Eden's Outcasts: Book summary and reviews of Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson

Eden's Outcasts

The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father

by John Matteson

Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson X
Eden's Outcasts by John Matteson
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  • Published Aug 2007
    528 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Louisa May Alcott's name is known universally. Yet, during her youth, the famous Alcott was her father, Bronson—an eminent teacher, lecturer, and admired friend of Emerson and Thoreau. Willful and exuberant, Louisa flew in the face of all her father's intricate theories of child rearing. She, in turn, could not understand the frugal life Bronson preached, one that reached its epitome in the failed utopian community of Fruitlands. In a family that insisted on self-denial and spiritual striving, Louisa dreamed of wealth and fame. At the same time, like most daughters, she wanted her father's approval.

As her father struggled to recover from a breakdown and slowly resurrect his career, Louisa learned to support her family, teaching if she must, but finally finding her vocation in writing. This story of their tense yet loving relationship adds dimensions to Louisa's life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters. 26 illustrations.

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Book Awards

  • award image Pulitzer Prize Winners, 2008

Reviews

Media Reviews

"This is really a biography of the whole Alcott family, though it narrows to a dual portrait after the wild success of Little Women in 1868" - Publishers Weekly.

Starred Review: "Matteson's lucid, commanding biography casts new light on an unusual father-daughter bond and a new land at war with itself." - Booklist.

"Matteson's graceful style and careful scholarship confirm his premise that the two were indeed "Eden's outcasts . . . for both, life was a persistent but failed quest for perfection." Highly recommended." - Library Journal.

"Carefully researched and sensitively written. Essential. " - Kirkus Reviews.

This information about Eden's Outcasts was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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