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Jack and Jill (1880): Is a Children's Book

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Jack and Jill: A Village Story by Louisa May Alcott, is a children's book originally published in 1880. It takes place in a small New England town after the Civil War. The story of two good friends named Jack and Janey, Jack and Jill tells of the aftermath of a serious sledding accident.Jack Minot and Janey Pecq are best friends who live next door to each other. They are a Jack and Jill: A Village Story by Louisa May Alcott, is a children's book originally published in 1880. It takes place in a small New England town after the Civil War. The story of two good friends named Jack and Janey, Jack and Jill tells of the aftermath of a serious sledding accident.Jack Minot and Janey Pecq are best friends who live next door to each other. They are always seen together, so Janey gets the nickname of Jill, to mimic the old rhyme. The two do go up a hill one winter day- and then suffer a terrible accident. Seriously injured in a sledding accident, they recover from their physical injuries, while learning life lessons along with their many friends. They are helped along their journey to recovery by various activities created by their mothers. In the end they are all the better for it and have learned many valuable lessons.


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Jack and Jill: A Village Story by Louisa May Alcott, is a children's book originally published in 1880. It takes place in a small New England town after the Civil War. The story of two good friends named Jack and Janey, Jack and Jill tells of the aftermath of a serious sledding accident.Jack Minot and Janey Pecq are best friends who live next door to each other. They are a Jack and Jill: A Village Story by Louisa May Alcott, is a children's book originally published in 1880. It takes place in a small New England town after the Civil War. The story of two good friends named Jack and Janey, Jack and Jill tells of the aftermath of a serious sledding accident.Jack Minot and Janey Pecq are best friends who live next door to each other. They are always seen together, so Janey gets the nickname of Jill, to mimic the old rhyme. The two do go up a hill one winter day- and then suffer a terrible accident. Seriously injured in a sledding accident, they recover from their physical injuries, while learning life lessons along with their many friends. They are helped along their journey to recovery by various activities created by their mothers. In the end they are all the better for it and have learned many valuable lessons.

