9. Louisa May Alcott - Little Women
Little Women and its sequels are world-renowned children's classics. A coming-of-age story focusing on the lives of four sisters, Jo, Meg, Amy and poor sweet Beth, who were based on Alcott and her real life sisters. A well-written series of stories, praised for its realistic look at women and their place in late 1800s society; and as universally beloved today as it was on first publication – except by its writer, Louisa May Alcott.
She describes Little Women – the work that she is best known for – as “moral pap for the young”, which is the Victorian equivalent of saying “steaming poop that pays the bills.” More content with writing adventure stories, Alcott was browbeaten into writing Little Women by her father, which says more about a woman's place in society during that period than any of her writing ever could. She completed Little Women in ten weeks; this woman wrote a literary classic in two months, under duress.
More so than the actual process of writing Little Women, Alcott held a great deal of disdain for its ardent fanbase, parodying her fans' annoying sentimentality in the fourth book. But the greatest act of spite to her fans occurs in Little Wives when Alcott marries off Jo, whom she wanted to remain unmarried much like Alcott herself, not to the fan-favourite tall, handsome, rich, age-appropriate Laurie; but to bearded, poor, ditzy, German, old Professor Bhaer.
Imagine if Titanic had ended with all the tension of Rose and Jack's building relationship ending with Rose just sticking with Billy Zane. That's about what Alcott did. For spite.