Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is a hugely successful book that was written by Louisa May Alcott. The first volume of the book was published in 1868 with the second volume following soon after. It has never been out of print since its original publication!

Little Women follows the stories of four very different American sisters who live with their mother while their father is away at war. The story is easy-to-read and explores many different topics such as loss, love, commitment, and happiness. Download a copy of our free Little Women PDF here and enjoy this timeless English book.

Little Women


Little Women PDF Book Cover

Title: Little Women

Author: Louisa May Alcott

Published: 1868

Pages: 440

Format: A4 PDF

Release Date: 1 May 1996

Copyright Status: Public Domain In The USA

Read Little Women Online

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Little Woman Q&A

Is Little Women Based On A True Story?

When Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women she based the book on her experiences growing up with her three sisters in Massachusetts. Just like Jo, Louisa was the second oldest sister in the family.

Is Little Women Book Easy To Read?

Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women specifically with girls in mind so, although it is a long book, it isn’t too difficult to read.

Initially, she didn’t actually want to write the book because she didn’t really have any experience with young girls except for her sisters. However, her publisher asked her to so she decided to tackle the project. I’m sure she is glad that she did because this is the book which made her work famous!

May, 1868. — Father saw Mr. Niles [of the publishing company Roberts Brothers] about a fairy book. Mr. N. wants a girls’ story, and I begin “Little Women.” Marmee, Anna [basis for Meg], and May [basis for Amy] all approve my plan. So I plod away, though I don’t enjoy this sort of thing. Never liked girls or knew many, except my sisters; but our queer plays and experiences may prove interesting, though I doubt it.

New York Public Library | Louisa May Alcott, In Her Own Words

Why Is The March Family Poor?

The March family struggles financially because Mr. March lost all his money when he loaned it to a friend. He also volunteers as a chaplain in the Civil War so he isn’t able to send much money home. He is also far away from his family which also makes things difficult.

What Age Should You Read Little Women Book?

The general consensus on Common Sense Media is that kids from about 10 years old can read Little Woman.

Did Louisa Alcott Marry?

In Little Woman, Louisa based the character of Jo on herself. In the book, Jo marries, but Louisa herself never did. She did however raise her niece and only died in 1975 at the age of 95.

Little Women Movies & Other Adaptations

Little Woman has over a dozen screen adaptions which include two silent movies, TV series, and even two Animé series!

  • Little Women – Broadway Play – 1912
  • Little Women – Movie – 1917 – Starring Ruby Miller
  • Little Women – Movie – 1918 – Starring Dorothy Bernard
  • Little Women – Movie – 1933 – Staring Katherine Hepburn
  • Little Women – Movie – 1949 – Starring June Allyson
  • Little Woman – Ballet – 1969
  • Little Women – Series – 1978 – Starring Susan Dey
  • Wakakusa no Yon Shimai – Animé Series – 1981
  • Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari – Animé Series – 1987
  • Little Women – Movie – 1994 – Starring Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon – Nominated for 3 Academy awards
  • Little Women – Opera – 1998
  • Little Women – Broadway Play – 2005 – Starring Sutton Foster
  • Little Women – Series – 2018 – Maya Hawke
  • Little Women -Movie – 2019 – Starring Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep

Which Little Women Movie Is Considered The Best?

The general consensus is that the 1994 adaptation of Little Woman is the best, followed closely by the 2019 version. The 1994 version has an awesome cast which includes:

  • Winona Ryder – Jo
  • Susan Sarandon – Marmee
  • Trini Alvarado – Meg
  • Kirsten Dunst – Amy
  • Clair Danes – Elizabeth or Beth
  • Christian Bale – Laurie
  • Gabriel Byrne – Fredrich Bhaer

Not only is this adaptation very popular among Little Women fans but it also received three academy award nominations for Best Actress (Winona Ryder), Best Original Score, and Best Costume Design.

Official Trailer: Little Women (1994)

Little Women – 2019

Little Women Summary

Little Women is the story of four sisters who live with their mother, Marmee in Massachusetts. They are struggling financially because their father lost all his money when he lent it to a friend. He is away from home volunteering as a chaplain in the Civil War and it is their first Christmas without him.

On Christmas morning, Marmee and the girls give their Christmas breakfast away to a poor family. However, when they return they find that their neighbor, Mr. Laurence, has sent them a wonderful Christmas dinner to enjoy. The girls meet Theodore Lawrence (Laurie), Mr. Laurence’s grandson and they become good friends. He becomes especially close to Jo who is a bit of a hothead and a tomboy.

As the war drags on, Meg and Jo are forced to work to help support the family. Jo works for her aging great-aunt March who is a wealthy widow and Meg works as a tutor to four children in a nearby family. Beth is very shy so she is happy to stay at home and help with the housework while Amy is still at school.

One day the family receives a message saying that Mr. March has pneumonia and Marmee leaves to go and nurse him back to health. While Marmee is away, Beth gets scarlet fever. Because Jo has already had scarlet fever she looks after Beth. Amy goes to live with Aunt March and she replaces Jo as her helper and companion. Although Beth recovers from her illness she doesn’t really get her energy back and remains sickly.

Mr. March returns home to the family on Christmas day, a year after the story begins.

Three years later (in part 2 of the story), Meg is married and she and her husband have twins. Laurie has graduated from college and Amy is going on a European tour with her aunt. Beth is still struggling with her health and Jo is away working as a governess in New York City. Jo is taking German lessons with a man by the name of Professor Bhaer.

When Jo goes home, Laurie proposes to her but she rejects him because she truly only loves him like a brother. Laurie is heartbroken and travels to Europe with his grandfather to get away from Jo. While in Europe, Laurie meets up with Amy and he slowly starts falling in love with her.

In the meantime, Beth has become very ill and Jo devotes herself to caring for her sister. Beth passes away soon after and Amy wants to come home. However, it would be inappropriate to travel with Laurie without a chaperone so Amy and Laurie decide to get married before returning home.

Professor Bhaer visits Massachusetts for business and he visits Jo daily. He finally proposes to her and she accepts. They decide to put the wedding on hold because the Professor needs to improve his income. Aunt March later passes away and she leaves her large estate to Jo. Jo and Professor Bhaer get married soon after and they turn the huge house into a boy’s school.

Amy and Laurie have a daughter and Jo and Bhaer have two sons giving Marmee five wonderful grandchildren!


Just like The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, and Anne Of Green Gables, Little Women is a timeless book that never seems to go out of fashion! You can download a copy of our Little Woman PDF here to read and enjoy.

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