30 review for Jack and Jill (1880): Is a Children's Book

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Old-fashioned? Sure. Out of date? Not at all. Despite being written more than a century ago, this charming and sweet book has some very important themes and messages for today. In classic LMA fashion, this book is meant to be morally inspiring for Tweens and teens who already accept the moral premise of classic conservative Christian values. To evaluate a LMA book outside of that bent is to essentially judge a fish's ability to climb a tree. In my opinion, this book is highly entertaining and in Old-fashioned? Sure. Out of date? Not at all. Despite being written more than a century ago, this charming and sweet book has some very important themes and messages for today. In classic LMA fashion, this book is meant to be morally inspiring for Tweens and teens who already accept the moral premise of classic conservative Christian values. To evaluate a LMA book outside of that bent is to essentially judge a fish's ability to climb a tree. In my opinion, this book is highly entertaining and inspiring. As a life long LMA fan and a young mom, I enjoyed many of the characters and their story arcs. Admittedly, this book is not without sermons and it is difficult to follow the conversations in places where the speaker changes but the formatting seems to hide that fact. There is no question that I enjoyed this book as a young mom and look forward to sharing it with my children.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Although this here Louisa May Alcott novel, although Jack and Jill is in many ways incredibly preachy and moralising, and definitely much more so than her Little Women, and although I always do tend to cry my eyes out at one particular part (even more so than when Beth dies in Little Women), I keep rereading and enjoying Jack and Jill. Now I am indeed more than well aware and appreciative of the fact that many of the messages presented and promoted by Louisa May Alcott in Jack and Jill are rath Although this here Louisa May Alcott novel, although Jack and Jill is in many ways incredibly preachy and moralising, and definitely much more so than her Little Women, and although I always do tend to cry my eyes out at one particular part (even more so than when Beth dies in Little Women), I keep rereading and enjoying Jack and Jill. Now I am indeed more than well aware and appreciative of the fact that many of the messages presented and promoted by Louisa May Alcott in Jack and Jill are rather massively outdated, that there are gender inequality and obvious social stratification and often rather overtly presented, but that has also not stopped me from calling Jack and Jill one of my personal favourites, and a novel that I do and continuously savour and cherish (over and over and over again). And sometimes, that is really all one can and should expect of reading material to be considered a classic and perennial favourite, namely that it has personal reread potential and reread appeal (as for me, any book, any novel, that I enjoy rereading and often, any tome that has that special and magical appeal, is to and for my feelings great literature, potential issues, potential problems even with outdated content and/or possible stylistic issues always quite notwithstanding and even at least personally above my own criticism). And while Jack and Jill certainly exhibits many instances of especially moralising preachiness and is thus by no means a "perfect" novel by any stretch of the imagination, it has equally had, and from the very first time I read Jack and Jill as a young adult, that very and oh so special rereading magic which make certain books personal favourites, and thus, at least to and for me, enduring and much loved literary classics.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    Rereading books you loved as a child can make you see both; all of the wonderful things in them, and all of the flaws. I think the parts about Temperance passed me by as a kid, maybe I didn't realize the secret society was about forbearing to drink. And no one ever accused Louisa of being light handed with the morals. But the strange thing is, her sense of right and wrong is not far off the mark. We would be better people if we learned to protect and care for those around us, if our mother's pri Rereading books you loved as a child can make you see both; all of the wonderful things in them, and all of the flaws. I think the parts about Temperance passed me by as a kid, maybe I didn't realize the secret society was about forbearing to drink. And no one ever accused Louisa of being light handed with the morals. But the strange thing is, her sense of right and wrong is not far off the mark. We would be better people if we learned to protect and care for those around us, if our mother's pride in us was justly earned, if we thought to ourselves, how can I be useful? how can I set a good example without judging others? And I don't think it is wrong to write a book, whose goal is to set a good example for people, while entertaining them at the same time. I hope that no one tells me years from now, "The Hunger Games was a good book, but so preachy with the morals."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    What is up with people criticizing the morals that Louisa May Alcott had in her books, saying it's a good story "except" for the moral talk? Louisa May Alcott was a Christian! Morals are a GOOD thing (gasp) for humans to learn, whatever religion or creed, and I wish there were more authors like her today. I read books by women like Louisa May Alcott because I wish the world were more like the way she painted it, not this depraved rock we currently live on. I'm putting this one on my to-read list What is up with people criticizing the morals that Louisa May Alcott had in her books, saying it's a good story "except" for the moral talk? Louisa May Alcott was a Christian! Morals are a GOOD thing (gasp) for humans to learn, whatever religion or creed, and I wish there were more authors like her today. I read books by women like Louisa May Alcott because I wish the world were more like the way she painted it, not this depraved rock we currently live on. I'm putting this one on my to-read list because I love her books and I hope she was as "heavy-handed" with the moral talk in this one as she was in her others!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I loved this. I read Louisa May Alcott when I was very young but didn't remember much of her books. This was so lively and whimsical with its great cast of characters. People are just not that gracious and loving towards each other anymore so it was nice to visit that time. I loved the ending and how it wrapped up all of the young people's futures.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    When reading the books of Louisa May Alcott, one must remember that her career was at its zenith a fair while ago. Her creative merits should be viewed in the context of contemporary literature for young readers as it stood when she was active, and that puts a different slant on how her works are to be regarded nowadays. Viewed through that prism, I think that Jack and Jill is a remarkably progressive novel, one that likely stood head and shoulders over nearly any other juvenile stories offered When reading the books of Louisa May Alcott, one must remember that her career was at its zenith a fair while ago. Her creative merits should be viewed in the context of contemporary literature for young readers as it stood when she was active, and that puts a different slant on how her works are to be regarded nowadays. Viewed through that prism, I think that Jack and Jill is a remarkably progressive novel, one that likely stood head and shoulders over nearly any other juvenile stories offered at the time. If there had been a Newbery Medal in existence to give out in 1881 to the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children, I would not at all have been surprised to see it go to Jack and Jill...and it probably would have been the third or fourth career Newbery Medal won by Louisa May Alcott (as of 2019, no author has won it more than twice). If you're expecting just a nice, old-fashioned story of 1800s village life in Jack and Jill, then you will be surprised. Louisa May Alcott takes on a number of difficult issues in the book, including severe, lasting health problems in children, the realities of death when it hits close to home, and the bittersweet poignancy of that imperceptible shift that occurs when children begin to morph into adolescents, whether they're ready or not. If I were to compare this book to a much later one, it would have to be Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky and its sequels, which took a similar tone in giving free range to the expression of its characters about the wan uncertainty of letting go of childhood and moving forward from there. Like Susan Patron's acclaimed novels, Jack and Jill is about much more than just that one issue, of course; there are ample characters and stories for a couple of full-length books at least, a tribute to the richness of thought that Louisa May Alcott put into this book. Interesting people never exist in a vacuum; neither do good, nuanced characters in a book face their troubles and moments of triumph without their friends and family going through similar situations around them. Jack and his friend Jill (which is just a nickname for her, by the way, a playfully trite reference to her close friendship with Jack) may be the main focus of the book, but not at all by a huge measure. In the first chapter catastrophe strikes as the two friends injure themselves pretty seriously in a sled crash during the heart of winter. Jack and Jill are confined to bed for a long time; Jack has suffered a broken leg and a gash on his head, but Jill's malady appears to be far worse. Her back has sustained much damage, and she can't even walk anymore. Until the swelling goes down (if it even does), it's impossible to predict the long-term effects of Jill's injuries. Her mother manages to evade directly addressing the subject of the dubious prognosis with Jill for some time, but there certainly is a real chance that Jill may never walk again. How distressing it would be to lose the gift of physical mobility because of an ill-considered ride on a sled. While laid up in bed, Jill begins to think that she really has nothing at all to offer to her friends or to her mother any more, and her signature spunk noticeably fades. She determines that the only way for her to do something tangibly positive for the ones she cares about is to become as well-behaved and good as possible. It's not easy to affect such a change on an immediate basis, but striving to do so gives Jill a goal that she can work toward minute by minute as she bears with her interminable time abed; and sure enough, her character does see improvement even as she lies there helplessly in her room. Jill's changes to herself do not go unnoticed by her friends. Perhaps the second-most emphasized story in the book is that of Molly Loo and her toddler brother, Boo (again, just a playful nickname), living without a mother with their father and a maid hired to keep house. Without any outside urging, Molly Loo decides that it's time to claim responsibility and start taking care of their house; she also begins tending to Boo, learning at a very young age what it means to be in charge of the domestic share of a family's daily labor. Molly adapts her methods when what she's doing doesn't work, and keeps on trying when it would be much easier to give in and go back to the way things used to be. Her eventual reward is that the household runs much, much better as a direct result of her sustained efforts, though it takes her father a long while to notice the change since he works all the time. Through nothing but the force of her own will, Molly has changed the fortunes of her family and given herself a foothold for the future. Jack, Jill, Molly and all of their other friends, each of whom we are given the opportunity of getting to know in this book, are speeding toward adolescence, and they know that major changes are up ahead even as their personal problems, big and small, find degrees of resolution. Nothing in their past has prepared them completely for what becoming a teenager and then an adult is like, but they do have the smaller issues that they have worked through all of their lives from which to learn. What's up ahead are, mostly, just more complex versions of the same problems that they've known previously, and if they can face those days in the future with the same determination and willingness to adapt that they have carried with them to this point, then they at least have the tools to create success in any situation they encounter, however life may twist and turn and surprise them as they, themselves, grow and change. They can hold on to each other and to the families that love them, and they will be all right no matter how dark the nights become. Louisa May Alcott was far ahead of her time in the writing of Jack and Jill, in my opinion. More than a hundred years later writers are just beginning to consistently touch on the kind of deep wisdom found in this book and how it applies to new young teenagers, and unpacking the sort of experiential advice that Louisa May Alcott expertly wove into her writing many decades before any of the new guard of authors was even born. It really is impressive to see how out-of-the-box Louisa May Alcott was in her writing, and how keenly relevant a book like Jack and Jill still is today for kids going through the exact same sorts of physical and emotional changes that affected their forefathers. I would guess that Jack and Jill will not lose its power to inspire and to teach for another hundred years, or five hundred, or even a thousand. Some books are timeless in the rendering of their theme even as the specifics of the characters' daily lives inevitably becomes old-fashioned, but it's the core effectiveness of the theme and how it is presented that makes the book worthy of lasting. Jack and Jill is just such a novel, and I hope that kids will never stop reading it and learning about themselves through its realistic characters and memorable stories. I would give three and a half stars to Jack and Jill.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Wendi Wanders

