Life’s tough, you guys. I’ve just crashed hardcore into adulthood by making an offer on a house (*shocked face*, *praise hand emoji*) TWO WHOLE MONTHS before we planned to. Now, I’m trying to be a good book blogger and feed my soul with beautiful books, but this house stuff is taking up so much of my brain space that it’s hard to stay on top of my TBR list. (Also consider this for today’s review because, well, my opinion is the minority, so maybe it’s clouded by life stuff) (Also, I binged Younger on Hulu.) (Also I’ve done two big jigsaw puzzles).
Onto the book review!
First, I have to say that I was SO excited about this book. I saw it on SaltWater Reads and was immediately intrigued because HISTORICAL FICTION, Y’ALL. I’m obsessed. With that said, I can usually gauge a book’s success on how long it takes me to read. For example, I read Without Merit in one day…The Other Alcott took me a week. I wanted to love this book so much… the idea and the time period really had me looking forward to it. Unfortunately (and I hate saying this), I was let-down. BUT it seems like I’m the outlier with my opinion. Either way, you’re reading this review because you want my honest opinion, so that’s what I’m giving you.
I have a confession: I have never read Little Women. The horror, I know. I mean, I always meant to, but just never got around to it. (Pretty sure that’s the deal with 82% of my TBR… I digress.)
The Other Alcott is about May Alcott, the little sister of Louisa who wrote Little Women and many other novels in the late 1800’s. May has dreams of being an artist, but is constantly overshadowed by her sister’s fame. Louisa’s success as an author supports her family, which leaves May indebted to her sister and constantly feeling as though she has to drop whatever she is doing (even overseas) to tend to her aging parents. There’s a big sense of “Poor Me: Pity Party For One” throughout most of the book.
May travels a lot more than I knew people were capable of in the late 1800’s, going overseas many times during the story. She studies art during her travels and makes many friends along the way-much of which is kind of skirted over. IMHO Hooper missed out on a potentially awesome narrative because she never really explored the relationships in detail. Art, on the other hand, was constantly discussed in
excruciating detail. Now..ya girl ain’t fancy. I don’t know Impressionism from Abstract so all of these parts of the book went right over my head (aka bored me to death and had me skimming). I just felt that hashing out the friendships would have added a lot more to the story line rather than giving me a tour through an art museum. Just me? Maybe, maybe not.
There’s also a big sense of “just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I want to marry and have children and keep house all day! I want to be successful on my own and THEN do the husband and children thing. I need a man who acknowledges my passions and supports them wholeheartedly.” which usually I am a huge fan of, but it just felt very redundant but then again, the whole plot felt that way to me. (I’m really not doing a good job of NOT throwing shade at this book)
I’m not particularly sure if there’s a climax in this book but if there is, I missed it. There were many times I felt like the plot was building to something, but when we got to the top of the roller coaster, nothing happened. Again, basically, the same song..on repeat.
NOW I will say this is Elisa Hooper’s first novel, so I’ll be checking out her future releases to see how her writing style progresses. The concept was amazing, but I just never felt like I connected to any of the characters. Maybe it’s just me because everyone over on GoodReads seems to love it, plus SaltWater Reads picked it for their September book and they put a lot of thought and effort into picking the cream of the crop SO don’t take my word. Read it yourself and we can discuss what you think! Shockingly, I have been wrong in the past (just a handful of times..okay, or more), and there is a great chance you will love this book and think I have no depth (which is likely).