Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott

It has become semi-traditional at our home to read this book aloud sometime during the holiday season. I always enjoy hearing of the adventures (and misadventures) of the seven young Bassett children as they set out to make Thanksgiving dinner on their own. Set in turn-of-the-century rural New Hampshire, this is a story of family togetherness well worth reading. Jody Wheeler's illustrations add to the humorous, nostalgic feel of the book.

2 comments:

Katie said...

I just read this as well, for the first time. I enjoyed it (I always enjoy Alcott), but some of the dialect bothered me - it seemed Alcott was making a very big deal of pointing out how uneducated the characters were (especially in comparison with her other, better-known characters). I also thought this book (set "many years ago") was a great example of the way that the Victorians put a lot of effort into "inventing history" and traditions for the Thanksgiving holiday.

kara a. said...

Katie,
Thanks for commenting! I always enjoy hearing what others think about the books I'm reading.

I've always liked dialect in stories, and can't say I particularly noticed the tone (condescending?) you detected. Dialect seems an effective way of setting a scene; I would assume this was Alcott's motivation.

As for inventing history, I don't think it's too far fetched to say that people celebrated Thanksgiving before it became a national holiday. (which was in the 1860's, I believe) I find it quite easy to believe that many families would have had traditions of their own long before the nationwide ones we know today.

Again, thanks for stopping by!