    Love this tale of 19th century American children by the author of Little Women. Didactic but warm and sweet. Missionary work begins with taking yourself in hand.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kailey (BooksforMKs)

    Excellent story about self-improvement and friendship in the face of trials and illness. But it manages to be so bright and cheery throughout!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura Peters

    When I was thirteen years old, and read and reread this book a hundred times, I'd have given it five stars. The fact that it remains a three star book into adulthood is no small accomplishment for an author from another age. Louisa May Alcott's style is very openly didactic and so grates a little on modern ears. We're used to having our literary sermons served up in more sneaky ways. The story presented characters that quickly became real and multifaceted to me. I sympathized with their plights a When I was thirteen years old, and read and reread this book a hundred times, I'd have given it five stars. The fact that it remains a three star book into adulthood is no small accomplishment for an author from another age. Louisa May Alcott's style is very openly didactic and so grates a little on modern ears. We're used to having our literary sermons served up in more sneaky ways. The story presented characters that quickly became real and multifaceted to me. I sympathized with their plights and their motivations. (Of course, I first met them all 32 years ago.) I felt that the hours I spent reading the book were spent among old friends, and the book made a pleasant reunion. The thing I found difficult to believe is how easily the mothers were able to guide the pliant and compliant children. This seemed very unreal. But then again, Louisa May Alcott was never a mother. And, it wasn't only the mothers and children, full-grown characters who were behaving badly could be brought to repentance and present a change in behavior by chance overheard comments or small nudges in conversation. Again, can this be real? I reread the book as part of a immersion in the decades following the Civil War for a project. It served that purpose well. I was able to see the world (even if it was idealized) through the eyes of an 1880 woman, and it made a very pretty picture.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Nelson

