This edition of Little Women contains a retold novel, an introduction, notes on the author, notes on the period when the book is set, the book's themes, a simple glossary, and a free CD (running time 2 hours). The book on the CD is read slowly and clearly to aid comprehension. Little Women is an American novel, set in a small town in New England at the time of the American Civil War, and tells the story of the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, as they grow up. As their father is away fighting in the Civil War he is absent for most of the novel, and their mother is away visiting poorer families who need help, so the story's focus is on how the girls cope with growing up, financial shortages, family tragedies and romantic rivalries. The novel was published as two volumes in 1868 and 1869 and was very successful, with the reading public demanding a sequel. In the novel, Jo wants to be a writer and independent. The girls also come to terms with the boy next door, Laurie, whom they meet and make friends with. Laurie proposes to Jo at the end of the novel, and is a major character in the story.
Little Women is a sentimental story but it also explores various themes from a female perspective, such as importance of work, and the struggle between family duty and individual ambition, and gender stereotyping.