have the right sort. Let me pick out some for you.' And Mrs. Jo made a bee-line to the well-laden shelves, which were the joy of her heart and the comfort of her life.” I DID IT! I really did it. I read a series within 4 days! I'm so proud of myself!! (view spoiler)[Aside from falling asleep after reading the first chapter this book was a pretty good read. I like all of the books tied into each other, well except for Good Wives. I just didn't like that book as much. But I loved the ending. I feel like the kids were more interesting than the sisters once I read Little Men but in Jo's Boys they are older and going out into the world to find where they belong and if they belong with someone as well. I fell in love with the characters even more, except for Meg. For some reason I just did not like her character in this book. Also, I feel like I didn't like at least one character within each book... (hide spoiler)] I'm very happy that I've read these books because I feel like I don't read enough classics. So thank you to everyone who wanted to do a buddy read on the Little Women series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michaila

    The last book in the March family chronicles. First off, I noticed there seemed to be much more words of wisdom from Jo and Fritz in this one. The fact that poor Dan, after all his struggling, never was married but loved Bess all the while, was very heartbreaking because he was one of my favorites. My favorite couple was either the brave Emil and Mary (because they had been so through so much, and helped one another survive through it all) or Demi and Alice, because of his shyness and the The last book in the March family chronicles. First off, I noticed there seemed to be much more words of wisdom from Jo and Fritz in this one. The fact that poor Dan, after all his struggling, never was married but loved Bess all the while, was very heartbreaking because he was one of my favorites. My favorite couple was either the brave Emil and Mary (because they had been so through so much, and helped one another survive through it all) or Demi and Alice, because of his shyness and the beautiful rose proposal. I wanted to know more of little Jo; all we know is she was married well, and that her acting turned out wonderfully. Yet, overall, this book came quite close to bringing me to tears, and the wise, foolish, old and young characters were all vividly depicted as people in real life, just as Louisa May Alcott's books are. Full of real life lessons. 5 stars! ~Mic

  23. 5 out of 5

    ♡Ann Matalines♡

    ...and the curtain fall for ever on the March family. Little Woman is my inspiration in reading books. I longed to read it when I was in nursery and actually read it in elementary. It was my first book and I'm glad to wait for 7-8 years to read this. I didn't read little men so I was gobsmacked reading the changes of Jo's boys. The transition of roles and generations left me in a daze but it was worth it. I really admire Mama Baer's advice and don't forget the playwrights and drama. It was raw ...and the curtain fall for ever on the March family. Little Woman is my inspiration in reading books. I longed to read it when I was in nursery and actually read it in elementary. It was my first book and I'm glad to wait for 7-8 years to read this. I didn't read little men so I was gobsmacked reading the changes of Jo's boys. The transition of roles and generations left me in a daze but it was worth it. I really admire Mama Baer's advice and don't forget the playwrights and drama. It was raw and different from the passion and ponies of little woman. I'm amazed by Louisa May Alcott.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    Alcott's multi-generational saga of the March family, begun in Little Women and continued in Little Men , is concluded in this third and final volume. Mrs. Jo's "little men" have grown up, and this book follows their various and intertwining adventures as adults... Leaving aside a few charming passages in which Mrs. Jo must hide from her adoring fans (a snippet of authorial autobiography?), this book has always been a major disappointment to me. While no one would deny that the earlier works Alcott's multi-generational saga of the March family, begun in Little Women and continued in Little Men , is concluded in this third and final volume. Mrs. Jo's "little men" have grown up, and this book follows their various and intertwining adventures as adults... Leaving aside a few charming passages in which Mrs. Jo must hide from her adoring fans (a snippet of authorial autobiography?), this book has always been a major disappointment to me. While no one would deny that the earlier works have strong moral overtones, they are (thankfully) never overwhelmed by the sort of preaching to be found in Jo's Boys, nor do they suffer from the cloying sentimentality found therein... I have been haunted, moreover, since first reading this book as a child, by a nagging sense of injustice, as it concerns the story of rebellious Dan and his love. It always struck me as horrendously unfair that Alcott should so piously praise Dan's efforts at reforming himself, claiming that those who better themselves will be rewarded, only to deny him the woman he loves (and who loves him), because of his "sordid" past. "If I were a nineteenth-century ex-convict," reasoned my childhood self, "I wouldn't even bother trying to do better..." Oh well - I suppose that one brilliant, and one marvelous book in this series will have to suffice, and compensate for the less-than-stellar one. As a side note: I read the Illustrated Junior Library edition of Jo's Boys, long out-of-print, and illustrated by Louis Jambor.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Manisha

