Elise Hooper - The Other Alcott (San Francisco Store)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 6:00pm

The Other Alcott is the debut novel from author Elise Hooper.  Many of us grew up knowing the story of the March sisters, heroines of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.  But while most fans cheer on Jo March, based on Louisa herself, Amy March is often the least favorite sister.  Now, it’s time to learn the truth about the “real Amy”: Louisa’s sister, May.  In this captivating work of historical fiction, Elise Hooper gives readers a glimpse into the youngest Alcott’s artistic pursuits and her side of the sibling rivalry.

Author Elise Hooper grew up near the Alcott’s home in Concord, Massachusetts and has been fascinated by the Alcotts (local legends) since her childhood. She remembers visiting The Orchard House museum at age ten and exploring Louisa Alcott’s restored bedroom. There, at a small desk in the corner, was where Louisa had written her classic Little Women in two feverish months. Hooper recalls backing away from the desk and entering May’s room, the youngest of the Alcott sisters, better known to the world as Amy March from Little Women where pencil sketches of angels and animals adorned the walls. This lesser-known sister, the free spirit, the girl who decorated her walls—was she really the brat she was portrayed to be in her sister’s novel?  Elise felt suspicious of Louisa’s account of her. After all, what would our siblings write about us if given the chance? Almost three decades later as Elise embarked on writing a novel, there was no question what she would write about. Her childhood obsession: the Alcotts. And there was May, the sister she and the rest of us knew very little about.  Who was she?  What was it like to be portrayed negatively in your sister’s novel for all the world to read? 

In the book, life for the Alcott family has never been easy, but the most pressing of their financial struggles are eased when Louisa’s Little Women is published. Everyone agrees the novel is charming, but May is struck to the core by the portrayal of selfish, spoiled “Amy March.” Is this what her beloved sister really thinks of her? She begins to question her relationship with her sister as well as her dream to be an artist when her illustrations for Little Women are received poorly by reviewers. This inspires May to embark on a quest to discover her own true identity: as an artist and a woman. Starting with art lessons in Boston and moving on to Rome, London, and Paris, this brave, talented, and determined woman forges a life on her own terms, making her so much more than merely “The Other Alcott.”

This novel is a distinctive and enjoyable read which will include samples of May Alcott’s original (and panned!) illustrations for Little Women.  

Bio: Although a New Englander by birth (and at heart), Elise lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle, where she teaches history and literature. This is her first novel.

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
The Other Alcott: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062645333
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 5th, 2017

A People Magazine and POPSUGAR pick!

“[May's] adventures illuminate the world of intrepid female artists in the late 1800s […] The Other Alcott comes alive in its development of the relationship between Louisa and May.”  --The New York Times