by Alcott, Louisa May
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Better known for her novels Little Women and Little Men, Louisa May Alcott continued the story of her feisty protagonist Jo in this final novel chronicling the adventures and misadventures of the March family. Entertaining, surprising, and overall a joy to read, Jo's Boys is nevertheless shaded by a bittersweet tone, for with it Alcott brought her wonderful series to an end. 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's boys--including rebellious Dan, sailor Emil, and promising musicain Nat--are grown; Jo herself remains at the center of this tale, holding her boys fast through shipwreck and storm, disappointment ... and even murder. Popular for more than a century, the series that began with Little Women continues to hold universal appeal with its powerful and affectionate depiction of family--the safe haven where the prodigal can always return, adversity is never met alone, and our dreams of being cherished, no matter what our flaws, come true.
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Jo’s Boys is the third book in the Little Women series by series by Louisa May Alcott, and was written in 1886. It is set some ten years after Little Men. It looks at the lives of the Little Men (and women) who were at Plumfield. Tom is studying medicine and still devoted to Nan, also doing medicine, determined to remain single and do good works. Tom’s devotion is suddenly derailed when he finds himself somehow accidentally engaged to Dora West. Nat is hopeful of earning Daisy’s hand and goes to Leipzig to study music, where he is seduced by high society and finds himself in some trouble. Franz is a merchant kinsman and finds a bride in Germany, while Emil becomes second mate on a fateful ship journey where he saves the captain and his family. Dan, having pursued many paths including geology, mining and sheep farming, plans to help the Montana Indians but somehow finds himself in jail. Josie is a budding actress and Bess a sculptress. Demi intends to become a journalist, much to his mother’s despair. This book is again filled with moral tales, but Alcott also includes a day in the life of a famous author, which seems directly lifted from her own experiences. Mrs Jo disappoints in the final chapters with her attitude to Dan: while forgiven for sins, loved and praised for heroism, he is effectively banished from Plumfield as unsuitable for her niece, which seems quite snobbish and uncharitable. This book might appeal to modern-day children, with lots of explanation, but it is not up to the standard of the first book. Fair.
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