Three Reasons To Read Invincible Louisa

 

Invincible Louisa

 

Biography tracing the fascinating life of Louisa May Alcott from her happy childhood in Pennsylvania and Boston to her success as a writer of such classics as Little women.

Inspiration

I just finished reading Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs. It was waiting patiently on my bookshelf for over a decade. Do you ever feel like certain books fall into your hands when you need them most?  I have been struggling with writing my own YA novel, fighting through some serious writer’s block, and questioning my writing endeavor. Then one day, after the library was closed, I pulled Invincible Louisa off of the shelf and started to read. Louisa May Alcott was an incredible young woman who was bursting with life, love, courage, and imagination. Her story was a whisper of understanding that I didn’t realize I needed to hear. Her life was full of ups and downs. Small tastes of success and a vast amount of disappointment, but through it all she maintained her enthusiasm for art and life. I needed a reminder that every writer has their own struggle with the craft, I would never compare my amateur writing to Alcott’s, but we all have to start somewhere, and sometimes it’s nice to hear that even literary masters had to shape, mold, and master their work over time. Meigs wrote, “Long after, she [Louisa] once said of herself that disappointment must be good for her, she got much of it. She learned to meet it bravely, although often she felt at first a hot wave of revolt.” Many writers struggle to persevere after the rejection letters pour in, but I think Alcott’s story proves that you must write for yourself first, and publishers second. Write because you can’t control your fingers as thoughts overflow your mind, and you feel you might burst if you can’t document your ideas.

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History

Anyone who is a literary enthusiast would find the history of Alcott’s life incredibly fascinating. Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father, was a figurehead of transcendentalism and public education. Meigs wrote of Bronson that, “Bronson had theories so far advanced of his time that even in our day we have not caught up with all of them [written in 1933, 70 years later].” His colleagues and friends were some of the greatest American writers of all time. Louisa’s small feet walked the halls of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house and later he became a mentor to her. Through her father, Louisa met William Lloyd Garrison, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There are yet more distinguished people of American history within Alcott’s life, but I will let you discover those hidden gems.

Eloquence

Meigs’ novel, Invincible Louisa, is as memorable as Little Women. Written in 1933, it has that yummy, rich, impeccable use of the English language that makes me swoon. For example, Meigs describes Alcott’s success as such, “Fame during a lifetime is something to win; but fame and affection which are to last a hundred years are seldom earned.” Isn’t that a lovely way of saying, she was famous and loved and will be for generations to come?

I think the task of writing about one of America’s most beloved female authors must have been extremely daunting, but Meigs wrote Invicible Louisa as if she were a member of the Alcott-May family and expereinced their joy and tragedy alongside them. Through Meigs research and attention to detail, we gain a glimpse into the life of one of the most influential writers for young adults that has ever lived. The history within Invincible Louisa is textbook-worthy, but written with the style and warmth of a favorite novel.

I highly reccomend Invincible Louisa, especially if you are a writer yourself, are interested in the evolution of American writing, or both.

Happy Reading.

Rachel McKee

 

 

Writing a Negative Book Review

All of the book reviews I have written thus far have been very positive. I think I’m a pretty optimistic reader; I try to find the good in every book. Who am I to bash a book when:

A) I haven’t finished my own YA book.

B) I have never been published (except for that one time in college by SLAM magazine.. does that even count?).*Update I was published on xoNecole, but still it’s not on the level of a novel getting published.

C) I don’t like being a jerk.

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Authors bust their ass to get their work out there, even the “trashiest, cheesiest, male machismo” romance novels have a lot of time invested i.e.: Fifty Shades of Grey-read it, Twilight-read it, Christine Feehan’s Dark Series-read it, Sookie Stackhouse Novels-read it. Is it romance? I’ve probably read it.

In my humble opinion, there are certain factors that books must have to be worth a reader’s time. A book can be trashy BUT then it also has to be entertaining. Or a book can have a slow story, but it better be full of beautiful prose and STRONG interesting characters. The last book that I read did not have much going for it, and in my frustration I decided to write my first negative review and explain my letdown:

Like it Never Happened

When Rebecca Rivers lands the lead in her school’s production of The Crucible, she gets to change roles in real life, too. She casts off her old reputation, grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates, and kisses the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage. Even Mr. McFadden, the play’s critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though “The Essential Five” vow never to date each other, Rebecca can’t help her feelings for Charlie, leaving her both conflicted and lovestruck. But the on and off-stage drama of the cast is eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything…even if some of it is just make believe.

It’s almost laughable how apropos the title is. I turned the final page of this novel last night and I sat their wondering, why did I even bother? What was I suppose to get from the story? It was incredibly slow, the characters were as shallow as a thimble of water, and the language was mediocre.

Slow Story + Vapid Characters = Boring Read.

I do not recommend this novel. It’s just a bunch of high school drama with no lesson learned, no depth gained, and zero substance.

♥R♥

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