An okay novel. I read this like eight years ago and the main thing I remember is that the MC could have been a little less weak. But some good historical stuff and perspective on issues I've never read before.
This book lead me to circumnavigate the foreign country called, The State of Mississippi.
With her thoroughly engaging novel March, Brooks achieves a tremendous feat of imagination. She has taken the largely absent father of Mr. March in Alcott’s classic Little Women and explored his trials during the Civil War. March’s odyssey exposes him to the carnage of battle and also the harrowing institutional practices of slavery in the South. Using the voice of both March in the first part of the novel and his wife Marmee in the second, Brooks does an extraordinary job of investing you in the atmosphere of the era. Her language is rich and moving, and she pulls off with seamless precision the interplay between the past and present to provide backstory. She counters horrifying images of war with gorgeous descriptions of the countryside and scenes capturing the dalliances of romance. Her blistering discussions of the cruelty of slavery’s institution give the novel a political edge. Her characterizations of famous historical figures such as Thoreau and Emerson were wonderfully captivating. March is an outstanding historical novel that had me engrossed with the allure of every memorable detail. It is an immersive and compulsive reading experience.
As I was about 100 pages into this book I was thinking I'd give it three stars, tops. But that all changed as the characters became more entwined and propelled me towards an AMAZING ending.
Only criticism: the author has a habit of telling a story backwards, meaning you feel like you missed something and then after a few pages she'd fill you in on the back story. If she followed a consistent timeline the story would have flowed better.
Love Geraldine Brooks
Loved it. Love history and this was fascinating fictional account. And wonderful writing
March is a parallel story to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, but told from Mr. March's point of view. It tells his experiences during the year that he spent as a chaplain and educator in the Union forces during the Civil War.
While the story itself may have been somewhat interesting, it was lost in the stiff, stilted language. I consider myself a voracious reader, and I found it difficult to get through this book. It's been years (decades, maybe, even) since I read Little Women, but I don't recall it being so formally written. Then again, Little Women is often cataloged YA, and March was cataloged Adult. I suppose the language is kind of appropriate for the historic period, but it made for difficult reading for this contemporary gal.
Mr. March spends a good deal of time in abolitionary work, and in educating newly freed slaves during the war. This is good, important work... and Mr. March knows it. He comes across pretty self-righteous.
This will be a short review... unfortunately, I just didn't care for this book. I was introduced to it through the summer AudioSync program; it was the companion listen for Little Women. Sadly, the download failed and I was only able to listen to about two chapters before having to switch over to the print edition. Oh well. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006. So I actually feel a little bad about myself for not being able to get into it. Maybe my literary taste runs more toward biblioMcDonald's than bibliosteakhouse.
I completely enjoyed "March" as a beautifully read audiobook, (a format I highly recommend for this book), and Geraldine Brooks' "Caleb's Crossing". I went on listening, and chose " the Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott", an excellent story of the well-loved American author, which also illuminates the character of her father, Bronson Alcott. All in all, it was a fascinating three weeks immersed in American historical fiction, and all three books books highly recommended.
I’ve had this book in my to-be-read pile for years now, always picked over because I wanted to get around to re-reading Little Women first. This books gets immediate props for someone finally thinking to tell Mr. March’s side of the story.
The perfect father in absentia in Little Women, who barely exists in the narrative even when he returns home, March is given a much bigger character in this book, and Marmee is too. Neither is the saint their children think them to be … and they are much less likeable once we get to know them better. Despite Marmee’s independence and intelligence, and March’s modern opinions, Marmee no longer seems the equal of her husband, and her husband makes enormous family decisions without her input.
There is no domestic bliss in March, only deliberate lies, a husband and wife who have no idea what the other is thinking, and such extreme war experiences that it seems quite strange that March returns serene and usual to his little women. Brooks has finally told March’s story, but perhaps it was better left unknown.
I have been nervous about reading March by Geraldine Brooks, even though I have enjoyed her previous novels, as I have such a strong attachment to Little Women and I feared Brooks’ vision wouldn’t agree with mine. I am happy to report that other than minor differences, Geraldine Brooks has delivered an excellent, moving story of how a man of conscience experienced the Civil War over the course of one year.
The author draws on her own experience as a war correspondent to vividly describe both battle scenes and conditions in a realistic way. Through the eyes of Peter March, we are able to picture the small events and narrow views of one man’s war experiences. As a chaplain he is mostly dealing with the wounded , the sick and the dead. Being a man of such strong anti-slavery convictions and being totally against violence, he spends a lot of his time wrestling with the morality of war and his own guilt. Not be able to accept even the most casual racism that was prevalent even on the Yankee side, he soon found himself transferred from the regular army to a captured Plantation to deal with the education of ex-slaves.
I was a little taken aback with Brooks view of Marmee, but as I read deeper into the book, her interpretation grew on me and seemed right. I haven’t read Little Women in years, but I now realize, that the Marmee depicted in that book is too good, too saintly to be real. This author saw beneath the veneer and gave the women flesh and blood.
In the end I loved this story of a naïve dreamer going to war and having to face his own shortcomings, and learning the lesson of what is important in life. March by Geraldine Brooks deserves it’s Pulitzer Prize, and is a book I am proud to have share the shelf with the original Louisa May Alcott novels about this family.
tessyjay thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over
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