Jo's Boys: From the Original Publisher

by Louisa May Alcott

Paperback, 1994


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Call number

SC Al c.2


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (1994), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages


Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML: Jo's Boys, and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to "Little Men" is commonly considered to be the last novel in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women series. It takes place ten years after Little Men and follows the children from that book into adulthood. Out in the world they deal with love, ambition, and the snobbery of society..

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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Alcott's multi-generational saga of the March family, begun in Little Women and continued in Little Men, is concluded in this third and final volume. Mrs. Jo's "little men" have grown up, and this book follows their various and intertwining adventures as adults...

Leaving aside a few charming
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passages in which Mrs. Jo must hide from her adoring fans (a snippet of authorial autobiography?), this book has always been a major disappointment to me. While no one would deny that the earlier works have strong moral overtones, they are (thankfully) never overwhelmed by the sort of preaching to be found in Jo's Boys, nor do they suffer from the cloying sentimentality found therein...

I have been haunted, moreover, since first reading this book as a child, by a nagging sense of injustice, as it concerns the story of rebellious Dan and his love. It always struck me as horrendously unfair that Alcott should so piously praise Dan's efforts at reforming himself, claiming that those who better themselves will be rewarded, only to deny him the woman he loves (and who loves him), because of his "sordid" past. "If I were a nineteenth-century ex-convict," reasoned my childhood self, "I wouldn't even bother trying to do better..." Oh well - I suppose that one brilliant, and one marvelous book in this series will have to suffice, and compensate for the less-than-stellar one.

As a side note: I read the Illustrated Junior Library edition of Jo's Boys, long out-of-print, and illustrated by Louis Jambor.
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LibraryThing member swampygirl
A very well done conclusion to a very enjoyable series.
LibraryThing member victrola
For some reason I put this book off for a good fifteen years after first reading and loving Little Women. I think that is just as well - it seems to me that there may be less here to interest a child than in the first two. But it really was sweet, and featured more of the March family than Little
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Men did, which I loved - and I think it was less preachy than Little Men, although that lecture to George and Dolly did seem to go on forever. All in all I liked it and I think anyone who loves Little Women will enjoy this on some level. I am happy to have finally experienced it.
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LibraryThing member midkid88
A sequel to Little Men that followed the boys after leaving Jo's house. It wasn't my favorite of the three, but I did like knowing what happened to the boys. Most of the stories were happy but some were almost sad.
LibraryThing member satyridae
Standing by the 5 stars. As I've said before, these people are too intimately wound up with my psyche to be rated objectively.

There's some preaching but to my eye it's not as heavy-handed as in Little Women. There are lots of great female role-models (with respect to the times). All of the young
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women are working toward careers, with the exception of Daisy (that natural housewife!). The young men are supportive and for the most part, respectful. There are anachronisms aplenty, but there's also love and joy in abundance.

If you haven't read the book and plan to, please stop reading now.
Spoilers below.

Kathleen asked, in the context of another review, if I thought that Dan was dismissed as a contender for Bess' affections because of his race. I said no at the time, and I still say no. Dan killed a man and served a prison term because of it, and that is the reason that there will be no "nice" woman for him. I still think that had he not done so, he'd have been unacceptable for Bess the mealy-mouthed perfect princess- for class reasons. His rough and tumble upbringing would be against him, in the eyes of the hyper-refined Mrs. Amy. Nat, who came from similar cellars, was much more malleable and weak. He became adequately civilized- but still wouldn't have been okay for Bess.
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LibraryThing member satyridae
I've been listening to this at night, along with Little Men, for the last few weeks. I haven't a shred of objectivity abou this particular book, as it's one of my all-time favorites. Revisiting it as an adult, I can see more clearly some of its weaknesses, in particular its preachifying and the
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stilted way some of the character traits (Nan, most notably) are portrayed. However, this matters not the shadow of a whit to me, for these people are so alive, and Plumfield so dear that I hardly notice the flaws. I'm caught up in the stories and delighted all over again. The narration is wonderful here, enough so that I've listened to this multiple times in a few days.