    I enjoyed this more than the previous book and I'll tell you why. It was bittersweet. Knowing that this was the last book in the trilogy brought forth nostalgia that I didn't know I had pertaining to this series. I might not have loved all the stories of what happened to the girls and their sons, and I might not have agreed with the decisions made, but there was a sense of realism in that. Little Women will always be a classic I will re-read once in a while to recapture that innocence we never I enjoyed this more than the previous book and I'll tell you why. It was bittersweet. Knowing that this was the last book in the trilogy brought forth nostalgia that I didn't know I had pertaining to this series. I might not have loved all the stories of what happened to the girls and their sons, and I might not have agreed with the decisions made, but there was a sense of realism in that. Little Women will always be a classic I will re-read once in a while to recapture that innocence we never see in books these days.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yukiraking

    This was so close to five stars, as I really enjoyed it, but there were a couple of things that I didn't like, if I'm being really honest about it. Meg irritated me in this. I felt she was really hypocritical, about her own life choices, vs the choices her kids wanted to make. I sort of understood her differing view, but she bothered me a lot. And I felt that there was a distinct lack of Nat, who was pretty much my favourite character from Little Men, and I wanted more from him. I did, however, This was so close to five stars, as I really enjoyed it, but there were a couple of things that I didn't like, if I'm being really honest about it. Meg irritated me in this. I felt she was really hypocritical, about her own life choices, vs the choices her kids wanted to make. I sort of understood her differing view, but she bothered me a lot. And I felt that there was a distinct lack of Nat, who was pretty much my favourite character from Little Men, and I wanted more from him. I did, however, love the added bits about Emil, who I was curious about from the previous book, but was never satisfied with until this time around. I didn't enjoy the last couple of paragraphs, where Louisa May Alcott just sort of threw an epilogue style summary at the reader, and I didn't really like what was done for a few of the characters. Also, I felt that there were a couple of characters from Little Men, that I thought were overlooked a lot *then* and I didn't like the way they were dealt with in this one either. It just seemed pointless. Obviously, it sounds like I didn't like this at all, but I really did. It was probably tied with Little Men as my favourite in the series. Nan was amazing from start to finish. Jo was great. I loved learning about little Josie, and seeing her develop into a full character, instead of just a name that was mentioned a couple of times. Dan and Nat were both my favourites in Little Men, and I really enjoyed Dan's furthering story. Demi/John really took a step forward and stole some of the spotlight, and I loved meeting Alice. Emil's one chapter (and if you've read it, you'll pretty much know what chapter that is) was the biggest standout in the book for me though, and I loved seeing him out at sea, basically living his dream, while everyone else was still working towards theirs. I definitely recommend these books, in case it wasn't clear (even though the first book wasn't a big hit with me, personally).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    As a tween and early teen I read all the LMA books and have since read Little Women and Little Men many times. For variety I decided to reread Jo's Boys this year. After a few chapters I almost put it down because the writing is very dated but I pressed on. Now I am glad I did. Reading this book as an adult over 130 years after publication (1886) is a very different experience from reading it as a child a little over 70 years after publication. First, I am much more sensitive to the dated As a tween and early teen I read all the LMA books and have since read Little Women and Little Men many times. For variety I decided to reread Jo's Boys this year. After a few chapters I almost put it down because the writing is very dated but I pressed on. Now I am glad I did. Reading this book as an adult over 130 years after publication (1886) is a very different experience from reading it as a child a little over 70 years after publication. First, I am much more sensitive to the dated writing, partly because children are not as aware of things like that and second, because the writing IS much more dated after 60 years. That said, it was interesting to read it now as an example of the social mores of the late 1800's. Each chapter read as a small moral lesson for children of the times. Most stressed ideals of honor, honesty and clean living. Gambling, drinking and partying were definitely not considered appropriate for well bred young people. It is interesting that one of the young man apologized for using the word "Damn". The second thing that struck me was how forward thinking Ms. Alcott was. Included in her "lessons" were comments on the importance of education and careers for women. Some of her "girls" were encouraged to forego marriage in order to fulfill their special talents and desires. (Although she still considered lessons in sewing important also.) The college that Jo's Boys attended was co-ed and admitted people of all races and nationalities. Freedmen were specifically mentioned. In one chapter the young people had a heated debate on the merits of votes for women. In another one of the boys decided to spend his life helping indigenous people in Wyoming against the abuses of the federal government. If you are willing to overlook the writing style and some of the noblesse oblige of the characters, this book is worth a look.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Elvira Atvara