    I was interested in Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott because the only book I’ve read by her is Little Women, so I wanted to see what her other works contained. It’s fairly similar in style and content; it’s a realistic fiction narrative about growing up and always striving to be a better person. I love the characters she follows in this series, especially the titular characters: Jack and Jill. They are two friends who become seriously injured during a sledding accident. Through their families’ I was interested in Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott because the only book I’ve read by her is Little Women, so I wanted to see what her other works contained. It’s fairly similar in style and content; it’s a realistic fiction narrative about growing up and always striving to be a better person. I love the characters she follows in this series, especially the titular characters: Jack and Jill. They are two friends who become seriously injured during a sledding accident. Through their families’ and friends’ help, they’re able to recover and learn how to be more careful. The main themes in this are learning how to be kind to others and put their happiness before your own, as well as learning how to take responsibility for yourself. While it’s not a thrilling book, I found it to be enjoyable, since the characters are so likeable and relatable. Their friendships with each other and how they take care of each other is incredibly heartwarming, and it’s a pleasant, happy, feel-good read. However, it is also a product of its time and does have some antiquated ideals; it is also a quite a bit more preachy than Little Women was, but it at the very least mostly preaches kindness and doing right by others, which are certainly great qualities for anyone to learn. On the whole, Jack and Jill is a nice middle grade coming of age story. Also posted on Purple People Readers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diana Maria

    What a pleasant surprise and a delightful relief to re-read this darling book which is deemed by many as old-fashioned. I say, balderdash and humbugs!! for it is as wholesome as homemade butter scraped over homebaked bread. The friendship, the industriousness, the cheerfulness, the love and sesibility and sense! If there is something altogether moral, uplifting written with care, love with genuine knowledge of children's minds and souls, with traditional views on education, house-keeping, friend What a pleasant surprise and a delightful relief to re-read this darling book which is deemed by many as old-fashioned. I say, balderdash and humbugs!! for it is as wholesome as homemade butter scraped over homebaked bread. The friendship, the industriousness, the cheerfulness, the love and sesibility and sense! If there is something altogether moral, uplifting written with care, love with genuine knowledge of children's minds and souls, with traditional views on education, house-keeping, friendship, love , good sense, good taste, exquisite sense of fashion and of life in general it is this. It is always considered outdated, for Alcott fought with a pen, good morals and love. And I consider it GREAT!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    1880 YA. I read this long ago when I was a youngster. Borrowed it from the library. So this story is about a couple of teenagers who have a bad sledding accident. Jack breaks his leg & suffers a concussion & "Jill" (really Jane) hurts her back. We actually don't really know the extent of Jill's back injury, since there were no MRIs back then. The rest of the book is about her long recovery, their lives afterwards & those of their friends. There is a death of a character. Jill does en 1880 YA. I read this long ago when I was a youngster. Borrowed it from the library. So this story is about a couple of teenagers who have a bad sledding accident. Jack breaks his leg & suffers a concussion & "Jill" (really Jane) hurts her back. We actually don't really know the extent of Jill's back injury, since there were no MRIs back then. The rest of the book is about her long recovery, their lives afterwards & those of their friends. There is a death of a character. Jill does end up able to walk again. I remember liking this book back in the day. When I reread it all these years later, it just doesn't do it for me. The sledding accident & Jill getting trapped on the boat were the best parts. The rest was just filler. Dull filler. Preachy & dull. The views on women & how they were treated won't go over well nowadays. Interesting only if you want to read all the author's books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jenne

    I just read an article about this novel ("Missionary Positions: Taming the Savage Girl in Louisa May Alcott's Jack and Jill" by M. Hines), so I wanted to reread the book. It was definitely more full of those glurgey Victorianisms (wholesome and pure!) than I remember, but when I was younger I just read these books pretty much at face value and didn't really think about the imperialist subtext and what have you. I still can't quite tell if she's being serious with some of the moralizing. I want to I just read an article about this novel ("Missionary Positions: Taming the Savage Girl in Louisa May Alcott's Jack and Jill" by M. Hines), so I wanted to reread the book. It was definitely more full of those glurgey Victorianisms (wholesome and pure!) than I remember, but when I was younger I just read these books pretty much at face value and didn't really think about the imperialist subtext and what have you. I still can't quite tell if she's being serious with some of the moralizing. I want to think she wrote books like this to pay the rent and actually preferred the "sensational" stories that were supposedly shameful. However, I can't really be bothered to read a bunch of scholarship on the subject.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    Just finished something that demanded maximum concentration, hadn't been to the library yet, had this in the Complete Works on kindle... Gets only two stars because I know I read this as a child and I didn't remember it at all. Reading it as an adult, I mainly notice how Alcott recycles people or incidents from her own past as characters or situations in the books. So here we have the invalid girl (combined here with the tomboy girl), the invalid boy, the too studious boy, the would-be artist, th Just finished something that demanded maximum concentration, hadn't been to the library yet, had this in the Complete Works on kindle... Gets only two stars because I know I read this as a child and I didn't remember it at all. Reading it as an adult, I mainly notice how Alcott recycles people or incidents from her own past as characters or situations in the books. So here we have the invalid girl (combined here with the tomboy girl), the invalid boy, the too studious boy, the would-be artist, the wealthy rescuer, the family spinster, the missing father, the saintly mother. And the kids put on a show, the family goes to the shore, people have idealistic ideas about how to raise children, etc. Ah, well, write what you know.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Blair

