"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.
This is a wonderful read. I always wonder where authors get their inspiration, and Ms. Brooks explains who she based her interpretation of Mr. March in the acknowledgements at the back of the book. It's almost as if I picked up Little Women, then picked up March, and had a seamless experience of the family. Not to be missed!
Couldn't get into it. Tried, and made it halfway through. The idea was good...what happened to the father of the 'Little Women' while they're story was being told? But I felt that there wasn't enough dialogue between the characters, so it was like reading a report, and not a story.
Fantastic! The novel takes the character of the absent father in Little Women and creates a terrific, grown-up companion to it. The character of Mr. March is not only based upon the Little Women novel, but also upon real-life details of Louisa May Alcott's father, Bronson Alcott, an interesting, if minor, historical figure. This version includes discussion questions at the end which makes it a great choice for book clubs.
This book is the story of Little Women from Mr. March's point of view. It was a good read but seemed to lack "intregrity". I was disapointed in one or two threads of the story. Overall, it is a good read but not worth a credit. I recommend you get it at the library.
Another great historical novel by Brooks. A "Year of Wonders" is one of my all time favorite books and "March" was just was well written and enthralling. I loved the way it is tied into "Little Women", I plan to reread that soon just for the fun of it!
Having grown up on Little Women, I really really wanted to love this book, but the politics were way more than the story. I re-read the Little Women to see if it fit with what my impression was versus what the author came up with. I'm undecided, but it certainly took away from the story. Paintin Mr. March as a very real, very human character was hard to swallow, you kept wanting him to be more. Mrs. March was a much more beliveable character. At any rate, I read the book but probably wouldn't read it again. Not sure I'd recommend for a lover of the Little Women series.
The story of what happened to Mr. March (the father in Little Women) when he was away at the war - Civil War that is. Horrifying in some ways, enlightening, and gave a new dimension to that character and to the character of Marmee from LW. I liked this book and I have just started another one by the same author, that is very good so far. I think this author shows a lot of promise, and I will continue to follow her work.
Reading anything by Geraldine Brooks is pure pleasure. March, her take on Louisa May Alcott's March sisters' father is brilliant. Although I normally do not read Civil War novels, I found this one particularly interesting as Brooks weaves accurate historical information into the tale of Mr. March's life away from his family. The book draws you in as you feel the pain, guilt, and finally peace of a man whose heartfelt beliefs are truly tested.
A great and wonderful portrayal being a member of the Union army in the Civil War. Little Women offered a nice backdrop, but definitely was not overbearing in the story. Brooks did a wonderful job of helping the reader experience the turmoil of war and what it's like to return to "regular life."
Excellent! Absorbing love story and fills in many information gaps about Civil War conditions among the non-military. Tells it like it is about heroism, race relations of the time and well researched. Would have been more interesting in depth if I'd read Little Women though, but you don't have to, to get plenty out of it.
This book is based on the characters from Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women". The story revolves around Mr. March and his actions during the Civil War. I thought it was a very thought provoking book.
I would also have found it helpful to first read the Afterword and Conversation with the Author at the back of the book. It explains in more detail how the author came up with her interpretation of the novel.
This was an incredible story and such an engaging read. The story really paints a picture of the Civil War era. Many of the relational/cultural struggles from this period seem to have a current resonance. I grew up reading and enjoying Little Women. March takes that story to a whole new dimension.
This is an interesting book - I didn't like the key character because I thought he seemed thin, inconsistent, and unreliable. Felt that the author should have developed the character better. It was hard for me to identify with him. Guess, I was disappointed because I really enjoyed Year of Wonders. However, the best part of the book was the last three chapters. The women are strong and consistent. I loved March's wife, Marmee, and his Negro woman friend. Both are strong characters who love Mr. March.
My book club selected this book, and I started to read it. However, I love love love Little Women and decided that I did not want the somber reality of March to cloud my thoughts about Little Women. Very serious and somber. Perhaps realistic but too much so for me.
The story was a good Civil War Story about an abolishionist chaplain in the Civil War.
The writing was good.
