Customer Reviews for

March

Average Rating 4
( 129 )
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5 Star

(48)

4 Star

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(17)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

What Ever Happened with Mr. March, Father and Husband of the Little Women?

I loved reading this book, the key word here being "reading". It has been a long time since I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading, per se. I approached March with some trepidation, having previously read Geraldine Brooks' book, People of the Book, which I bou...
I loved reading this book, the key word here being "reading". It has been a long time since I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading, per se. I approached March with some trepidation, having previously read Geraldine Brooks' book, People of the Book, which I bought in hard cover, thus spending a chunk of change on it, and in the end was somewhat disappointed. March does not disappoint. It is the story of what happened to the father in Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women. To enjoy this book, you don't need to have read Little Women, however, I've heard it said that in March, one can find echoes of Little Women. It is written in language, styled from its day, early 1860's, and at times it reads as poetry. The book is about the father's experiences in his position as a Chaplain in the Union army, positioned below the Mason-Dixon line. It moves between New England, where the family lives, and the places of war. There is no lack of demonstrating the savagery of war and the savagery of Slavery and racism. War is neither idealized, nor demonized in the book.

The author uses two techniques that I love to find in fiction. The first is mixing in real historical characters among her fictional ones (reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime and The Book of Daniel) so you feel you are getting to personally know them, in this case... Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are neighbors of the March family. You get to see John Brown, the famous abolitionist who advocated insurrection as his means of ridding the country of slavery, as basically having tricked Dr. March into lending him a huge sum of money and consequently losing it all, which proved to be the financial downfall of March and his family. It is a very interesting interplay of fact and fiction. The other device, that I have always loved, is the use of letter writing as a means of moving the story along ( this for me is reminiscent of one of my all time favorite novels, A Woman of Independent Means, by Elizabeth Forsyth Hailey). It is in March's letters that some of the most beautiful descriptions and eloquent use of language can be found. Here is but one example...

"There was a little barge-ferry then, that would stop on request, at a jetty on the island's northern tip. I had alighted there on a whim and walked the mile and a half to the house whistling the song of the boatman who had poled the crossing. The white dogwoods were in flower all the way up the drive, and the air seemed viscous and honey-fragrant, unlike the mud-scent of a chill May morning on Spindle Hill."

I highly recommend this book.

posted by Sherril on July 12, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Astoundingly disappointing.

When I heard about the premise of this book--a novel about the father of the March Sisters from that perennial favorite 'Little Women'--I was tremendously excited. When that novel shortly thereafter received the Pulitzer, I rushed right out to get it from the library, ...
When I heard about the premise of this book--a novel about the father of the March Sisters from that perennial favorite 'Little Women'--I was tremendously excited. When that novel shortly thereafter received the Pulitzer, I rushed right out to get it from the library, even though I thought I would probably end up buying it. I'm so glad I didn't. I've been interested in Bronson Alcott and his community for some time, and was rabid to know how Brooks based Mr. March on him. My first problem with the book was this: in elementary school, I was a historical novel fan, and read a great many civil war books, and as I read I realized to my disappointment that there was nothing new in 'March.' I felt like I had read such similar happenings, such similar moral dilemmas before that I was left bewildered. My second problem was this: Brooks, apparently unable to write the character of Marmee as Louisa May Alcott created her, chose instead to make her into a completely different person, and one who I strongly disliked. I was left feeling like Brooks hadn't taken 'Little Women' itself very seriously, but had rather used it as a gimmick. All in all, I think there are many better books available, and urge you to read those.

posted by Anonymous on November 5, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    I just finished this book, on a recommendation and as I am total

    I just finished this book, on a recommendation and as I am totally in my "historical fiction" phase could not wait to get it. I found it somewhat thought provoking, liking the realistic portrayal of motives of people in war time. However, my overall reaction was that it was pretentious, presumptuous, and repetitive. I was disappointed. If you are going to write a novel covering such an intense period of our history, allow it to be real, as in non-fiction, or write it as fiction altogether. Not only did throwing in names of famous authors and historical figures distract from the fictional story, but then to write it as a lean-to to Little Women, changing those characters was unnecessary. Even basing it loosely on LM Alcotts father was silly. Write it as non fiction, or create a whole new character.

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    If you're going to ride the coattails of an American Classic, show a little respect to the author's efforts.

    Although Brooks has a talent for description and tempo in general, the entire premise of this novel is, to me, arrogant.

    If you're going to write a civil war story, use your own characters. Don't knock off of beloved characters from a book designed to create hope and courage by slinging it through the gutter.

    Most of the characters I read in March were so dissimilar it made me feel ashamed that this book would ever be associated with Little Women. Pulitzer Prize or no, this author needs to grow a backbone and let a novel stand on it's own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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