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The Complete Little Women Series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys (4 books in one)

Narrated by: Catherine O'Brien
Series: Little Women, Book 1-4
Length: 37 hrs and 23 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.00

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Publisher's Summary

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888).

The book was written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts. It was published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. The novel follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March – and is loosely based on the author's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The first volume, Little Women, was an immediate commercial and critical success, prompting the composition of the book's second volume, entitled Good Wives, which was also successful. Both books were first published as a single volume entitled Little Women in 1880. Alcott followed Little Women with two sequels, also featuring the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886).

Little Women was a fiction novel for girls that veered from the normal writings for children, especially girls, at the time. Little Women has three major themes:” domesticity, work, and true love. All of them are interdependent and each is necessary to the achievement of a heroine's individual identity.

Little Women itself “has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth.” Little Women has been read “as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well.” Alcott “combines many conventions of the sentimental novel with crucial ingredients of Romantic children's fiction, creating a new form of which Little Women is a unique model.” Elbert argued that within Little Women can be found the first vision of the “American Girl” and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters.

Little Men, or Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, first published in 1871. The novel reprises characters from Little Women and is considered by some the second book of an unofficial Little Women trilogy, which is completed with Alcott's 1886 novel Jo's Boys, and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to "Little Men". Little Men tells the story of Jo Bhaer and the children at Plumfield Estate School. The book was inspired by the death of Alcott's brother-in-law, which reveals itself in one of the last chapters, when a beloved character from Little Women passes away.

©2014 MonkeyBone Publications (P)2014 MonkeyBone Publications

What listeners say about The Complete Little Women Series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys (4 books in one)

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  • Jai
  • 11-03-2018

Poor story and performances

All too innocent and much to preachy. The performance while lively is marred by poor editing with repeated errors, sentences, pops, and hisses which seemed to get so frequent towards the end I think the producers may have stopped caring.

3 people found this helpful

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meh

The recording is terrible. Constant clicks and repeating of words or sentences. It's very annoying.

2 people found this helpful

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Great story disappointing narration

The story was engaging but interrupted with glitches and repeated lines. There were frequent lines repeated and funny glitches towards the end. The narration would have been Better if the voices were consistent for each character...

1 person found this helpful

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A lifelong favourite, delightful.

Whilst I gave read these stories since a young child, it is in the listening that I have realised the profound affect they have had on my thinking and life. This added to my enjoyment now enormously. Thank you to both the re i rding staff and th e reader.

1 person found this helpful

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Family Classic

I don't think there is any need to speak of the storyline of these books as I am sure, like me, anyone who is interested in listening to these stories has probably read them a number of times. Instead I must review the editing .... or lack of it. I did not listen to Little Women or Good Wives as I already have an outstanding recording of these two books in another compilation "The Enchanted Collection" so I can only speak of the latter two books, Little Men and Jo's Boys.

My first impression was how strange it was to hear a delightful British voice narrating this story of an American family. No other accents were attempted whatever the nationality of the character. Then I began hearing phrases in the story repeated. At first, I thought I was hearing things but no .... phrases were repeated. This happened more and more especially in Jo's Boys where you can hear her clear her throat on a number of occasions, a clicking sound and then the phrase repeated. In one instance when the character speaking changes but the narrator reads on then realises her mistake, you can even hear her murmur "Hmmm" before beginning again in a deeper tone to signify a different character speaking. In the end, I found it amusing to listen to as the job of narrating books and making them interesting to the listener cannot be an easy one.

Having said all this, nothing can spoil the beauty of these wonderful books by Louisa May Alcott. They were childhood favourites of mine and listening to them some 40 years later, I find they have lost none of their magic in the retelling.

2 people found this helpful

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Extremely poor editing!

The editing on this production is the worst I've ever listened to. I calculate there must be an hour or 2 extra due to repeated phrases or sentences that haven't been edited out. Very poor! I would not recommend this production of these books to anyone until it has been re-editted.

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Worst Audiobook I’ve listened to

This audiobook was absolutely terrible! I find it hard to believe it was edited at all. The sound fluctuates so dramatically, I had to keep my finger on the volume to save my eardrums. The narrator coughs, clears her throat and clicks throughout. You can hear the mouse clicking, computer sounds , breathing and the microphone is tapped or bumped numerous times (which is very painful to the ears). There are LOADS of repeated words, sentences and entire paragraphs (making the book probably about 10 hours longer than it should have been), as well as sentences where words have been cut out, making it difficult to follow the storyline. The narrator mixes up accents, changing vocal tones and sounds for the wrong characters and there are long gaps of silence mid sentence. I had to finish listening as I was doing a project on this tale, but I will be returning this audiobook, as I have never heard such a terrible performance. From a very dissatisfied list.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book but narrator not good

I enjoyed the books thoroughly but they need to find a new narrator. Shame really.

