"March" in this title refers to the protagonist, Mr. March, patriarch of that well-known March family from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. And I admit, I spent the first half of this book trying to figure out why Brooks decided to use Little Women as a context for her book. Eventually, I found it didn't really matter--not because the book can or should stand by itself (it probably can, but it needn't), but because I was really most interested in the little bits of information about Jo, or Meg, or Amy, or Beth that were scattered throughout their father's narration. The historical detail in March is interesting, but as I read it, I felt it needed a broader canvas. It's supposed to be the intimate first-person perspective of one man, a man confronted with his own (mostly internal and ethical) reactions to the Civil War, but I found myself totally ambivalent toward him. On later review, I came to the conclusion I was supposed to feel a little bitter toward him, and I suspect Brooks wrote the book with a feminist slant. It was only when Marmee's perspective suddenly jumped into the narrative toward the end of the book that I felt truly engaged by the novel, and it wasn't that I was more interested in Marmee's thoughts, or that I was already inclined to be sympathetic toward her because of Little Women (I was never a big fan), it was that Marmee's perspective contradicted her husband's. I was quite satisfied with the way the book ended, but I think the fact that the book absolutely cannot do without Marmee's brief first-person perspective highlights a larger structural problem.
This was assigned to me as a book club book and I was sure I would dislike it and probably not finish it...however, I was wrong.
This spinoff of Little Women is poignantly written with a certain...well, impartialness that only a non-American can provide when writing of the civil war. The characters are rich and multi-faceted. To me the story flows as part of Alcott's original classic.
I recommend it.
For someone who loves Little Women, this was a completely different book, focusing on the civil was and abolition, but it weaved in and out of the Little Women story, adding more context to that book as well.
I grew up loving Little Women, so when i heard about this book I had to read it. March, or Mr. March (the father of the Little Women) tells his side of the story and the life he lived when he was away from his little girls. I really liked this book and think i will keep it to read many times in the future.
For me, this book started out a little slow and dry at first. But if you feel the same way, stick with it! It definitely gets better. I'm glad I gave it a chance. Turned out to be a very good read.