Book Review: Rose in Bloom

Author: Louisa May Alcott     Date: 1876

I will readily admit that I did not enjoy reading Little Women and the thought of reading another of Alcott’s later novels did not hold much attraction for me. Why did I choose to read it? I am, after all, no longer bound by the silken cords of “school reading”. Well, for some reason I had this peculiar notion of wanting a book whose author had a name bearing an “A” as it’s first letter and Alcott was the only tasteful author the library could afford me, at least, the only author who had written books which I had not read. At any rate I am pleased to announce that I did not find Rose in Bloom to be so dull as I had expected. On the contrary, it is quite a pleasurable story which leaves one with quite a pleasurable feeling. Though Rose’s difficulties as she wades through the joys, sorrows, loves and losses of her young adult life did not keep me on the edge of my seat they did find me wanting to know what would happen to her next.

Rose’s story, though written in a very different time, was very relevant to the respective stories of all of us who find ourselves presently in the same position which Alcott describes: ready to ford the river that separates the simple child from the mature adult. Rose must experience a great deal in the crossing and I was inspired by many of her trials and decisions as I found them similar to some of my own. There was one passage in particular (I have included a piece of it below) which brought back many memories, some of them rather recent, to my mind and greatly encouraged me.

Another quality the novel possesses is though it is a sequel I did not find it confusing having never read it’s predecessor. Though not a stunning piece of classic literature by any means Rose in Bloom was a delightful and wholesome book which I would gladly recommend to any of my acquaintance who are in their teenage years or older. Rose and her family fast become my friends and though their story will not be among my favorites it will always be well liked.

Quote Book

1. “With genius one can do anything: without it one had better let the stage alone.”

2. “Some novels are very useful and do as much good as sermons… because they not only describe truly, but teach so pleasantly that people like to learn in that way…”

3. The wisest things are sometimes the simplest… Everyone welcomes light and air, and cannot do without them: yet very few can explain them truly.”

4. ” “I know I ought to be contented, but I’m not. My life is very comfortable, but so very quiet and uneventful I get tired of it, and want to launch out as the others have, and do something, or at least try. I’m glad you think it isn’t very bad of me, and I’d like to know what my gift is,” said Rose, looking less despondent already.

“The art of living for others so patiently and sweetly that we enjoy it as we do the sunshine, and are not half grateful enough for the great blessing.”

“It is very kind of you to say so, but I think I’d like a little fun and fame, nevertheless,” and Rose did not look as grateful as she ought.

“Very natural, dear; but the fun and the fame do not last; while the memory of a real helper is kept green long after poetry is forgotten and music silent…” “

Occupation

I am here and I am quite busy.

“Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.”
~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

My Sweet Friend

“A word in earnest is as good as a speech.” – Charles Dickens, Bleak House

I think of my friendship with Lillian as being like that between Esther and Ada in Dicken’s Bleak House. Esther is a little older, quiet, kindly towards others but prefers to be left to herself whereas Ada is younger, lively and more ambitious. Together they laugh and they cry, each depends upon the encouragement and the honesty of the other. Thank you Lillian for being one of the best friends I have ever had. I had so much fun taking your picture yesterday. Congratulations on your graduation!

Snapshot of Life

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read.  One does not love breathing.  ~Harper Lee

The stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple of memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown on the rubbish heap of things that are outgrown and outlived.  ~Howard Pyle

My parents have always encouraged my siblings and I to read. Both for personal pleasure and as a way to expand our knowledge. This picture portrays something I am blessed to see every day: the intense look of a reader focused on the written word. It is blurry because such an image must be captured quickly before the eyes look up and the moment of serene enjoyment is gone forever.