    Louisa May Alcott wrote this book to encourage two little child invalids in her life. As a result, this book centers around two little invalids and the trials, joys, physical challenges, etc. they face. Similar to Little Women in the childhood relationships in the neighborhood and the call to consider others. This book moves a little slower than Little Women as the invalids are bound to their bedrooms, then a common living room. There were a few times I was tempted to quit because of the slownes Louisa May Alcott wrote this book to encourage two little child invalids in her life. As a result, this book centers around two little invalids and the trials, joys, physical challenges, etc. they face. Similar to Little Women in the childhood relationships in the neighborhood and the call to consider others. This book moves a little slower than Little Women as the invalids are bound to their bedrooms, then a common living room. There were a few times I was tempted to quit because of the slowness, but I persevered because it was Louisa May Alcott's work. Overall, I was glad that I listened to this work as Alcott's little moral lessons are encouraging to hear.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeana

    This story starts out at Christmastime, when Jack and Jill (best friends who are teenagers) get into a pretty horrible sledding accident and are bed-ridden for months. Not a ton of stuff happens, but we see how the kids get along as they’re healing. Yes, it’s full of morals and lessons but is that really so bad to read about when morals are becoming harder and harder to find these days? I liked reading about the sweet innocence of these kids and while it was a bit preachy, I didn’t mind it at al This story starts out at Christmastime, when Jack and Jill (best friends who are teenagers) get into a pretty horrible sledding accident and are bed-ridden for months. Not a ton of stuff happens, but we see how the kids get along as they’re healing. Yes, it’s full of morals and lessons but is that really so bad to read about when morals are becoming harder and harder to find these days? I liked reading about the sweet innocence of these kids and while it was a bit preachy, I didn’t mind it at all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gehayi

    I read an abridged version of this when I was little, which, if I recall, ended with Chapter 18--May Baskets, with the bit about Ed from Chapter 20 being moved to an earlier chapter. So this was the first time that I heard about Frank and Jack Minot's temperance activities, or Pebbly Beach, or the kids taking a break from school for years on the insistence of Mrs. Minot (!), or the ultimate fates of Jill Pecq, Merry Grant, and Molly Loo. Those last six chapters were completely new to me, and the I read an abridged version of this when I was little, which, if I recall, ended with Chapter 18--May Baskets, with the bit about Ed from Chapter 20 being moved to an earlier chapter. So this was the first time that I heard about Frank and Jack Minot's temperance activities, or Pebbly Beach, or the kids taking a break from school for years on the insistence of Mrs. Minot (!), or the ultimate fates of Jill Pecq, Merry Grant, and Molly Loo. Those last six chapters were completely new to me, and they let me enjoy the book in a way that I hadn't before.

  18. 5 out of 5

    treva

    I get the sense Alcott felt compelled to write several books 'in the style of' Little Women for reasons other than actually having more stories to tell. The March sisters are so alive and complicated and flawed, and don't tend to learn their morals patly at the end of each chapter. Whereas I find the characters of her other childrens' novels -- even in Little Men, and to an extent in Jo's Boys -- to be flat and uninspired, simultaneously precocious and gentle-hearted, sweetly tamed by the ever-w I get the sense Alcott felt compelled to write several books 'in the style of' Little Women for reasons other than actually having more stories to tell. The March sisters are so alive and complicated and flawed, and don't tend to learn their morals patly at the end of each chapter. Whereas I find the characters of her other childrens' novels -- even in Little Men, and to an extent in Jo's Boys -- to be flat and uninspired, simultaneously precocious and gentle-hearted, sweetly tamed by the ever-wise, ever-forgiving Mother figure. And the worst of it is, they're pretty boring, really.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    "...for faithfulness in little things fits one for heroism when the great trials come." "...for busy minds must be fed, but not crammed; so you boys will go and recite at certain hours such things as seem most important. But there is to be no studying at nignt, no shutting up all the best hours of the day, no hurry and fret of getting on fast, or skimming over the surface of many studies without learning any thoroughly."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

    “No real trying is ever in vain.” 4.5 stars! Louisa May Alcott never fails to deliver. Her characters are always SO loveable, and their growth is always so evident and well done. I don’t know why I didn’t read this sooner. I’m just weird :/

