The novels were an immediate success following the lives of Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy in all their sisterly, romantic and family drama. And the feminist gusto of Jo – a young woman trying to buck strict, Victorian societal standards – still rings true today.
Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is the latest movie adaptation of the classic novel. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Laura Dern and Emma Watson, watch the trailer below.
However, the reality behind the novels, which were loosely autobiographical in nature, was less charming.
Alcott herself grew up in Concord, Massachusetts and had three sisters who lived in near poverty as a result of her ‘intellectual’, transcendentalist father, who was never able to provide for them financially. As a result, the daughters worked as governesses, seamstresses, writers, and domestic helpers from a young age.
Here are some of the dark, real life stories which inspired the wholesome, bonnet-filled drama.
Louisa May Alcott never wanted to write Little Women.
Originally it was an editor by the name of Thomas Niles from Roberts Brothers Publishing that approached Alcott to write a book for young girls, however Alcott didn't want anything to do with it.