Miss Alcott’s Email is a unique look at what correspondence would be like between the author, Bakke, and Lousia May Alcott, the cherished author of works such as Little Women. She lived from 1832 – 1888 and accomplished much for causes like women’s suffrage and other reforms.
Bakke explains in the introduction that she’s always admired Alcott and decided to see what it would be like to exchange letters with her. Bakke points out that Alcott “was serious when she signed her letters, ‘Yours for reforms of all kinds.’ She made her life, she didn’t just live it.”
The book is part novel, part biography and written in three different tones – from the perspective of Bakke, from that of Alcott and intermingled are the essays about Alcott’s life. It was a bit strange to read the portions “written by” Alcott. Although interesting, it was hard to imagine that the author might have known enough about Alcott to express her opinions in detail. The letters from Bakke to Alcott were insightful and caused me to stop and think about what someone from Alcott’s time would think of our society today.
Through the correspondence we learn about Louis May Alcott’s life, her views on things, as well as details about other authors who lived near her. One such author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was a nextdoor neighbor of Alcott. Another, Henry David Thoreau, often went hiking with the Alcott children. Interspersed with the letters and essays are pictures of Alcott, her family, her home, etc.
The book was an enjoyable read, especially because I enjoy learning about female authors of the past. Alcott had strong opinions about the reforms needed in her time – among them the abolition of slavery and the necessity of suffrage. Bakke paints a vivid picture of Alcott and anyone who loves Alcott’s writings will enjoy Miss Alcott’s Email.