  21. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    Dnf. I reached chapter 6 and decided that the book was depressing me too much to continue. Any Goodreaders who stumble across my review need to keep in mind that my opinion of this book is biased by my personal circumstances. Essentially I'm having a rant, rather than recommending readers against it. A common theme in Victorian children's books is stoicism in pain and suffering. That's understandable in an era without anaesthetic and when childhood death was sadly common. I guess parents wanted Dnf. I reached chapter 6 and decided that the book was depressing me too much to continue. Any Goodreaders who stumble across my review need to keep in mind that my opinion of this book is biased by my personal circumstances. Essentially I'm having a rant, rather than recommending readers against it. A common theme in Victorian children's books is stoicism in pain and suffering. That's understandable in an era without anaesthetic and when childhood death was sadly common. I guess parents wanted their kiddies to be prepared for the inevitable suffering they would experience. So poor bedridden Jack and Jill are typically depicted as being brave and stoic in their pain as a broken leg is set, a serious back injury examined, and weeks of confinement in bed are endured. However Jack and Jill aren't angels and their discontent is occasionally expressed in sadness, rudeness and general pettiness. But Jack and Jill determine that they will be good. Goodbye bad behaviour, they are going to be well behaved patients from now on. You know what, this sucks. It's dishonest. And it's painful to read. Crying when you are hurt isn't something to be ashamed of. Struggling with being unwell isn't something to be hidden. I'm not advocating that we all throw tantrums when we're sick. What I'm really saying is that society hadn't quite loosened its grip on Victorian stoicism. We still celebrate sufferers of chronic illness, disability or injury who overcome, who are unflinchingly positive, or soldier on. We celebrate the brave moments and ignore the sobs in the night, the trauma of pain and sickness, and the all too familiar sense of loneliness and loss. In its rawest expression, we rob patients of the simple right to be honest about their experiences and struggles, and instead place on them the expectation of an indefatigable smile and spirit. I'm sure eventually Jack and Jill recover and get on with their lives. I know things will be better for them in later chapters. But right now, in my position of being chronically ill, I don't want to read about their stoic suffering.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This is just the sort of story my mother would have read to us growing up. Like Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder and many other wonderful stories for both girls AND boys, this book shares many interesting tales filled with wonderful lessons to be learned. The stories feel real, as if the boys and girls actually lived, and the lessons learned are those young ones can glean from and even laugh at, bringing comfort and encouragement for those tumultuous growing up years. Jack and This is just the sort of story my mother would have read to us growing up. Like Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder and many other wonderful stories for both girls AND boys, this book shares many interesting tales filled with wonderful lessons to be learned. The stories feel real, as if the boys and girls actually lived, and the lessons learned are those young ones can glean from and even laugh at, bringing comfort and encouragement for those tumultuous growing up years. Jack and Jill and all the other children are good role models, even with all the scrapes they get into, and their adventures are certain to set the imagination soaring. I love when Jack's mother encourages Jill on her longer road to recovery after teh sledding accident, helping her to bare her trials patiently, without complaining, and to learn all she can during her injury. It's not something every young person deals with at such a young age, but I'm sure it's from reading many stories such as these that has given me strength in my own trials in my older years, and I'm thankful such beautiful stories exist. :) One trouble I had, however, was determining what ages the children in the story were. It was a bit confusing to figure out, but didn't detract too much from the actual story itself. One thing that did detract from the story, in my opinion, was a lack of overall plot and purpose to the story. Perhaps it's the time period it was written in, and thus not the style of writing in that era, but it was very slow reading for me in the first half or so, as much of what is taking place surrounds the invalids, and the end didn't share a very large overall lesson at all, though there is much to take away from this book. It's more of a collection of short stories that connect by the characters more than the events themselves. No biggy though. :) I still loved it, and think this one will soon find it's way into my book collection at home.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Teri-K

    I've always really liked this book, but haven't read it in decades. Still I found I enjoyed it a lot upon rereading. It's not a didactic as some of Alcott's work, but full of fun and sentiment. The plot revolves around two young neighbors and good friends who get seriously injured in a sledding accident. It follows them and their families and friends through the winter and spring while they recover. There's fun and laughs and also some trouble and sadness. I think what I like best about this boo I've always really liked this book, but haven't read it in decades. Still I found I enjoyed it a lot upon rereading. It's not a didactic as some of Alcott's work, but full of fun and sentiment. The plot revolves around two young neighbors and good friends who get seriously injured in a sledding accident. It follows them and their families and friends through the winter and spring while they recover. There's fun and laughs and also some trouble and sadness. I think what I like best about this book is the two MCs. Jack and Jill are lively, likable, and not perfect, so I could identify with them when I was young and I enjoyed revisiting them, too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I read this when I was 12 or 13 and loved it, though it was quite old-fashion by my friends' reading standards. But I was an old-fashion girl with whom the modern mores never set quite easily.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Nealen

    A pleasant, enjoyable read. Although it featured very well defined gender boundaries, it was probably considered quite liberal in its time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I don't remember this well enough to rate it let alone write a review. I do remember that I read this during the summer about the same time as I read Under the Lilacs.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lilmissmolly