    This was a good read mainly because of the previous books, especially "Little Women". It is interesting to take the narrator of "Little Women", where Alcott writes "So grouped, the curtain falls upon Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Whether it ever rises again, depends upon the reception given to the first act of the domestic drama", and compare it to the tired narrator of "Jo's Boys" ("It is a strong temptation to the weary historian to close the present tale with an earthquake which should engulf This was a good read mainly because of the previous books, especially "Little Women". It is interesting to take the narrator of "Little Women", where Alcott writes "So grouped, the curtain falls upon Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Whether it ever rises again, depends upon the reception given to the first act of the domestic drama", and compare it to the tired narrator of "Jo's Boys" ("It is a strong temptation to the weary historian to close the present tale with an earthquake which should engulf Plumfield and its environs so deeply in the bowels of the earth that no Schielmann could ever find a vestige of it. [...:] And now, having endeavoured to suit everyone by many weddings, few deaths, and as much prosperity as the eternal fitness of things will permit, let the music stop, the lights die out, and the curtain fall for ever on the March family.") Apparently, Alcott wrote "Jo's Boys" only because of the popular demand. There were more descriptive paragraphs than interesting dialogues in comparison with the previous books, and when Jo's success and the disadvantages of being a popular writer were described, it seemed to me that Alcott was telling her own life. The frequent references to Woman's Suffrage and dialogues between the protagonists on the subject that seemed more like preeching, amazed me. I never knew Alcott was a feminist. All in all, it was good if taken as the last part of the series. As a book alone it doesn't amount to much.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Obviously readers of the previous two books in their original publications were clamoring to find out what happened to the titular Little Men, and parts of Jo's Boys definitely feels like a concession to popular opinion. It's slower and more overtly moralizing than Little Men or Little Women (though both of those books have their fair share), but I have to say, I salute Louisa May for not giving in to expectations in every quarter. After having had to marry off Jo at the end of Little Women, Obviously readers of the previous two books in their original publications were clamoring to find out what happened to the titular Little Men, and parts of Jo's Boys definitely feels like a concession to popular opinion. It's slower and more overtly moralizing than Little Men or Little Women (though both of those books have their fair share), but I have to say, I salute Louisa May for not giving in to expectations in every quarter. After having had to marry off Jo at the end of Little Women, Naughty Nan got to remain single and become a doctor. Meg had harbored aspirations to go on the stage, which she gave up to get married, but her daughter Josie does become an actress. Only one pair of childhood sweethearts wind up married (spoiler alert? Daisy and Nat, d'awww). Tommy, who was my favorite because he was goodhearted but mischievous and silly and said things like "THUNDERING TURTLES!", pined away for Nan for years until all of a sudden he found himself "in a scrape"--in love and engaged to somebody else. Demi didn't become some kind of philosopher, he went to work in a publishing house. And poor wonderful Dan went West, and to prison, and Alcott didn't let him totally reform. And in between "how they turned out," there was lots of Jo and Laurie fun (I LOVE that they stay friends into adulthood and the dynamic remains the same), people getting into mischief and trouble and danger, and some sermonizing. Okay, a lot of sermonizing. Oh well.

  30. 4 out of 5

    DeB MaRtEnS

    An unforgettable classic; how delighted I was to discover that there were actually sequels to Little Women, although my childhood library did not hold every one. Ah, the magic of those early reading favourites, the escape!

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