This is it, folks. The epic showdown you’ve allllll been waiting for. But first: a little background. (Actually, like one sentence of background.) When I was younger, I would get these two authors mixed up because they both have three names, and their first two initials are the same. And recently, my genius brain (*humble cough*) gave me the idea of comparing LMA and LMM to see which one was more amazing than the other. So…
…let the games begin.
Lucy Maud Montgomery wins this one by default, since she was a Canadian. Just sayin’.
(Also, this was just a bit of silliness to kick things off. I don’t think that LMM is the better author because she’s Canadian–though it is very cool to have books set in Canada.)
Louisa May Alcott: Cheerful, hearty, down to earth, and homey. Preachy in parts, melodramatic in others. There’s a reason that Little Women remains such an enduring classic (well, several, but…) and that’s the snappy, brisk dialogue that sounds realistic and not like, say, Elsie Disnmore-esque. LMA’s writing is, for the most part, entertaining and easy to read.
Lucy Maud Montgomery: Golden, wistful, prone to descriptive tangents, fun, nostalgic. Both Alcott and Montgomery are excellent storytellers, but I feel that LMM’s writing is more…writerly? She focused on tone and setting and description and making the words flow like a forest stream. Sometimes all the descriptions do get a bit boring (I tend to skip a lot of them in The Blue Castle), but even if they’re not your thing, they do set a beautiful scene.
I would say that Alcott’s strength lies in writing hugely entertaining stories with great, realistic characters. And Montgomery’s strength lies in taking us back to a forgotten time with all its nostalgia through vivid descriptions and spot-on portrayals of human nature. It’s very hard to decide between the two! However, I don’t like Alcott’s preachiness so I’ll give this category to LMM.
(I’m just going to focus on the main heroine ‘attached’ to each author, or we could be here all day.)
Louisa May Alcott: To know Jo March is to love her. While many people relate to her wild nature, unpredictability, and unconventionality in the first half of Little Women, I’m actually much more drawn to her in the second half, as she learns to grow up, struggles to be a published author, makes mistakes, and ultimately becomes exactly who she’s meant to be. I do think it’s a bit annoying when I take ‘What literary heroine are you?’ and automatically get Jo just because I say I like to write. But oh well…
Lucy Maud Montgomery: What I said of Jo could also be said of Anne (though it took more than the first book to make me love her). There’s something amazing about Anne, maybe even a bit magical. A really cool thing is that we get to see Anne grow from an eleven-year-old to a wife and mom weathering WWI with courage and heart. If you are Not Terribly Amused with Book Anne’s quirkiness btw (like, in the first book), you should watch the movie! I think the movie is, um, better than the book. So there’s that.
Jo wins this category because I relate to her more than Anne.
Louisa May Alcott: I’m just going to say right now that Alcott automatically wins this category because of Dan (Little Men, Jo’s Boys). However, I will go into a little more detail about some of her heroes. Like Laurie. I don’t ship him and Jo, but I do really like him. I like how he’s there for the March sisters when they need him, how he works to improve himself after Amy tears into him, and just how nice and sweet and kind he is. I don’t like Professor Bhaer a ton in the books, but he’s great in the 1994 movie. 😀 And then there’s Dan who is just…too much for my heart. If you care for specifics, I’d be more than happy to share them in the comments below.
Lucy Maud Montgomery: Okay, so I know a ton of girls think that Gilbert Blythe is the best thing to happen to classic literature since Mr. Darcy, but I don’t get it. I mean, I do like him (especially after he and Anne are married) but I don’t think he’s the most amazing Montgomery hero ever. That distinction would have to go to Barney Snaith (The Blue Castle). (Also, I’m talking ‘romantic hero who gets the girl’, otherwise Walter or Jem would be the best hero.) Awful, terrible, no good, very bad name aside, Barney is swoon-worthy. And he’s a cat guy! Guys who like cats are amazing. (Unless they’re Bond villains.)
Like I said, Alcott wins this category. HOWEVER, her creation of Dan does not excuse her terrible treatment of him in Jo’s Boys, so I’m also deducting a point from her score. Take that, horrible author lady!
Louisa May Alcott: I have read seven or eight LMA books (and one tragic short story called Onawandah) and…it’s a mixed bag. I really enjoy Little Women, of course. I feel like I’ve read Little Men too much, but there are still parts of it I love. Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom didn’t super interest me though, and The Inheritance is much better as a movie. So the quality of LMA’s writing isn’t consistent, in my opinion.
Lucy Maud Montgomery: There has been only one LMM book that I didn’t love and that was the rather dreadful Kilmeny of the Orchard (oh, and that weird The Blythes are Quoted, but I only skimmed that). I’ve read TONS of her books and they are pretty much uniformly amazing. Some of the Anne books (esp. the earlier ones) are a bit hit and miss for me personally, but the series as a whole is great. And then you’ve also got The Story Girl, The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill…*happy sigh*.
Lucy Maud Montgomery is a pretty clear winner for this category. I love most of her books, whereas there are only a couple of Alcott novels that get my heart.
(Yes, I know that the authors are in no way responsible for the films based on their books. But let’s just go with it, okay?)
Louisa May Alcott: How many adaptions of Little Women have there been by this point? I can think of several off the top of my head. But my personal favorite is (and probably always will be) the 1994 adaption, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale. Yes, it’s not a perfect book-to-screen film (what i–oh wait, we’ll get to that) but its tone just is LW to me. Can’t be beat, in my opinion. Also, shout-out to the 1997 adaption of The Inheritance. Very little-known period drama, but Most Excellent.
Lucy Maud Montgomery: You know what is the perfect book-to-screen adaption? There are two of them, actually: the first two Kevin Sullivan Anne movies! Now, the second film is actually an adaption of three Anne books, but it’s still perfect. And as for the first movie? *dies from sheer amazingness* I can’t even with these two films. The music, the cast, the setting, the vibes…I CANNOT.
As much as I love Little Women (1994), I’ve got to give this category to my beloved Anne movies.
Lucy Maud Montgomery wins, y’all. As much as I do enoy and appreciate Little Women, Louisa May Alcott just isn’t my fave. She can be a rather annoying author at times. But Lucy Maud Montgomery is everything. Lovely writing, awesome characters that you’ll fall in love with so fast, a plethora of excellent novels that you’ll want to read and reread…I love her books. And, come on, it IS cool that she’s Canadian!
Now tell me: which of these two authors do you prefer? And are there any other ‘author vs. author’ posts you’d like to see from me? I welcome suggestions!