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  • Ruthie
  • 24-03-2014

You get what you pay for...

I should have guessed that to get 4 audiobooks in one would mean a compromise in quality but I was surprised at the amount of blips and repeats in this. There is little characterisation and in all my many audiobooks I've never heard the narrator clear their throat before either...
However, Catherine O'Brian's voice is pleasant and easy to listen to....plus it is 4 classic books in one after all.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Natapillar
  • 14-07-2015

A poor quality recording

I'm quite surprised that this version is even available through Audible, whose audiobooks are typically of high clarity and sound quality. This reading seems not to have been edited as the narrator often repeats a line, coughs and uses a clicking device to mark sections where there are errors in her speech. Fantastic to get four books in one, but at the expense of quality which does not reflect well on the publisher.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Rabia
  • 05-05-2016

Ouch

Narration poor! Would not recommend this version. Lots of blips make it uncomfortable listening. Am going to try another version. I should have read reviews first.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kathleen
  • 08-04-2015

Classic story, poor edit

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Lots of book for your money but not a great recording.

What didn’t you like about Catherine O'Brien’s performance?

Mis-reads, repeats, coughs and splutters - it sounds like it hasn't been edited at all after being recorded. Spoiled it for me I'm afraid.

6 people found this helpful

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  • sittinginacorner
  • 31-08-2016

Terrible recording!

What would have made The Complete Little Women Series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys (4 books in one) better?

Recording has not been edited. At various points there are pauses, coughing, drinking, mistakes and restarting sentences. Sounds as if it has not been proofed. Very, very poor quality.

What character would you cut from The Complete Little Women Series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys (4 books in one)?

There is nothing wrong with the books, they are classics for a reason, but the recording is very disappointing.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Linda K
  • 16-09-2017

Good and bad

Favourite stories from my childhood.
Terrible recording though. Continual errors in the narration, coughing, repeating sentences and worst of all, an English accent!

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sadie
  • 01-08-2019

Very disappointed

Poor recording of these wonderful books completely spoilt my enjoyment. I don't think it can have been proofread.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-04-2019

poor editing

Should not have been released in this state - editing obviously wasn't finished. The reader is good (NB English accent for classic American story) and it's a lot of listening hours. But seriously Audible, quality control please, people are paying good money!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shep's mummy
  • 27-01-2018

Youth revisited

It is many years since I read these books, a necessary part of growing up when you are a girl. I identified with Jo, wanted to be like Beth and ended up more like Meg or a mixture of them all. The performance was good apart from the recording which seemed not too be as smooth flowing than other stories. There were clickers marking stumbles in the narrative. Then re-runs of narrative which did not cover the section it was correcting. However all things considered this will join my library to be listened to again. I recommend you put up with niggles for the story lives today especially it being the 100 years since the first selection of women received the vote.. The last two books especially promote the rise of women.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Su Underwood
  • 19-10-2020

A battle to get through

I read the abridged versions of these four books as a child and loved them. During the pandemic I craved the comfort of my childhood again and so was delighted to see that Audible had all of them together, as I had remembered my childish satisfaction at all plots being neatly completed. The four unabridged books make for a mammoth task, both for the narrator and the listener. The narrator battles through it stoically, although it is surprising that there is only one attempt at an American accent so most characters sound like middle class Londoners with the odd “Gor blimey” unexpectedly thrown in. Most bewildering are the servants, who veer most disconcerting from cockney to Bristolian and back again. The unforgivable aspect is that no one has edited the recording. Coughing, throat clearing, repeating of paragraphs, and the clicking of the device used to flag the need for editing by the narrator are, frankly, too numerous for a released recording on Audible and they should be ashamed of themselves. I battled on however as, well, Lockdown... The most onerous aspect of the books, however, is that they have not aged well. The constant preaching on how to be a “good” person and it’s nauseating piousness began to drag me down by the end. Poor Dan is meant to be the character that we pity because his life hasn’t ended up with him neatly married and/or in the church and yet I loved him for being the black sheep, simply because, to the 21st century listener, he seems to be the only character that has the strength to put his bible down. So, sadly, I am reminded that you should “never go back” as memories are better than reality. It has filled a massive chunk of lockdown but I feel as if I deserve a medal...