And 2017 book reading begins with the completion of Louisa May Alcott’s “Eight Cousins” (or, “The Aunt Hill”).
Although I have read this book before, years ago, I was thrilled to finally purchase a copy of it and read it again! It is such a merry tale of an orphan girl, Rose, and her newly found seven boy cousins. They all live with their various mothers on the same “aunt” hill, save for Rose who lives with great-aunt Peace & Plenty ,and Uncle Alec. Full of escapades, sweet moments of tender affection, children’s imaginative worlds, it’s all wonderfully developed with distinctive and endearing characters. But it isn’t all children’s antics, for Rose’s guardian, romantic-sensible-doctor-bachelor Uncle Alec, is decidedly going to do right by her and struggles to find the balance in raising her to be healthy, active, capable, sensible, feminine, loving, nurturing, and a positive influence in her seven boy cousins’ maturing and growing into men. In a shot, raising her to be the definition of “woman” which all of us gals should strive for.
All the boys have such endearing personalities, expressed perfectly in their nicknames they call each other by. There is Archie the “Chief”; Charlie the “Prince”; Mac the “Bookworm”; Steve the “Dandy”; twins Will & Geordie the “Brats”; and Jamie the “Baby”. Uncle Alec has sensible advice all the time, and the aunts each have their own particular characters as well.
One characteristic I notice about Alcott’s writing style, is she has the odd paragraph that becomes a bit of an exhortation in persuasion of a particular thing. She sometimes uses a character to get her point across, such as Uncle Alec’s housekeeping comments in my previous post. But it is also sometimes her own voice/the narrator whose opening paragraph of a chapter may state a particular opinion or a pondering on the subject or theme to be read about. I quite like it – I agree with most everything she writes about virtues, character, life in general. (“Little Women” is a wonderful read along these same lines!)
I’m an Alcott fan, and Eight Cousins is a great read for children and adults alike.
Nota Bene: I am (once again) enjoying the sequel to this book, more to come once I’ve finished reading it!