What a beautiful, diversified and plenty of surprising facts was the life lived by Louisa May Alcott! For sure free, the author able to become at least who she wanted to become: one of the most successful writers of this world thanks with her Little Women a classic of the American and international literature.
I read Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs, a biography of the writer for children firstly published in 1933, and now back to life thanks to Endeavour Press.
When they asked me to choose which books I wanted to read at the Endeavour Press I didn't have any doubts. I wanted to start with Louisa May Alcott, because I read when a teenagers wagons of times Little Women.
I found this book spectacularly beauty and surprising!
Let's say that we can't start to speak of Louisa Alcott if, before we don't speak of her dad Bronson Alcott.
Bronson Alcott was an idealistic man not too much you know practical. Born in a farm in the East of the USA, Wolcott Connecticut, although he enjoyed the farm he understood that his destiny was different. He wanted to study and to become a teacher. His dad didn't agree with these weird ideas of his son, but young Bronson once 18 years old decided to try to go to Virginia trying to work as a teacher and studying at the same time, but giving up because scholars too turbulent. He did in the while various works but once returned home, he didn't bring any money, all spent in beauty clothes.
Anyway he knew Abba from Boston and married her. Great excitement, this man, Bronson blonde hair, blue eyes, tall had to be a beautiful man. The idea of Bronson of opening a school appeared more real thanks to Reuben Haines who assured him some help. Unfortunately the man died when more or less was born Louisa in 1832. His dreams for some while in stand-by.
The family changed many houses for searching for work.
Little Louisa remembers Boston where they afforded when she was just one year old. Born on Nov 29th so a Sagittarius, little Louisa a curious of the world. Once she decided to go out all alone and to her, absolutely normal, to spend an entire afternoon in a such big city, making friendship with some contemporaries found along the Boston streets, or just visiting this big and beauty city.
Lately she fell asleep and when someone cried that a girl was missing, from the description she said: "It's me."
Once she went for some time at the house of some friends of the family and considering that the adults didn't take her in too much consideration, she started to search for someone else and she ended up to make friendship with some other poor kids living in the surrounding area and when she discovered that they were starved, she didn't hesitate to feeding them all running out all the food from the kitchen of the family. Discovered she was punished for this behavior although what she did too tender for not finding a genuine and good heart in this little kid.
It was in the Alcott's spirit and philosophy of living. Maybe they were starved as well, but if someone needed for some help, they helped.
If someone needed some coal they gave it to them suffering the cold.
They gave food, they helped.
The Alcott didn't never live a rich existence. Sometimes a life where the family could eat just two times everyday, but there was always, always a great generosity and joy, and enthusiasm for life.
Louisa loved nature and environment and in many houses where the family afforded in, for example in Concord and Fruitlands, to her the Paradise. In particular in Fruitlands there was a barn and in that place Louisa would have started her first dramas. She was great in acting and writing.
Her dream would have been the one of becoming a writer.
While Louisa was thinking what she wanted to do once adult, Bronson had a discussion once with some people. He wanted to open a school but this school opened to everyone, Negros included without any kind of distinctions of races, religions. You know, this stuff. That man was amazingly great.
They said no and so he decided to dismantle this project and it meant again a penniless period for the Alcott family.
The Alcott were also opened against slavery and they helped many times all the Negros who escaped from the South for reaching Canada.
The same Louisa, once the Secession war started in 1861 decided to become a nurse for helping the cause of the war. She went to Washington but after just few weeks she was sick with typhoid fever. She returned home and she recuperated gradually her health.
Other big problems in her family like the departure of their beloved Elizabeth one of her sisters.
Also other joyful moments would have surrounded the life of Louisa.
Louisa dreamed all her time of being helpful to his family and being in grade to give to them and to herself a good existence, considering, trust me the sometimes paradoxical situations in which the family fell in.
Once, Bronson, Louisa's dad, in UK for trying to see if there was work returned with other four mouths to feed! and this philosophy of living peacefully all together in a commune.
What to think when one of these friends from London tried to force Bronson to giving away his children because there would have been more food for everyone? After all the Shaker community didn't keep them all separated? Men, women, and children?
Louisa and her family survived at all of it.
The idea of Little Women born thanks to an idea of Thomas Niles from Boston. Niles asked her to write a book for girls.
Louisa didn't have any clue of how to write this book but she started to work on it while she was in Concord, Massachusetts. Inspired, she started the first chapter in June, she completed them in July.
The first part of it was published on October. Her life changed abruptly because Little Women was a very, wonderful, deserved success for this lady. Now all her dreams could be realized. A good life for everyone, although of course her private life gone forever because she was searched for autographs, for meetings, encounters. The life of a successful writer.
At the same time the second part of Little Women started to be written the same fall of that year and on may 1869 published.
Louisa would have written other three books about the sisters March and Jo's boys when Louisa learned that the husband of his sister died leaving them all alone. They had to be supported.
This family, the Alcott has always been supportive with each other and this one their main strength and what made the difference.
Louisa never married anyone, but she lived an intense life, writing, working hard at the same time for trying to help all her family, and being helpful when she could. Her legacy immensely important, because she has left a jewel of a novel as Little Women is, (and other books of course) that can be taken in consideration and inspiration also during these times from all the teenagers of the world.
She has seen a clean world, a good world, where help, love, friendship, sufferance, joy, enthusiasm, brotherhood the mixture of the family March and of course of the Alcott one and an example for every family of this world.
Anna Maria Polidori