Joint Review: Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Book Review: Eight Cousins by Louisa May-Be-Our-Hero Alcott
How Excited Were We to Read This? 10!!!! We love Louisa May! Mary went on a special trip to Orchard House recently just to pilgrimage! [Unrelated sidenote: She came away a fan of Amy?! How did that happen?]
How Excited Are We Now? 10!!!! We love Louisa May!
Elizabeth’s Book Rating:10. Eight Cousins is one of her all-time faves.
Mary’s Book Rating: 7. Her favorite Louisa May Alcott is actually An Old Fashioned Girl. And she also prefers the sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom.
Book Jacket: After the death of her father, orphan Rose Campbell has no choice but to go and live at the ‘Aunt Hill’ with her six aunts and seven boy cousins. For someone who was used to a girl’s boarding school, it all seems pretty overwhelming, especially since her guardian Uncle Alec makes her eat healthy things like oatmeal, and even tries to get her to give up her pretty dresses for more drab, sensible clothes. Will Rose ever get used to her Uncle’s strange ideas and all her noisy relatives? Will there come a day when she can’t imagine living anywhere else?
Review: Rose is an orphan who comes to live with her great-aunts, Peace and Plenty, in Boston (a charming old-fashioned Boston that won’t look at all familiar to people who live there today). Her unknown super-uncle Alec has been appointed her guardian. Though it is definitely not what Alcott was going for, it is totally understandable to have a crush on Alec. Partially because his name is Alec (Mary’s first crush in life was Alec from The Black Stallion movie). And partially because he has tousled gray curls and gives her pills that are really made of wholesome brown bread and always knows what’s best.
The sequel to this book is Rose in Bloom – we think of this first book as Rose Blossoming. It’s really about a girl coming into her own and finding confidence in a strange new world. The fact that the world is filled with fun cousins and persnickety aunts just adds to the fun along the way! And as always, Louisa May Alcott fills the story with morals that make you want to be a better person… even as you are shirking responsibility to hide under the covers with the same book!
Sister-Factor: 0. Rose has no sisters! Or even FEMALE cousins! She is all alone. Sad. LUCKILY, she befriends a charming servant-girl Phebe. Who is sort of like a sister… and (spoiler alert) dare we say cousin (wait for the sequel)… but it doesn’t really count.
Re-Readability: 7. Obviously re-readable, we both have done so dozens of times. But sometimes reading about Rose reminds you of your real age! And we can’t have that. Or maybe just what it was like to be young in an earlier time.
Recommended For: Romantics. People who loved Little Women and never read further or fans of Frances Hodgsen Burnett.
If You Liked This Book You Should Also Check Out: The sequel! Rose in Bloom. Also other lesser known Louisa May Alcott books like An Old Fashioned Girl (so good!), Little Men and Jo’s Boys, or Jack and Jill.