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. At sixteen, Meg is the oldest sister. She is considered the beauty of the March household, and is well-mannered. Jo starts out as a tomboyish, hot-tempered, fifteen-year-old girl. Beth is even-tempered and has always been very close to Jo. Amy, the youngest sister, age twelve, is interested in art.