In the Bookcase


Book Review: Invincible Louisa

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge ::: JUNE 2017

Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs (5 star review)

Invincible Louisa
The Story of the Author of Little Women

written by Cornelia Meigs

256 pages // published in 1933 // non-fiction biography


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.

My Review

5 Star Rating

1934 Newbery Medal winner.

I'm a big fan of Louisa May Alcott and her writings, her most notable novel being Little Women, among many other great books and stories. Needless to say, I've wanted to read this particular biography on Miss Alcott for many years, and finally got to read it this summer.

I think by reading this book and learning more about the Alcott family's history, you're diving deeper into Little Women at the same time. You get to learn more about the characters of Amy, Jo, Meg, and Beth, and find out what they truly were like in real life. Most importantly I found out a lot more about Miss Jo March herself, Louisa May Alcott. I'm starting to pick up now on hints of true events from her life inside of her writings. I feel more well-informed on the Alcotts as I continue to make my way through more of Louisa's books.

Louisa was always running off for a new adventure; this is true both in childhood and adulthood, in different ways. She was up for something fresh and thrilling to the senses, and was courageous to the core; this is one of the big elements I picked up on by reading her biography. Plus the reader gets to see insight in other topics that greatly affected Louisa: death, slavery, transcendentalism, education, Quaker culture, poverty. Life wasn't always peachy for her, as she had troubles all her own – but enough sweetness to keep her well-rounded. Just like in her writings.

Cons? This isn't really a negative point, but my opinion in one area differs from Cornelia Meigs' version. I think the author had a different perspective on Bronson Alcott than what we have of him today, if one reads up on the subject. In this book, Meigs glowingly builds up his character and reputation, which somehow seems skewed from what history tells us. Of course, he was a dreamer, and he attempted to do many different things in his life, but I personally don't think it was as glamorous as this book portrays.

One of the reasons this biography is particularly interesting to me is that it's not a modern day researcher who wrote it. It was written back in the 1930's, and clearly is written in a vintage style (which I completely adored, seeing as I am an avid vintage book reader). Additionally, I felt like the biographer truly knew Louisa as a friend, not just how a researcher or journalist might see her. I liked the effect that the amiable writing style gave to the atmosphere of the biography, and it made it much more amusing to read than a dry, textbook biography.

Book #2 finished for the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge.

Available on Amazon in paperback and on Internet Archive in (FREE!) e-book format.

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This is book #5 for me in the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge.
[CATEGORY: Award-winning Classic]

P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. Thanks for this review! I was looking for an award-winning classic for the Back to the Classics challenge, and this sounds interesting! I've loved Little Women for years and knew bits and pieces about Louisa's life. I'm definitely putting this on the list to consider!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara! I'm glad to have perhaps helped you make a book selection for the challenge. :)