For me it was a terrible dissapointment because this Mr March was not who I imagened raised Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy. And the characterization of Marmee was significantly flawed too.
Once I just read it not as an extention of the Little Women characters it was good. But as long as I though it as the parents of them it was frustrating and felt very inaccurate.
The afterword explained that the author based it on Louisa May Alcott's father . . . since she based the Little Women characters on herself and her sisters. He was an abolitionist, vegitarian and friends with the famous people mentioned in the book. But he was not a chaplain nor did he go off to war.
So its worth reading if you don't connect it to the original book.
I always enjoy historical fiction, esp. in the Civil War era. I particulary enjoyed that this story pulled from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Mr. March goes to war and Brooks pulls on his experiences and life changing events. Well worth reading if you like this genre.
Destined to be a classic, set during the American Civil War, Mr. March, father of Beth, Jo, Amy and Meg leaves his Concord home in search of justice. Chaplain to the Northern army, Mr. March, aged 39, travels with the Union troops as a spirtual guide. What happens when his own morality is tested, and the truth of his experiences with women and the war cause him to question his own beliefs. Beautifully written, the images of the war-ravaged South, the Northern carpet-bagger Mr. Canning, slave owner Clement, the struggle of the emancipated blacks and the barbarity of slavery will haunt you. A marvelously written book with moving three-dimensional characters and tremendous dialogue. Cameo appearances by Emerson and Thoreau. Pulitzer Prize winner. This one stays on my shelf.
A well-written account that fleshes out--and humanizes--Mr. March and gives an interesting angle and insight into the Civil War years. A good read for lovers of Little Women and American history who don't happen to be Civil War buffs.
Such an excellent book. It really does take Alcott's book to a deeper (and not always enjoyable level). At the end of the novel, I still wasn't sure whether I liked Mr. March or not. What he through is hard to read, and his character isn't always likable. I found myself frustrated watching how by protecting his family from the horror of war he becomes increasingly detached from them. Alcott's book exists independently of the girls' father, and really this book, in turn, exists independently of the girls. For those who know and love "Little Women" this will be a difficult book, because it does strip away the March girls' perfect view of their father. It instead offers a gritty and challenging look at the bitterness of race and class divisions that consumed the Civil War, and the impact of such a reality on a man searching to define his own convictions.
An interesting idea of what Mr. March might have been experiencing during the Civil War. Should also read Little Women and American Brutus and maybe some other Civil War novels to get a really good picture of the times.
A beautifully written book, but some passages are tough to get through as it realistically portrays the horrors of war as seen through the eyes of the partriarch of Little Women's March family. Chaplain March is a dreamer who nearly loses everything in search of serving a higher purpose. Those of us who grew up loving Little Women will not recognize the marriage (or miscommunication and sometimes the lies told to hold it together) of Chaplain and Mrs. March. I would recommend this as a selection for a book club as there is much in it worthy of group discussion. Geralding Brooks does an outstanding job in her research for this book and it shows in her details. However, it lacks the warmth and charm of Alcott's novel.
This was not my favorite Brooks novel. However, this is due to subject matter rather than any fault in the writing or plot. I did love how, halfway through the book, the point of view changes. It was great to finally get the wife's point of view after so much of her husband's.
I grabbed this book simply because it was on the half-off Goodwill shelf and 'Year Of Wonders' has always been one of my favorites. It wasn't even until I got it home that I read what it was actually about. A Maguire-ian re-telling of Little Women through Mr. March's eyes? Sounded amazing.
And a lot of it was. But some parts dragged on and failed to keep my attention. It took me nearly a month to finish this short novel, which is unheard of. The latter half was much more enchanting than the first, however. It steadily picked up it's pace from there, right up until the end which actually left me wanting more.
How Mr. March reconciles his Civil War experiences with his innocent family is meant to be left up to imagination, but a part of me really wants to be told that tale.
This book was fantastic. Geraldine Brooks is pre-eminent in fictionalizing history. As a follow-up to Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women", March tells the story of the absent father. Mr. March has gone off to join the Union Army in the Civil War. Far from the happy story of "Little Women", this book tells a more gritty story of what happened in the south during the War. It was fascinating and went so quickly, I am ready for another of Geraldine Brooks' stories. I highly recommend this book.
