Work: A Story of Experience

Louisa May Alcott followed up the success of Little Women with this gem in 1873, dubbed Little Women for Adults by those less gifted with brains. We meet our hero, Christie, at the beginning of the book telling her aunt that she’s about to leave to make her own way in the world, to work for her living and be independent. From this cozy hearth, she sets out to the city and puts herself into service as a maid, then actor, then governess, then seamstress, eventually struggling with poverty and narrowly avoiding a watery suicide through intervention of her friend Rachel. She winds up in the countryside, living with David Sterling and his Quaker mother, learning gardening and welcomed into the bosom of their humble home. Love drama, rejected beaus, then David and Christie seem about to live happily ever after when you realize there are still 50 pages left. Enter Civil War, David wounded and dying on the front, Christie an expert nurse who can do nothing for him. Final scene is a group of women around the table watching Christie’s daughter Ruth and planning for their futures.