    Because Little Women is one of my favorite American-authored classics, I greatly anticipated listening to Jack and Jill: A Village Story by Louisa May Alcott. Like Little Women, Jack and Jill includes well-defined characters and tight-knit family unity. Based on her own childhood experiences, Alcott captures what it was like to grow up in an a very loving family in a small New England town in the 19th century. The story follows the lives of two 13-year-old neighbors, Jack and Jill. Similar to th Because Little Women is one of my favorite American-authored classics, I greatly anticipated listening to Jack and Jill: A Village Story by Louisa May Alcott. Like Little Women, Jack and Jill includes well-defined characters and tight-knit family unity. Based on her own childhood experiences, Alcott captures what it was like to grow up in an a very loving family in a small New England town in the 19th century. The story follows the lives of two 13-year-old neighbors, Jack and Jill. Similar to the nursery rhyme where “Jack and Jill went up the hill,” the two main characters in this story are destined for a fall. They go sledding on the first day of the season whereupon their adventurous natures and competitiveness get the better of them. After sledding down a particularly treacherous slope, both are seriously injured. The rest of the story takes place over the next year when Jack and Jill are nurtured back to health by their widowed mothers, and their family and friends try to keep them entertained, despite not having TV, the internet, or cellphones. I particularly enjoyed the tone and reality of this story, from play acting with neighborhood friends, to infatuations and jealousy between a few of the girls, and heartache after the death of a beloved friend.  I listened to the Audible version of Jack and Jill narrated by Becket Royce. Becket did an excellent job narrating this book, providing distinct and consistent voices for all characters. Her narration really contributed to my satisfaction of the story.  I highly recommend this audiobook to anyone who enjoys the old classics.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Jack and Jill are two precocious pre-teens, sledding with a group of friends in their New England hometown. They are both terribly injured after a sledding accident, Jack with a broken leg and Jill with a more serious injured back. Both are bedridden and their friends and family do all they can over the next year to cheer them up. Patience and sweetness of temperament aren't Jack and Jill's strong suits, and both struggle at times to control their tempers. Things are especially hard for Jill as s Jack and Jill are two precocious pre-teens, sledding with a group of friends in their New England hometown. They are both terribly injured after a sledding accident, Jack with a broken leg and Jill with a more serious injured back. Both are bedridden and their friends and family do all they can over the next year to cheer them up. Patience and sweetness of temperament aren't Jack and Jill's strong suits, and both struggle at times to control their tempers. Things are especially hard for Jill as she faces a future as a permanent invalid. Luckily they have the influence of their sweet mothers and a group of steadfast friends to show them the virtues of patience. This family story is really heartwarming. Listening to this classic is like peeking into a time capsule. The slang and expressions the children use, the games they played, and the morals they upheld are all interesting. Each chapter is presented like a little vignette and most end with a moral. Jack and Jill isn't my favorite Alcott, but it's worth a listen if you love her work. The narration by Becket Royce was well done, the narrator's pace and tone were perfect. It pulled me right into the story. I was provided a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tove Ford