Hard to classify this book. HF? classic? 2006 Pulitzer prize winner? adult version of another character from a children's book? All of the above?
This is the story of the father from Little Women who goes to aide the Union effort by serving as a chaplain in the Civil War. We see snippets of his letters home to his wife and four girls which are taken from Little Women and, just as in Little Women, there is a letter 2/3's of the way through the book that he has been injured and Marmee goes to nurse him to health. The father character in this book was based on the author's extensive research into Louisa May Alcott's father just as Little Women is based on Alcott and her three sisters.
The father character is a transcendentalist who is friends with Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is also an ardent abolitionist. His beliefs and values are challenged with what he sees during the war and in the south and he is transformed as a man who must come to grips with the horrors of war when he returns to his wife and daughters. He also realizes there is evil and racism on both sides of the war effort - racism among the northern Union army as well as good among many in the South. This book exposes the moral complexities on many sides while telling the story of the Civil War, slavery, and the abolition movement but also telling the story of a marriage and a family.
I had to read this book for summer reading in high school and I still remember it. March tells the story of the Father from Little Women. Brooks does a fantastic job of showing the devastating effects of the Civil War and the emotional tears it had on the individuals and their families. There are a few moments where the images are disturbing, but one of Brooks strength is the mental picture she creates and it is very touching and moving, especially in the scenes where Mrs. March visits her husband in DC. I am not a fan of Civil War novels, but this one is incredibly moving and I guarantee you won't see history the same way again (or Little Women). Also you do not have to have read Little Women to follow this novel.
This is a brilliantly crafted novel. At the end it has an interview with the author and she talks about how she based the character on Louise May Alcott's father and used some of his actual correspondence in the novel! The character she created is absolutely lovable..he's an amazing man with idealism and a strong commitment to his values and morals. The insight the author offers on the thoughts and feelings of abolitionists, slaves & the men & women fighting during the Civil War is phenomenal. I really enjoyed this novel!
The story of a man who leaves his family to aid the Union cause during the Civil War. His experience utterly changes his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. The character of the absent father Mr March is from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. A novel of historical fiction.
I enjoyed this historical fiction set in the early 19th century and in the early years of the U.S. Civil War. I liked reading about the Underground Railroad, John Brown, and the transcendentalist movement (Thoreau, Emerson). I think it helps to have read Little Women first so March's descriptions of his wife and daughters become more familiar.
the author has created a story about Mr.March, the father in Little Women. she used many resources to create this wonderful yet brutal story. set during the Civil War,March joins the army from Concord as an older man and a preacher. he finds himself in one difficult situation after the other. this book is not for the queasy as it descibes the brutality done to the slaves. the story is told thru letters home to Marmee and fist person narrative that goes back and forth in the times of his life. another good one by this author.
Once I got past the brutal war scenes at the beginning, this book was very interesting. I enjoyed the background on the March family and the story of how they came to be at the beginning of Little Women. I learned a lot about John Brown. And I especially liked the Marmee-perspective.
A revisioning of the Little Women saga, the author fills in the blanks in Mr. March's life, bringing a cardboard character from Alcott's book into full relief. In the tradition of Wide Sargasso Sea, another literary spinoff.
After Geraldine Brooks' first novel (Year of Wonders) I was so eager to read this book. When I hated it almost from the first page, I kept reading, just because I was sure it would be wonderful if I just stuck with it. I was wrong. This was simply a dull and depressing book.
I picked up this book after reading (and loving) other books by Geraldine Brooks (e.g., People of the Book, Year of Wonders, Caleb's Crossing). I had not read Little Women, but we recently traveled to Civil War country, and I found the book revealing and enlightening about the cultural paradoxes and conflicts that faced Americans at that time and place in history. And now, watching the Masterpiece version of Little Women, I can appreciate the nuances of how Brooks reflected Louisa May Alcott's writing style as well as how the two stories blend together.