There's so much here. There's the morality of the times, there are the impossibly high ideals, there's the reverence for humanity's inherent goodness, there's humor and pathos and heroism and tragedy. This is, without a doubt, one of my desert island books. I rarely re-read Little Women, and hardly a year goes by without I read this one twice.
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LibraryThing member JennyElizabeth
In the final book of the Annals of the March family, all of the jolly lads Jo teaches grow up and go their separate ways and have adventures. I really love that Louisa gives true to life endings for her characters instead of romanticizing them.

I'm not gonna lie, Dan is my favourite, I would run
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away to Montana and marry him in a moment, temper and all.

It makes me long for the good ole days, though I know we can make those days ourselves with our own hard work, pure hearts, and cheerfulness. Louisa, you are an inspiration :)
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LibraryThing member maiadeb
Loved being privy to the lives of the boys as they grew. Since I was the age of the boys in Little Men when I first read the book it left a lasting impression on me at the freedom young men appeared to have with the reminder that all may not be as it appears. The challenges, tribulations and
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victories of the young men and of Jo too may appear simpler than our challenges today but the lessons are still timely.
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LibraryThing member bookworm12
This book is the final one dealing with the March family. Jo and her professor started a school for boys and this is the sequel to Little Men, which chronicles the beginning of that school and the boys who attended. It takes place years after Little Women and the March women’s children are now
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grown and pursing their own lives.

The young residents of the March houses, Parnassus and Plumfield, are all picking careers and falling in love. Nan wants to be a doctor and spurs any romantic advances in lieu of the education she longs for. She and Dan were my two favorite characters. One bucks the social norms and decides to follow her dreams into the field of medicine. The other heads west to the Garden of the Gods and Rockies, longing for a life of adventure and being humbled along the way. It was fun to think about how new and radical both paths were at that time.

I made the mistake of reading this one before Little Men. It was published 15 years after that book, but I didn’t realize that when I started it. I really wish I would have read the other one first and will certainly go back and do so, but I went into this one without knowing who many of the characters were.

Jo’s Boys reminded me of the later books in the Anne of Green Gables series, like Rainbow Valley, that focus on the next generation. The writing is the same, but you miss spending time with the characters you have grown to love. I really loved one section which talks about Jo becoming a famous author and being hounded by her fans. It seems to be pretty autobiographical and gives the reader a little glimpse into Alcott’s own life after finding success.

BOTTOM LINE: A good book, but you definitely need to read Little Women and Little Men first. If you love both of those than you’ll love one last chance to spend time with the March family. It doesn’t give everyone a rosy ending, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a bit darker and more realistic.

“The women of England can vote, and we can't. I'm ashamed of America that she isn't ahead in all good things.”

“It adds so much to one's happiness to love the task one does.”

“It was curious to see the prejudices melt away as ignorance was enlightened, indifference change to interest, and intelligent minds set thinking, while quick wits and lively tongues added spice to the discussions which inevitably followed.”

“Mothers can forgive anything! Tell me all, and be sure that I will never let you go, though the whole world should turn from you.”

“Ah, me! It does seem as if life was made of partings, and they get harder as we go on.”
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LibraryThing member heinous-eli
The last and most depressing of the Little Women series, this book is definitely only for those who really want to know what happens. The ending left me somewhat fulfilled and yet cold.
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott is the final volume in her saga about the March sisters. In this book we find all the sisters living close together, with Meg having a small home built on the grounds of Plumfield while Amy and Laurie have built themselves a mansion close by. Plumfield is no longer
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a small school, but the Professor now is the head of a nearby college and runs it according to his liberal views on education.

We are updated on the lives of all the former pupils, who have become like a family to the Baer’s, returning for visits and staying in touch no matter how their lives grow and change. I was particularly pleased to see that Nan had grown into a strong willed independent woman who is very devoted to her career.

