Jo’s Boys is the third book in the Little Women series by series by Louisa May Alcott, and was written in 1886. It is set some ten years after Little Men. It looks at the lives of the Little Men (and women) who were at Plumfield. Tom is studying medicine and still devoted to Nan, also doing medicine, determined to remain single and do good works. Tom’s devotion is suddenly derailed when he finds himself somehow accidentally engaged to Dora West. Nat is hopeful of earning Daisy’s hand and goes to Leipzig to study music, where he is seduced by high society and finds himself in some trouble. Franz is a merchant kinsman and finds a bride in Germany, while Emil becomes second mate on a fateful ship journey where he saves the captain and his family. Dan, having pursued many paths including geology, mining and sheep farming, plans to help the Montana Indians but somehow finds himself in jail. Josie is a budding actress and Bess a sculptress. Demi intends to become a journalist, much to his mother’s despair. This book is again filled with moral tales, but Alcott also includes a day in the life of a famous author, which seems directly lifted from her own experiences. Mrs Jo disappoints in the final chapters with her attitude to Dan: while forgiven for sins, loved and praised for heroism, he is effectively banished from Plumfield as unsuitable for her niece, which seems quite snobbish and uncharitable. This book might appeal to modern-day children, with lots of explanation, but it is not up to the standard of the first book. Fair.
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