Title: The Other Alcott
Author: Elise Hooper
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publish Date: September 5, 2017
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "We all know the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
But while everyone cheers on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy
March is often the least favorite sister. Now, it’s time to learn the
truth about the real “Amy”, Louisa’s sister, May.
outgoing, creative, May Alcott grows up longing to experience the wide
world beyond Concord, Massachusetts. While her sister Louisa crafts
stories, May herself is a talented and dedicated artist, taking lessons
in Boston, turning down a marriage proposal from a well-off suitor, and
facing scorn for entering what is very much a man’s profession.
Life for the Alcott family has never been easy, so when Louisa’s Little Women
is published, its success eases the financial burdens they’d faced for
so many years. Everyone agrees the novel is charming, but May is struck
to the core by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled “Amy March.” Is this
what her beloved sister really thinks of her?
So May embarks on a
quest to discover her own true identity, as an artist and a woman. From
Boston to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined
woman forges an amazing life of her own, making her so much more than
merely The Other Alcott."
My Two Cents:
"The Other Alcott" is the story of May Alcott, sister of author Louisa May Alcott, author of the classic book "Little Women." Louisa is seen as the successful sister. She chooses to write what's marketable so that she can provide money to her family. She also has a tendency to hold this over her family's head, especially May. May is an artist who is still seeking commercial success out of the long shadow of her sister. This is a fascinating look at a pair of famous sisters and the push and pull that drove both of their lives.
Ah, sisterhood! Coming from a trio of close sisters, I am fascinated by sisterhood. I can't imagine my life without my sisters and so I am always interested in this subject. Louisa and May aren't exactly close when the book opens. Louisa has just attained success with "Little Women," which features May's art, which is panned often by critics. To add insult to injury, it becomes apparent that spoiled Amy March is based on May. May is hurt and embarrassed that Louisa is making money off of her in this way. But as Louisa constantly points out, it is because of the success of her book that May can afford to do things like travel to Europe in order to pursue her art.
I loved reading about the push and pull of these sisters. They obviously love each other and care about each other but there is a lot of competition and jealousy that constantly gets in the way of having a super close relationship. In the end, it's clear that they respect each other and May makes peace with being in her sister's shadow and finding happiness in being "behind the scenes."
The writing was good! I really liked how the author captured the thoughts and feelings of the two sisters. I loved reading about May's time in Europe and how she seeks making her own name. This was a small detail but I loved the appearance of Mary Cassatt and how she introduces May to Impressionism before Impressionism was really a thing. I love Cassatt and I would love to see a novel about her!
Overall, this was a great book that left me thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have the sisters that I have. There is no greater gift!