This favorite book for children, based on the author's own youthful experiences, describes the life of the March family in a small New England community in the 1800s.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March are raised in genteel poverty by their loving mother while their father serves as chaplain during the American Civil War. Jo at fifteen is ungainly, unconventional, and enterprising, with an ambition to be an author. Meg, a year older, is pretty and wishes to be a lady. Beth is a delicate child of thirteen with a taste for music. Amy is a blonde beauty of twelve.
The story explores their domestic adventures, their attempts to increase the family's small income, their friendship with the neighboring Laurence family, and their later love affairs and destinies as women.