The classic, “Little Women”, a novel by Louisa May Alcott begins with the meeting of the four main characters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March. Meg is sweet tempered and 16 years old. Jo is the tom-boy, 15 years old and quite outspoken, while Beth 13, is shy and delicate. Finally, 12 year old Amy is the spoiled baby sister. It is Christmas and their father is away at war. They used to be of substantial means, but under the circumstances money is very tight. They are very close to their Marmee and decide to use their money on her gift rather then on something for themselves. The holidays pass with a New Year’s Eve party at Mrs. Gardiner’s house. At this party Jo meets Laurie, old Mr. Laurence’s grandson.
The story presents each girl in much depth and you learn a great deal about the March family. Their growing friendship with Laurie develops into a special bond particularly with Jo. The March family receives a telegram that their father is ill. Marmee decides to leave at once to be by his side. While she is gone, Beth comes down with scarlet fever. The following Christmas, Mr. March returns home. The girls are ecstatic to see him. Even frail Beth plays the piano and sings for him.
Mr. Brooke, Laurie’s tutor, asks Meg to marry him but she refuses. Out of anger towards her Aunt March’s ultimatums, Meg changes her mind. They wed and she tries to make the best of her marriage. Laurie is away at college and Amy and Jo make the social scene. They have very different personalities. Aunt March decides to take outgoing Amy instead of Jo to Europe for a companion. Jo stays at home to be with the ailing Beth. Eventually, she moves to New York to pursue her writing career and develops a deep friendship with Professor Bhaer. She returns home for the summer.
Amy, meanwhile spends much time with Laurie in Europe. Laurie is there mending his broken heart suffered from rejection by Jo. Amy and Laurie grow close out of their need to be with family. When Amy learns of Beth’s death, it is Laurie who comforts her in Europe and slowly love blossoms between them.
When the family hears of Amy and Laurie’s engagement, Marmee is worried that Jo will be upset. She is only saddened by the prospect of being an old maid. Amy and Laurie marry and use their wealth for those less fortunate.