Work – A Story of Experience by L.M.Alcott
As part of my target to read a lot of not so famous books, I decided to read ‘Work’. One reason was it was written by Louisa May Alcott. She is one of the authors whose work I keep re-reading. Her ‘Little Women’ series was one amongst them. Though her novels are set against the backdrop of the 19th Century, I find that I could relate myself to different characters.
So with that in mind, I started off with ‘Work- A Story of Experience’. It was a good, I couldn’t put it down at multiple point thought the plot. But overall if I look at it, It didn’t measure up to the expectations I had. There was too much of a ‘this is right’ and ‘this is wrong’ undertones throughout the book. Though to tell the truth, that adds to the charm of it.
The book is the journey of Christie Devon aspiring independent women who wants to do something worthwhile in life. It starts of with Christie at the starting of her adulthood. After spending her childhood with her Aunt and Uncle, she just wants to work for herself and be independent rather than being just another persons wife.
Her reasoning with her Aunt on wanting to search for that elusive something, which we all search for in life made me sit and think.
“Do you see those two logs? Well that one smouldering dismally away in the corner is what my life is now; the other blazing and singing is what I want my life to be.”
“Bless me, What an idee! They are both a-burnin’ where they are put, and both will be ashes to-morrow; so what difference doos it make?”
Christie smiled…. she added earnestly.
“I know the end is the same; but it does make a difference how they turn to ashes; and how I spend my life……”
Throughout her book Christie tries out different careers such as a maid, an actor, governess and so on. Some of it she is successful. At some work she falls into trouble and has to drag herself out of it all.The life of women during that time and how working for a living established their lives could be seen throughout the book.You could say it was the underlying theme of the book.
There were points in which I felt the character was too much of a Mary-sue. And then again at other points, her flaws were mentioned clearly. It was like a see-saw ride for me. At some point I would be admiring her for doing a particular act. And at other times I ould be shaking my head, asking myself why I was still reading it.
Christie’s love life which is touched upon, and the way she wanted and was tempted to take the easy way out was realistic enough. Her confusion between David and Fletcher was funny at points particularly with Fletcher. I didn’t actually expect him to pop up multiple times throughout the book though,
Multiple plots got merged near the end. We get to know how some of the characters we met were actually related. The relationship between Rachel and David was a surprise. Though in hindsight I ought to have made the connections.
As with some of her other works, the Civil war plays a role in how the plot moves on towards the end. But what really surprised me the most was
Highlight between the brackets to read.
[David’s death. I never thought the author would kill him off. I always thought it would be a happy ending. Though true to her point, she does show that Christie can life her life independently even without David. The point that women can do much in life even without the support of men is clearly made. She does get Christie to move on from David’s death and become successful being a single mother and an activist for other working women. So from the books point of view I would say it turned out well.]
I loved reading the book. I found online that part of the book is almost autobiographical. So I shouldn’t really judge it since at that point in time whatever mentioned in the book made sense. So looking in that way, overall it was good. I might re-read it. But not anytime soon. Maybe after a few years.