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Download Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother Audiobook, by Eve LaPlante Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (269 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eve LaPlante Narrator: Karen White Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781452680460
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Since its release nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women has been a mainstay in American literature, while passionate Jo March and her calm, beloved "Marmee" have shaped generations of young women. Biographers have consistently credited her father, Bronson Alcott, for Louisa's professional success, assuming that this outspoken idealist was the source of her progressive thinking and remarkable independence.

But in this riveting dual biography, Eve LaPlante explodes those myths, drawing on unknown and unexplored letters and journals to show that Louisa's "Marmee," Abigail May Alcott, was in fact the intellectual and emotional center of her daughter's world. It was Abigail who urged Louisa to write, who inspired many of her stories, and who gave her the support and courage she needed to pursue her unconventional path. Abigail, long dismissed as a quiet, self-effacing companion to her famous husband and daughter, is revealed here as a politically active feminist firebrand, a fascinating thinker in her own right. Examining family papers, archival documents, and diaries thought to have been destroyed, LaPlante paints an exquisitely moving and utterly convincing portrait of a woman decades ahead of her time—and the fiercely independent daughter who was both inspired and restricted by her mother's dreams of freedom.

A story guaranteed to turn all previous scholarship on its head, Marmee and Louisa is a gorgeously written and deeply felt biography of two extraordinary women as well as a key to our understanding of Louisa May Alcott's life and work.
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Quotes & Awards

  • A most original love story, taut and tender. Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/12/2014

    " This is a well-written book that explores a new perspective on who was behind Louisa May Alcott's success. Her mother was the one who was there for her at all times, encouraging her and being a true role model. So often Bronson Alcott is given the lion's share of credit for Louisa's success, even though he didn't support the family financially and was an absentee parent most of the time. It is very clear from this book that Marmee was the heart and soul of a family that had to cover for their philosophical but morally bankrupt father. This book was written by a relative of the Alcott's, and while it may show bias here and there, it drew upon letters and diary entries that enriched the story. Five stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jen Hagmeier | 2/9/2014

    " A little dry sometimes but good. Makes me want to go re-read "eight cousins" and all the others. :). (not little women tho--think I've read that enough times for the next thirty years or so....) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb.mcquillangmail.com | 2/3/2014

    " Having grown up near Concord, MA and having visited many of Louisa's homes makes this book all the more interesting. I am also inspired to read and reread her works. Can't believe how useless her father really was. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristi | 1/31/2014

    " It's wonderful to finally have a book dedicated to the relationship between Louisa May Alcott and her mother, Abigail May Alcott. LaPlante does well to bring Abigail to greater attention. Abigail Alcott was a dynamic, passionate, strong and inspiring woman. This book is a nice compliment to John Matteson's recent biography of Louisa and her father, Bronson Alcott. However, I do not think that Laplante has matched Matteson's accomplishment. I do not think that LaPlante's book makes significant revelations regarding the mother daughter relationship relationship, nor do I agree that Abigail's influence on her daughter has been ignored or dismissed by Alcott's scholars. LaPlante, who is a distant cousin of Louisa May Alcott, uses biographical readings of Louisa's fiction that are focused toward the influence of Abigail and the May family, to demonstrate Abigail's influence on her famous daughter. While this approach is valid, it is also limiting. I was furthermore deeply saddened by LaPlante's negatively biased portrayal of Bronson Alcott. He was a flawed individual, but he was not all bad. Abigail loved her husband deeply and had good reasons to do so. A more balanced portrayal would have done better justice to both Bronson and Abigail. This is something which Matteson achieves that LaPlante has not. What LaPlante succeeds at is bringing Abigail to the fore of the Alcott story. She should be commended for this. In several instances she does make good use of unpublished archival material. One of the strongest aspects in the book is LaPlante's treatment of Abigail's relationship with her brother Samuel Joseph May. I think LaPlante might have done well to have written her book about sister and brother rather than mother and daughter, as it often felt that her narrative was pulling in the direction of Samuel May and that this is where her interest truly lay. It would have made for a compelling story,as well as one new to scholarship. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joni | 1/30/2014

    " A dual biography by a distant cousin of the Alcott family. In this book, the author explores much of the hidden genius and material that Louisa May Alcott incorporated into her famous novels. The real "Marmee" is Louisa's mother Abigail May Alcott. She was intelligent, fiercely independent and was locked into marriage with a man who never supported his large family. Utilizing letters, journals and Louisa's stories the author makes a case that history has not dealt kindly with Abigail Alcott and that she, not Bronson Alcott was the famous author's muse, confidant, best friend and Marmee. An intelligent and lovingly rendered portrait of a famous family and the complex relationships they had with one another. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Holly Laffoon | 1/28/2014

    " I did not know much about Louisa Alcott's life. This was fascinating! Her MOTHER was the strong one in the family ... Louisa's father was too "intellectual" to bother about trying to support his family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerri | 1/15/2014

    " This was very interesting. I learned so much about Abigail May and her relationship with Louisa. It was well-written and I enjoyed the epilogue that shared information of where to go and how to find out more - I look forward to doing so. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Trishaladd | 1/14/2014

    " Blech. Like reading a research paper. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bethanne | 12/6/2013

    " Wow, I didn't know LMA was from such a prominent family in American history. The book is as much about Abigail as it is about Louisa. Another good read that leads me to ponder the good/bad of journaling, of leaving your life story behind, of unchanging realities of life/marriage/money/spirituality. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Koo | 11/27/2013

    " Little Women and its idealized family have haunted me my whole life. It was helpful to read the story behind the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 11/6/2013

    " I really could get into this book. Kept trying but other books held my intrest more. Might try it again at a later date. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Penny | 7/22/2013

    " Good. Bit slow at first. Her father was a plonker. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 5/3/2013

    " Thoroughly enjoying this after reading the letters so Abigail Alcott in 'The Boundless Heart.' "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erica | 3/15/2013

    " Biography - Louisa May Alcott and Abigail Alcott - mother-daughter relationship - American women's history - a heartbreaking and heartwarming account of the lives of the women behind the children's classic Little Women. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay Heaton | 3/14/2013

    " Not the quickest read, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing, as many parts about Louisa, her mother, and society in New England were quite thought-provoking. I enjoyed it a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie Garvey | 11/27/2012

    " I have been to Concord, Massachusetts and visited the Alcott family's grave. Someone left a bouquet for Louisa. I wish a bouquet was left for Abigail as well. Fecal matter should be left on Bronson's grave. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara Shores | 11/1/2012

    " I got bored and quit this book. I hardly ever do that but this one just didn't grab me. The husband was such a whiny titty baby. It was depressing. "

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About the Author

Eve LaPlante is a great niece and a first cousin of Abigail and Louisa May Alcott. She is the author of SeizedAmerican Jezebel, and Salem Witch Judge, the winner of the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction. She is also the editor of a collection of Abigail May Alcott’s private papers. She lives with her family in New England.

About the Narrator

Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording audiobooks since 1999. An Audie Award finalist, she has earned eight AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her reading of The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2009.