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. So many reviewers here seem to adore this book that I find it a little difficult to say that - well, I don't. This is not Louisa May Alcott's best effort - not by a long shot. By the time she wrote Jack and Jill, she was, in her own words, tired of writing moral pap - and that is exactly what Jack and Jill is. It takes all of LMA's tendency to glorify domesticity, preach about Temperance, idolize mothers, stump for educational reform, promote healthful exercise, encourage girls to be "little miss So many reviewers here seem to adore this book that I find it a little difficult to say that - well, I don't. This is not Louisa May Alcott's best effort - not by a long shot. By the time she wrote Jack and Jill, she was, in her own words, tired of writing moral pap - and that is exactly what Jack and Jill is. It takes all of LMA's tendency to glorify domesticity, preach about Temperance, idolize mothers, stump for educational reform, promote healthful exercise, encourage girls to be "little missionaries at home" and romanticize invalidism and rolls it all up into one big bundle. She left out dress reform (saved that for Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom) but otherwise, she hits the moral stump and doesn't leave it through the entire volume. I find the central theme, "taming" Jill, the willful and independent heroine (at least in the beginning) by having her suffer a spinal injury, very disturbing. Through enforced invalidism she learns patience and perseverance - she becomes "meek", which is shown as very desirable. This is puzzling to me, because Alcott herself was far from meek. Though she supported her parents until their deaths (and her own), she was a career woman who traveled, worked at a number of occupations and made a name for herself when that just wasn't the done thing. Perhaps she was rewriting the tragic Beth story from Little Women. In Jack and Jill the invalid survives and gets better, but Alcott's determination to make Jill learn a hard lesson from wanting to have some fun sledding gets very disturbing as the poor girl is praised for losing all her spark and independence and becoming a sweet, meek little thing stitching away at fancywork. Even Rose from Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom is a spunkier heroine at the end of those books. Poor Jill is simply crushed, literally and figuratively. This is strange, considering LMA's treatment of her other female characters - though I must admit that poor Jo March undergoes a sad transformation by the time she appears in Little Men (overworked housekeeper/mother substitute) and Jo's Boys (overworked author and reluctant celebrity). The male characters in Jack and Jill are treated much more kindly (with the exception of one minor character, who dies - and an entire chapter is devoted to his funeral when the reader can't even remember who the heck he was). Jill's companion, Jack, who was injured in the same sledding accident, gets over his broken leg and gets right back to his normal life in short order. He's a bit of a dunce, but this is glorified by Alcott because he's hearty and healthy and loves sports and exercise. His studious brother, Frank, is eventually convinced to become the same when their mother decides that, in their mid-teens, they need to stop going to school for a couple of years and spend their time in active outdoor pursuits. While Jill is left to suffer all the consequences of the accident (she is supposed to be the cause of it because she teased Jack to sled on a dangerous slope - hey, he could have said "no"), the boys have all sorts of larks and fun. Jill gets to sew. The fellows don't really seem to evolve or grow. There isn't much of a plot - a couple of kids get hurt and then get better. The girl is very changed, the boy just goes on as usual. Yet Alcott gets a lot of pages out of this - mainly by including microscopic descriptions of things like a Washington's Birthday pageant (an entire very long chapter is devoted to the performance), a trip to the seaside or a fair where the kiddies take their pets. Lots of preaching, lots of endless description of girls sewing, Mammas talking to them about morals and how to live, lukewarm "adventures" where not much happens does not a great book make. Modern readers will find Alcott's Victorian classism very apparent in Jack and Jill. Jill's mother is not of the same class as Mrs. Minot, Jack's mother - she is a poor widow who works at various nursing, cleaning and factory jobs to support her daughter. Mrs. Minot basically takes Jill over - has her moved from her humble home to the Minot's upper class domicile for her recuperation. Has Jill's mother come and work as her housekeeper. When Mrs. Minot takes the younguns to the seaside, Jill's mother is LEFT BEHIND AND DOESN'T EVEN COME FOR A VISIT. Yet Mrs. Minot is portrayed as a sort of ministering angel - and yes, she does good things. She knows what's best for everyone. One of those things is keeping Jill's mother in her place. That grates. It's as bad as Jo March telling poor Dan in Jo's Boys that he can't aspire to the hand of Amy's daughter because of his bad background and prison time, though he is a gallant and good character - because he's tainted and can't, in turn, "taint" the woman he loves. I realize that this is typical of Alcott's time, but for all her prating about independence and the equality and nobility of man, she makes it clear that she ascribes to the Victorian ideals of keeping classes separate and in their proper places (unless, like Mrs. Minot, she is grooming a girl like Jill by making her meek and acceptable to become her dunce son's eventual bride.) What bothers me most is the fact that none of the characters has much personality. Three of Jill's friends have names that begin with 'M', and it's darned hard to remember which is which. They don't stand out. There are no Josephine Marches, no Amys, no Josies, no Roses in Jack and Jill. Likewise, there are no Aunt Marches or Aunt Myras for comic relief or a touch of nastiness, no Professor Bhaers or Lauries to add a touch of romance. (We get a glimpse of the future where the girls get to marry the boys in the story - only one is the requisite Alcott "happy spinster" - apparently there is no conflict or surprise in their eventual love lives.) It's all very neutral and very sweet, without a touch of salt that would have made it a much better tale. As it stands, it's a book that probably won't offend anyone. You can skip lots of pages and not miss a thing. You can't hit a winner every time. Jack and Jill isn't a winner. Sorry.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Fiction through rose colored glasses about young people growing and maturing. A set of friends if a small town in the New England area of the States have two very popular members of their group, Jack and Jill. Jack Minot is growing up with his mother and older brother in a fairly good economic situation while Jill Pecq is the only daughter of a poorer woman living on the Minots’ property. These two get in a sledding accident as the book opens. Jack’s injuries keep him down till the spring, but Fiction through rose colored glasses about young people growing and maturing. A set of friends if a small town in the New England area of the States have two very popular members of their group, Jack and Jill. Jack Minot is growing up with his mother and older brother in a fairly good economic situation while Jill Pecq is the only daughter of a poorer woman living on the Minots’ property. These two get in a sledding accident as the book opens. Jack’s injuries keep him down till the spring, but Jill will need to be careful of her back for many months. Her mother is important to her, but in this story, Mrs. Minot takes charge of the situation and makes fantastic arrangements to help Jill get better. Toward the end of the book, Mrs. Pecq is hardly mentioned. The book covers about eleven months of the two two principal characters’ adventures as well as of some of their friends. Along the way, challenges are dealt with, one friend buried, some friends growing closer while others diminish into the background. The book would be good reading for a young person who has had a very careful upbringing and is headed into their teens.

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