Mini Reviews: Merry Christmas and Other Stories, Little Women & Five Children and It

It’s a new year, which means a new Classics Challenge! But unfortunately I do not blog as fast as I read. Here’s mini reviews of the last three classics I read for the 2014 Classics Challenge and if you’d love to join over 120+ people reading one classic per month this year, find out more about it here.

Mini Reviews: Merry Christmas and Other Stories, Little Women & Five Children and It
Merry Christmas and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott
I cannot resist adorable Christmas stories, especially when they’re as beautiful as Penguin’s new Christmas Classic series. I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any more books for the rest of the year, but then I went on a spontaneous trip last month to Foyles with Daphne and came across Merry Christmas and Other Stories. I bought it because I figured I’d have to wait another year to read it otherwise! It was a lovely book for me to read this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – charming and delightful, but with an emphasis on those who are not fortunate as others and the importance of charity. An extract from Little Women is included as part of the collection and so I had to pick that as my next classic…


Mini Reviews: Merry Christmas and Other Stories, Little Women & Five Children and ItLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women was one of the classics that had been on my wishlist the longest. I think I first came across it while watching that episode of Friends. I didn’t know much about Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, but it seemed like the perfect children’s classic for me.

Yet Little Women wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped. I wasn’t emotionally drawn into the sisters’ lives, which is important for a character-driven novel. It’s a great shame as I had high hopes. But I am struggling to decipher what exactly my issue was. I think I just wanted more to happen and more of an emotional punch – whether due to a sad story or a joyful one. It felt to me like the chapters could have been short stories rather than a linear storyline with a beginning, middle and end, even though it follows the lives of the sisters from childhood. I enjoyed some chapters quite a bit, whereas others not so much. And I was also surprised to discover that what I expected to happen in Little Women actually happens in the next book, Good Wives. I’ve not given up on Little Women, however. It’s one I’ll be coming back to, now that I know what to expect!

Mini Reviews: Merry Christmas and Other Stories, Little Women & Five Children and ItFive Children and It by E. Nesbit
I chose Five Children and It as my last classic of the year because it was my book club’s January pick because most of us also wanted to read Kate Saunders’ Five Children on the Western Front. Like Little Women (although I think it’s more intentional in Five Children and It), each chapter is like a short story about the group of siblings who each make a wish that the Psammead (a sand fairy) grants, with often chaotic and hilarious results. Although short stories will never be my favourite, it worked quite well in this sense because each chapter was a new day, but of course I still preferred some to others. I connected with E. Nesbit’s writing straight away – this is the first book by her that I’ve read – and I found the dialogue witty and charming. Be careful what you wish for! I’m looking forward to also reading The Railway Children and The Story of the Treasure Seekers.

8 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Merry Christmas and Other Stories, Little Women & Five Children and It

  1. […] Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott ★★★ • Goodreads • Buy […]

  2. I agree with you on Little Women. I got a bit bored by the characters. Maybe I am just used to stronger female characters in modern literature. I wasn’t engaged at all. I eventually finished it though, but was disappointed.

  3. I really enjoyed all three but Little Women is one of my favourite books, ever. I am really sorry it was different from what you expected…why not giving it another chance in the future?:-)

  4. I think these books are maybe the type that are harder to engage with in the same way when you’re older. I read them all as a kid and was entranced by them but think I’d probably have your reaction if encountering them for the first time now. Ive not heard of the Christmas stories one though I’ll have to look it up!!

    Also there are some far more dramatic abd scandalous Louisa May Alcott stories out there – like what Jo writes initially!

    • I’m not too sure! Perhaps, but I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed many children’s books (classics and non-classics), plus I assume Little Women wasn’t a children’s book at the time.

  5. I agree with what you said about the novel little women through-and-through.
    I’m half-way through it.
    ❤ Val.

  6. Have you seen the stage production of The Railway Children at King’s Cross Station? Don’t miss it, it’s fabulous! My family and I saw it during its first London run. It is there until September 2015. Here’s the trailer:

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