Alcott: ‘Not The Little Woman You Thought She Was’

Though many readers associate Alcott with the sweetness of Little Women, Reisen tells NPR‘s Linda Wertheimer, Alcott’s legacy — and Jo March’s, too — is really about the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

“You don’t grow up to walk two steps behind your husband when you’ve met Jo March,” says one Alcott fan.

In the time since Little Women was published in 1868, Reisen says she believes a countless number of women have — as Alcott put it — “resolved to take fate by the throat and shake a living out of her.”

Listen here to the NPR interview

School Library Journal: “Visually Rich,” “Inspirational”

[STARRED REVIEW] Harriet Reisen’s fine script and Nancy Porter’s vivid production combine to treat viewers to a visually rich, well-paced, and intimate view of Louisa May Alcott’s life. The story unfolds in well-paced dramatized vignettes, excellent scholarly commentary, clips from the original film of Little Women, and readings from Alcott’s personal letters and from her biographer, Ednah Cheney, played with a marvelous, spine-cracking correctness by Jane Alexander.

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“The Story-Telling is Superb”

Alcott is known as the iconic March sister, Jo. In Reisen’s book, the reader meets the real Louisa; the pulp fiction writer, the comedian, the moody and the cantankerous.

This book will appeal to all who love Alcott classics, who cherish stories of fierce, independent women, and who want to know about writer’s craft and inspiration. The book’s research is impeccable, and the author’s storytelling is superb. Meet the real Louisa May Alcott. – Lynn Brogan, Suite101

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“Smart”… “tasteful,” says The Boston Globe

“Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind ‘Little Women’ ’’ manages to penetrate the facts of Louisa May Alcott’s life (1832-1888) to get at her humor, her spirit, and her growth as a person. With a smart, tasteful use of docudramatic re-creations, director Nancy Porter gives us the story of a writer’s interior world and genesis with more drama and color than you generally expect from a 90-minute documentary.
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LA Times says Alcott doc “gives breadth and life to the author of the 1860s classic”

For those who know Louisa May Alcott only as the author of some of the most enduring classics of children’s literature, “Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind ‘Little Women’ ” will be a revelation. For those already familiar with Alcott’s Transcendentalist-boho childhood, her sensational tales of love and horror under the pen name A.M. Barnard and her refusal to diminish her personal and economic freedom by marrying, the dramatically reenacted documentary gives life and texture to a woman of extraordinary talent and determination who became as great a celebrity in her day as J.K. Rowling is in ours.
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The Buffalo News rates Alcott film 4 out of 4 stars

The documentary is an education about the period in American history and the Alcotts’ friendships with the leading reformers of their day. It is also an intimate look at the hardships of Alcott’s life — the poverty of her early life, the death of sister Elizabeth at 23, and the health problems that began to plague her in her late 30s.
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Wall Street Journal Calls Harriet Reisen’s Alcott Bio one of 2009′s “Standout Selections” that “Amazed and Impressed Reviewers”

The Journal’s December 18th article quoted Melanie Kirkpatrick’s review of Harriet Reisen’s “enchanting portrait of the author… who exhibited many of the qualities that have made her best-known work so beloved: such old-fashioned virtues as selflessness, self-control and duty to family.”

Bookpage lists Alcott book in Top Ten Nonfiction Books of the Year

This year’s picks include a little of everything, with an emphasis on memoir—it was a good year for getting personal.
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Alcott biography on New Hampshire Public Radio’s List of the Year’s Best

Alcott biography on New Hampshire Public Radio’s List of the Year’s Best

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