Friday, January 27, 2012

March by Geraldine Brooks

March was recommended to me by my old college roommate, Ang.  Ang is someone I trust in book recommendations (though we don't always agree completely, we do enjoy letting each other know about good books we have found and think the other would like - love Good Reads for that!).
If Ang hadn't recommended I pick this one up, I may never have heard about it.  Once I did, I have to admit that I was skeptical.  March is the untold story of the absent father from Little Women, gone to war in 1861.  I'll begin by saying I don't like classics being touched.  It's the same reason I haven't read Scarlett, although Gone With the Wind is one of my all time favorites.  If a story is meant to be told, the author will tell it themselves.  However much we love these characters they are the babies of the author who kindly shares them with us.
That being said, March is the exception to the rule.
March is an amazing book and Brooks is an incredibly gifted writer.  This is not someone who just happened to enjoy Little Women and decided to write about it on a whim.  This is someone who loved Little Women and researched Alcott's life.  Most know that Alcott based the March family on her own family.  Jo representing Alcott herself.  Brooks took it upon herself to research Alcott's father, Amos Bronson Alcott.  He was a teacher and abolitionist.  The story bases itself on his life beliefs, though Brooks' character of March is his own man.
March leaves his Concord home at the beginning of the US Civil war.  He is a Chaplain for the Army with great sympathies for the slaves of the south.  
This book is very, very good - no other words for it.  It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2006.  It is a very adult story with frank depictions of war and slavery, so I would not recommend it for a child or teen reading Little Women, but as an adult, it's marvelous.
Thank you Ang, for this one! 

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