Saccharine sweet, Little Men is very similar in tone to Little Women. After the more mature Good Wives, I wasn’t prepared for the backslide into juvenility. Nor the rampant racism. I’ve been holding my breath for two instalments, but after a seeming escape from historical racism, I was lulled into a false sense of security. But of course, it was all too good to be true.
I like the idea of the Bhaer’s little school, and it seems well suited to Jo, but there’s no actual plot here. It’s more a collection of anecdotes as new boys (and girls) are introduced, and the frivolity and trials of youth prevail. It’s nice to get little moments with Teddy and Meg and even the grandparents, but the focus is rightly on the young pupils.
I suppose there are only so many short stories with morals one can read before the pattern begins to feel repetitive, especially when the random incidents of racism so contrast their message. The pattern I am hoping to see repeat itself is that Jo’s Boys, being set further in the future, returns to the more mature tone seen in Good Wives.