An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
An Old-Fashioned Girl is the story of Polly Milton, a country girl who goes to the city to visit her sophisticated cousins. The story begins with Polly coming for a visit when she is fourteen, quite the country mouse, and ends six years later, with Polly a grown, independent woman. Polly has lived simply and struggles to enjoy the city but not let it change her. Her simple spirit and joy slowly starts to change the lives of her spoiled, unhappy cousins, Fanny, Tom, and Maud Shaw. Mocked for her old-fashioned ways at first, such as dressing simply and being kind to older people, it is her ways that help the Shaws when tragedy strikes. Polly becomes an essential part of their family in more ways than one.
An Old-Fashioned Girl is a well written, engaging book. The story moves quickly, the characters are well-rounded, and the descriptions are detailed enough without taking over the story. I can relate to Polly and her old-fashioned ways. She stands out because she is different, but never compromises on what truly matters to her. There is one line that has always stood out to me as being so true, even now. “You…haven’t yet learned that modesty has gone out of fashion.” Sometimes, the author can seem a bit preachy, but it isn’t too bad. There is romance, but it is sweet, old-fashioned romance, including a bit of comedy-of-errors. At times, you don’t know where the story is going to go, but the ending is satisfactory.
Polly is a sweet character, human through and through. Fanny starts out a spoiled brat, but circumstances gradually begin to change her for the better. Tom is an incorrigible character, always tormenting Polly. And Maud is just plain funny. Trix is one of the worst characters I’ve ever had the displeasure to read about. I love An Old-Fashioned Girl; it is one of my favorite books ever. I’m not sure how many times I’ve read it, but the number is pretty high. If you’re looking for a good classic, I highly recommend An Old-Fashioned Girl.