04 November 2009

Short Review: March by Geraldine Brooks

March, by Geraldine Brooks, takes us behind the scenes of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. In it we learn the fate of Mr. March and his life during the first year of the U.S. Civil War. Brooks based the character on Bronson Alcott, a friend of Emerson, Thoreau, and other Concord transcendentalists.

March joined the Yankee forces not as a soldier but as a chaplain. His intellectual and idealistic personal philosophy is brought into question as he sees just how poorly humans can treat each other and discovers his own inability to live up to lofty standards.

The book also explores his relationship with his wife, his life as a family man, and his difficulties returning home after the horrors of war.

I listened to this novel in February 2007. Here's a look at my notes:

I thought the novel was wonderful. The descriptions of the hospitals and medical conditions of the Civil War were vivid. Interesting perspective on slaves, slavery, and the not-yet-free slave. March provides a bit of insight into the transcendentalists and fills out the all-too-perfect Marmee of the Little Women books. Perhaps worth another listen someday.
I gave the novel an A. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Civil War period, transcendentalism, historical fiction, and Louisa May Alcott.

The cover shows the 2006 Penguin paperback edition, although I listened to the unabridged audio read by Richard Easton, who did an excellent job with Both Marmee and Mr. March. (Source: bought; see review policy)

March at Powell's
March at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs.

Reading at the Beach is the host for this meme: Each week she invites us to spotlight a book whose title begins with the featured letter. This week it's M.


Chrisbookarama 11/4/09, 6:40 AM  

I enjoyed some parts of this one but the ending didn't do it for me. Glad you enjoyed it.

Kristen 11/4/09, 7:08 AM  

I really liked this one a lot. I especially liked the change in narrator in the second portion, giving us a more realistic view. LOL!

Nise' 11/4/09, 7:44 AM  

I may have to put this one on my to be listened to list!

Unknown 11/4/09, 8:23 AM  

I'm not keen on the civil war period but I did like little women a lot so might actually give this one a shot.
Here's my letter M

Julie P. 11/4/09, 8:59 AM  

I really liked this one as well. Brooks is a fantastic writer!

Margot 11/4/09, 10:34 AM  

I like the idea of this. It sounds like the grown-up version of Little Women.

The Bumbles 11/4/09, 12:59 PM  

I read this a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. I especially liked how in the latter portions we got to see the story from Marmee's point of view - and how different they were from each other! Isn't that always the way. It made me want to re-read Little Women, which I did a few months ago. And then it made me want to visit the Alcott home, which I did last month. I'll have a link to my review of that attraction on my blog soon!

Beth 11/4/09, 1:11 PM  

This book sounds so interesting. Here is my "M" book.

bermudaonion 11/4/09, 2:44 PM  

I have a feeling I'd like this one - I adore Little Women.

The Tome Traveller 11/4/09, 2:47 PM  

I really enjoyed her People of the Book...I have March but haven't gotten to it yet. Glad to know it is a good one!


Marg 11/4/09, 3:04 PM  

This is probably my favourite Brooks book. I don't remember having an issue with the ending of this one, like I do with her other books.

Kailana 11/4/09, 3:20 PM  

I really must read this book! I have owned it forever!

Anonymous,  11/4/09, 3:40 PM  

I've never seen this book before, but with all the good things said about it I might have to read it!

Thanks for playing!

Unknown 11/4/09, 4:15 PM  

I have about 4 Geraldine Brooks book in my TBR pile. I haven't read any of them yet and have no idea why not - I really need to get round to one soon. It is good to hear that you enjoy her writing.

Veens 11/4/09, 6:48 PM  

I have read mixed reviews about this one Beth! But i think i should pick up the 1st book by her at least!

Kim 11/4/09, 10:46 PM  

I have liked other Brooks books but this one I just seem to never be able to pick up. I think it is because I don't care for the civil war period all that much. Nice choice for the meme though.

Lisa 11/4/09, 10:52 PM  

I had the hardest time with this book through most of it. It was like someone was attacking my family. But at the end, I really came to like the book.

Anonymous,  11/5/09, 10:54 PM  

Fabulous book. Geraldine Brooks is a powerhouse historical fiction author.

Alice 11/6/09, 4:45 AM  

I think I have this book in my TBR. It's not what I usually would read but I've heard a lot of good things about Brooks that I need to read her books soon.

Jenners 11/8/09, 8:43 PM  

I think the premise for this book is interesting.

Anonymous,  11/12/09, 10:59 AM  

In theory, this book should have worked for me. I have read all the books in the "Little" series - Little women, Good wives, little men and I loved them all.

But somehow, I found Geraldine Brooks Mr. March insufferably superior and patronizing.

This book was just meh for me.

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