This is a sentimental ending to the story. We see as past characters grown-up, learn life lessons, fall in love, get into trouble and have exciting adventures. At the same time the author gives us a glimpse into her own philosophical leanings, and although Jo’s Boys is very idealistic and a touch too preachy, these flaws are easy for me to overlook as I enjoyed getting closure on these beloved characters.
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LibraryThing member nx74defiant
The story of the boys as they grow up. They fall in love, have adventures. Some of the stories were a little too much a "lesson."
LibraryThing member SJGirl
This picks up ten years after the events of Little Men, mostly focusing on the kids of that story figuring out their adult paths.

While Louisa May Alcott is one of the easier classic authors to read, the writing style here isn’t my favorite. There’s a very episodic quality to this which is
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probably why of all the books in this series I favor Little Women as it did to a greater degree (though not entirely) feel like it had an overarching story continuing from chapter to chapter. Also, this book, like Little Men and to some extent Little Women has a tendency to tell rather than show, many of its potentially compelling moments were somewhat muted by the fact that you’re told about it afterwards instead of being in the moment when the event occurs.

I stumbled at times with the characters names, having to occasionally pull myself back and be like nope, that’s that person not this one as there are a number of names that somewhat echo each other, Dan and his dog Don, Tom and Ted, Nat and Nan, Demi who also goes by John (his dad’s name), and Josie who also goes by Jo (her Aunt’s name). I definitely had some confused moments over the names, partly my own fault for waiting too many years after Little Men to read this one, but also, it did feel like this really could have employed a bit more variety in the names.

Certain storylines held my interest more than others. The only Little Woman we truly spend time with is Jo and I found it disappointing that the scant time devoted to her mostly saw her complaining about being a successful author, it doesn’t seem like much of leap to conclude that dealing with her fandom was something Alcott found to be a nuisance so she wrote that into Jo’s story but it’s a high class problem that isn’t nearly as emotionally engaging as I wanted for the character.

I was also disappointed that although Nan had different goals for her life than the other females in the story, we don’t spend much time actually with her working towards those goals, when she’s in a scene it’s more about the guy crushing on her than it is about her.

The shipwreck, the aspiring actress, and the kid living beyond his means, each had moments that caught my interest, but the prison stuff pulled me in most, it felt like the emotional stakes were better established for that character than anyone else and I liked that it had a bittersweet tinge to it even if in order to achieve that bittersweet tinge it compromised how I saw the March sisters (I know their actions to shield a certain someone from ending up with the “wrong” sort of person were era appropriate but I guess I always thought of Jo and Amy as being somewhat rebellious women who wouldn’t be as married to appropriate as say, Meg or Aunt March).
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LibraryThing member charlie68
Little women; Classic, I think based on the strength of the main characters, Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy, all likeable in their way. The supporting cast is also very good; Marmee, Lauren et al. Little Men; not as good, too many characters, too episodic not enough overall structure. Jo's Boys; the same
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thing, some individual stories are very good, riveting accounts. But goes on pedantic asides telling not showing what constitutes good moral character in boys and girls. Not that the advice isn't good, maybe she was running out of ideas or space.
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LibraryThing member claidheamdanns
An undoubted classic, but was spoiled by the horrible editing job done by MonkeyBone Publications. Throughout the entire series, there are places where pauses, restarts, and even the clicking marking said disruptions in the reading were not edited out.
LibraryThing member AprilBrown
A childhood favorite re-visited.

Is the story as good as I remember? – Yes

What ages would I recommend it too? – Eight and up.

Length? – A couple of evening's reads.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters, Again, three with almost identical names.

Setting? – Late 1800's, mostly at the
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boy's school, now a college.

Written approximately? – Late 1870's.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? Yes.
1. Cost and ease of travel
2. Lack of identification for Dan
3. A little more clarity of communications abilities at the time.

Short storyline: A continuation of "Little Men" about ten years later. Lot's of fun as the boys fall in love, and face many temptations they have never faced before. There's hope they are well prepared for the future of the time.

Notes for the reader:
1. Money and income systems are vastly different than modern days.
2. Communications systems are vastly slower, and less reliable.
3. There is no national system for personal identification.
4. Religion plays a major role in decesion making.
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LibraryThing member INeilC
Ten years on the boys have grown up. What happened to them? We find that even the worst of them have some redeeming features.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

336 p.; 5.38 inches


0316031038 / 9780316031035


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