(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Invincible Louisa is a wonderful book for readers who already are familiar with Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868), and will inspire those not familiar with Alcott's novel to read it. Alcott's characters in Little Women, her most successful work, are based on her own real-life family. Meigs's depiction of the Alcott family will enhance many readers' appreciation of and fondness for the members of the March family.

Meigs's work also is historically enlightening. Alcott's family actively aided fugitive slaves, and Meigs conveys the drama of this endeavor, describing the Alcotts hiding fugitives in brick ovens inside their home and Bronson Alcott protesting the return of a captured slave to his master. Her portrayal of Louisa nursing wounded Civil War soldiers and experiencing the atrocities of life in the hospital heightens the intensity of the story.

Because many aspiring writers believe that successful authors easily dash off stories, Meigs's account of Louisa May Alcott's struggles with her writing is valuable. Alcott reworked her first two novels several times, and her initial draft of Little Women was not well received by her publisher. She struggled with the writing process, sometimes receiving only discouragement for her efforts. Her perseverance led to her success and provided inspiration for future writers.

But most of all, Invincible Louisa should be read because it is an account of...

(The entire section is 332 words.)