Sunday, November 15, 2009


March by Geraldine Brooks

It took me a while to get into this book. About halfway through, I acquired the desire to keep going, but I can't say I was ever antsy to read it. It reads similar to a diary would. There's the start of the book, and the end of the book -- a straight line that follows chronological events. What I realized is that I don't particularly enjoy these "straight line" books. I like when the end somehow comes full circle. I like when the novel is all wrapped up and tie with a bow. I'm not asking for a bright, pink sparkly bow, necessarily. I don't really care if that bow is black and dingy. I just want a bow. Something to leave me with a feeling of completion. While this was a good book and covered a lot of interesting material, it left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied at the end.
That being said, I've talked to others who loved this book. I'm not discouraging it; just saying that it's not quite my style.


"As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history. From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's father,a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through. Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcott's optimistic children's tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism,and by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction."

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