Friday, January 15, 2010

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Everybody has read (or at least heard of) L. M. Alcott's classic story Little Women, as well as its sequels, Good Wives (sometimes called Part Two of Little Women) Little Men and Jo's Boys. But these were not the only books Alcott wrote--she penned a total of twelve novels and numerous short stories in her lifetime. These lesser known books include Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, Jack and Jill, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Under the Lilacs, Aunt Jo's Scrap-bag, The Quiet Little Woman, and A Garland for Girls.

One of my favorite classic books is Eight Cousins. Originally published in 1875, it tells the story of Rose Campbell and her seven cousins. When the story begins, Rose's father has just died, leaving her an orphan (her mother passed away when she was a baby) and under the guardianship of her Uncle Alec. Rose has been spoiled at a snooty young ladies' academy, and Uncle Alec (who is a doctor) has decided to "retrain" her--she learns to do housework, eat oatmeal, study physiology, wear flannel and bloomers instead of silk and corsets, and--gulp--go camping with her boy cousins instead of doing embroidery.

This book doesn't have an earthshattering plot, but it's hard to put down. Rose's change in attitude and personality is slow but sure--at the beginning of the book she's rather selfish and vain, and by the end she's changed into the kind of little girl Dr. Alec wants her to be. Eight Cousins is also full of interesting characters that seem very real. I would give this book eight stars out of ten! It's probably best for readers 10-16. Have you read Eight Cousins? If so, what part did you like best?

PS I own this book, if anyone is interested in borrowing it. It is also available through Borders, Barnes and Noble,, the West Davidson County Library and the Lancaster County Library System.


Elizabeth Florio said...

I would really like to read this one... I think we might own it actually! :) It sounds really good!!

Mattie said...

I've heard the title before several sounds really good, I'll have to look for it. :)

Katie Bauguss said...

yep yep, very good! (as is the other book, "Rose In Bloom")
haha I like how you mentioned that it was in our library too ;)

Amelia Colleen said...

The first copy of the book that I ever read was actually from your library, since you were reading it for language arts and brought it up here! (Although I read it just in bits and pieces over your shoulder.) :)