Review Detail

Kids Fiction 3151
Little Wonders
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
>“Let us be elegant or die!”

I’d like to confess up front, I avoided reading this book for most of my life simply because of the title. It sounded so… painfully feminine. And as someone who’s struggled to make peace with their biological gender, I felt some sort of misplaced obligation to resist exposure to something that could so clearly hold no interest for me.

I was horrendously mistaken.

This is a sweeping family drama, set during the American Civil War. Languidly paced and often treading on the poetic side, it centers on the March family—specifically on the four young sisters who are all close in age—as they grow up throughout the book. There’s Meg, the kind and responsible eldest; Josephine, our tomboy protagonist (who happens to be based semi-autobiographically on the author herself); Beth, the quiet and virtuous; and Amy, the somewhat vain and more shallow-minded youngest of the four sisters. Their family is somewhat poor, and girls spend a good deal of their childhood coming up with interesting and artful methods of amusing/distracting themselves while their minister father goes off to serve Union soldiers as a chaplain.

I’m not really doing the characters any justice here, but it’s their growth, development, and chemistry that largely, and successfully, drove the narrative. There are undercurrents of empathy-building, imaginative fancy, gratefulness and optimism in the face of trials, along with a coming-of-age element experienced across several very different personalities within the same family unit.

For obvious reasons, I connected with the character of Jo from the very beginning. While the era, being what it was, would have made it particularly difficult to be a more independent and masculine-bent female, Jo had the benefit of the unconditional love and support of her family. Perhaps most significantly, she had an encouraging father who at no point made her feel limited by (or inferior on account of) her sex. Her struggle with herself, the world’s stifling expectations, and her own goals, is something most readers may be able to relate to.

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”

As a part of my needless resistance to this classic, I decided to listen to this one in audio book. I don’t regret that move. This particular narrator (Andrea Emmes) did a masterful (mistressful?) job of bringing the cast to life. With four sisters as main characters, I was concerned about not being able to tell voices apart. But Emmes made the experience into more of a richly layered auditory play than a simple reading.

Favorite Quotes:

*“I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

* “There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.”
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A world-changing disease springs up in Chiapas, Mexico around the...
Between Burning Worlds
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Les Misérables meets The Lunar Chronicles in the out-of-this-world sequel...
Gotham High
 
4.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Alex...
The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the land of Barracks, the economy thrives on the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
very year, each of the humanoid planets in the United...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Every year, each of the humanoid planets in the United...
Dragon Rising: A Mulan Inspired Fantasy
 
4.9 (3)
 
0.0 (0)
Sometimes a battle isn't waged on a bloody field....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Savannah, Georgia is one of the most haunted places in...
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to...
Perfectly Misunderstood
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jayden Valdez is an overachieving intellectual. Mike McGinnes is...
Crave
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the...
Golden Arm
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Lazarus “Laz” Weathers has always been shy, and his...
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They have a love-hate relationship with summer. Sidney and...
In My Heart
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A working mother reassures her child that even when they’re...
Grandpa's Stories
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved...

Latest Member Reviews

Between Burning Worlds
 
4.7
"What worked: This is the second novel in the Systems Divide series. This story starts right off where the first..."
Gotham High
 
4.0
"GOTHAM HIGH features the Joker, Catwoman, and Batman before they grew into their names. In high school, they're simply Selena,..."
Gotham High
 
4.0
"GOTHAM HIGH is a comic book that follows the iconic Batman-related characters as they were before they were famous/infamous. Bruce..."
The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)
 
5.0
"THE COURT OF MIRACLES is an enagaging and lush YA historical that imagines an alternate France where the revolution has..."
Elysium Girls
 
4.3
"ELYSIUM GIRLS is an engaging YA historical fantasy/dystopian. In the 1930s, an area of Oklahoma suddenly got cut off from..."
Girls With Razor Hearts
 
5.0
"Now that Mena and the other girls have escaped Innovations Academy, they find their past hasn't left them. Mena vows..."
The Lucky Ones
 
5.0
"THE LUCKY ONES is quite an emotional ride. The book follows May and Zach in alternating first person points-of-view. May..."
Girl, Serpent, Thorn
 
4.0
"GIRL, SERPENT, THORN is a YA fairytale retelling by Melissa Bashardoust. The story follows Soraya, a princess who is cursed..."
Meet Me at Midnight
 
4.0
"MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT is a book that reminds readers of all the possibilities and freedom of summer vacation. We..."
Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2)
 
5.0
"SWORD IN THE STARS is a satisfying conclusion to a delightful YA fantasy retelling of King Arthur in space! Picking..."
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
 
4.0
"THE GUINEVERE DECEPTION by Kiersten White is the first book in a YA retelling of the classic Arthurian legend. Guinevere,..."
Crave
 
4.3
"CRAVE is a really engaging new YA fantasy/paranormal romance that follows Grace in the first person. Grace lost her parents..."
Golden Arm
 
5.0
"Lazarus Weathers lives in the Jet City trailer park in Seattle with his mother and half brother, Antonio. He has..."
Ember Queen (Ash Princess, #3)
 
4.3
"EMBER QUEEN is a great conclusion to the Ash Princess trilogy. Picking up right where book 2 left off, Theo..."
Kissing Lessons
 
5.0
"'Kissing Lessons' by Sophie Jordan is a well-written, entertaining story about a variety of main characters, including Hayden Vargas, Nolan..."
Lady Smoke (Ash Princess, #2)
 
5.0
"LADY SMOKE is every bit as addictive as the first in this engrossing trilogy. Picking up where the first book..."
The Queen's Assassin (Queen's Secret, #1)
 
4.0
"The Queen's Assassin is a fantasy romance geared toward the younger YA reader. It is told from the first person..."
Ash Princess (Ash Princess, #1)
 
5.0
"ASH PRINCESS is an engaging YA fantasy that takes us to the conquered land of Astrea. Theodosia's mother, the Fire..."
The Everything I Have Lost
 
4.3
"At age twelve, Julia starts writing in a diary. She writes about what she witnesses in her town of Juarez,..."
Sting
 
3.3
"STING is an intriguing YA dystopian retelling of THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO. The world has been ravaged by climate..."