|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » March: A Novel » User review

March

A book by Geraldine Brooks

< read all 7 reviews

Little Women's father is not the man he seems

  • Jul 21, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
March, historical fiction by Pulitzer Prize-winning Geraldine Brooks, is the story of Mr. March (no first name ever given), Little Women's dad,  while he's off serving in the Civil War. This is definitely NOT a feel-good book, but certainly true to what I think of the real Branson Alcott (a self-serving guy who had more good women around him than he deserved).
To those who do not belong to the Louisa May Alcott cult, a little background might be necessary. During the novel Little Women, father Mr. March is rarely in the picture because he enlisted in the Civil War. March and the entire novel are modeled after Louisa's real family, including her real father who was hero-worshipped by his wife and daughters. Truly he was a philosophical educator, failing in several schools, leaving his wife and daughter to trouble themselves over practical matters like food. One primary reason Louisa began to write was to help her family. I guess we can thank Mr. Alcott for that.

Anyway, this novel fills in information about March's (Alcott's) year or so in the war. He is depicted as a chaplain who can't seem to understand what the troops need and, then, as a teacher on a cotton plantation. The cotton plantation is operated by a white man whose farmworkers are freed black slaves. This is one of the interesting Civil War details that Brooks uses so skillfully. Not much seems to go right for March there either. Also, Brooks adds a captivating black woman from March's youth to emphasize the lack of judgment March keeps showing.

Brooks crafts her words beautifully, but the violence of the Civil War leaves little time for happiness in this novel. I was delighted when Mrs. (Marmee) March arrived in Washington, DC, to care for her husband (as she does in Little Women). At last we have a practical, take-charge person who can help make the end of this novel interesting.

What did you think of this review?

Helpful
5
Thought-Provoking
5
Fun to Read
1
Well-Organized
2
Post a Comment
July 21, 2009
I certainly love Little Women, but I never gave much thought to father character. I guess I was caught up in the creative spirit of the girls. This sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing!
 
1
More March: A Novel reviews
review by . April 03, 2013
Historical fiction of the highest caliber, thoroughly researched and truly engaging.
As a reader and a reviewer I will confess that I was biased against the genre of historical fiction, for my image or conveyance of it was of a gothic castle, a beautiful damsel in distress and a clichéd rugged knight riding on a powerful steed. I somehow incorrectly equated it to be on the same level to romance fiction Yes, I genuinely had those thoughts, despite the fact there is a laundry list of reputable historical fiction writers out there who have given the genre a serious literary …
review by . September 30, 2013
    Ask me what book influenced my life the most, and I'll answer unhesitatingly: Lousia May Alcott's Little Women.  I got it for Christmas when I was in Grade Two, and began reading it immediately--but because I wasn't a very good reader it took me until April to finish it.      And then I re-read again.  And again.  And again.      Jo was my heroine for years, and the family's high-minded Abolitionist politics formed …
review by . August 11, 2007
March is told largely in the words of Mr. March, father of all those "little women," and it encompasses the year that he spent as a Union chaplain during the early part of the Civil War. Ever the idealist, one who at times refused to recognize the demands of the real world or to compromise his principles in order to better get along with others, March quickly managed to get on the bad side of both the men to whom he hoped to minister and that of his superior officers. As so often happens during …
review by . January 23, 2007
Really 4.5 stars. Brooks wrote an eloquent narravtive about a man who barely sunk into our consiousness. For the March women to be so mindful and strong, they had to influnced by not only a like mother, but also a father who valued the same indepedence for women.     I am not a Civil War expert by any stretch - infact, that aspect almost kept me from reading this book. The War Between the States was was anything but civil - it was brutal and cruel and ghastly bloody on all sides …
review by . February 28, 2006
When I was growing up, I loved Louisa May Alcott and read everything I could get my hands on by her. Later, through reading biographies, I learned more about her life and how actually radical and forward thinking she was for her time. In March, Geraldine Brooks tells the story of the father of the Little Women series of books. In the Louisa May Alcott books, Mr. March is a shadowy character, missing through most of Little Women, and a wise teacher and grandfather in Little Men and Jo's Boys. However, …
review by . March 07, 2005
Taking a page from the classic Little Women, Brooks considers the possible fate of Mr. March, the father from Louisa May Alcott's novel, gone to the Civil War while his dutiful family waits behind. In difficult financial straights since an injudicious investment, March's family has adapted to their reduced fortunes, valuing the fruits of the mind over material possessions, all convinced "that the greater part of a man's duty consists in abstaining from much that he is in the habit of consuming." …
About the reviewer
Joyce Turrell ()
Ranked #275
I'm a literacy specialist at a large high school. I vegetable and flower garden, have grown kids and two grandchildren. I love to read mysteries. I like seeing what's new on Lunch.
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

You
joytur
Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book

Wiki

Starred Review. Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimedYear of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott'sLittle Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or "contraband." His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he does not to his family: the cruelty and racism of Northern and Southern soldiers, the violence and suffering he is powerless to prevent and his reunion with Grace, a beautiful, educated slave whom he met years earlier as a Connecticut peddler to the plantations. In between, we learn of March's earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family's genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, the first-person narrative switches to Marmee, who describes a different version of the years past and an agonized reaction to the truth she uncovers about her husband's life. Brooks, who based the character of March on Alcott's transcendentalist father, Bronson, relies heavily on primary sources for both the Concord and wartime scenes; her characters speak with a convincing 19th-century formality, yet the narrative is ...
view wiki

Details

ISBN-10: 0143036661
ISBN-13: 978-0143036661
Author: Geraldine Brooks
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists