Glorialaihuang's Reviews > The March

The March by E.L. Doctorow
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Apr 17, 2011

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The March is another historical fiction (I don't know why I keep accidentally reading historical fictions). This one takes place during the Civil War. A bit of background - when I was, like, 7, I discovered Gone With The Wind, which I proceeded to read 50 billion times over the next decade or two. (In my defense, when I started reading it, I had no idea what was going on in it, race relations-wise, and it was years later that I realized that the supposedly-innocent organization mentioned in the book was the Ku Klux Klan. But I digress.) Needless to say, my fascination with the antebellum South carried me a good ways through the book, but overall, I was not a raving fan. I know it's won tons of accolades, and the language is clearly elegantly sparing (not a single word is wasted), but it didn't leave the kind of lasting impression that makes me love a book. Doctorow tells the story of the Civil War through the eyes of an ensemble cast of characters, and he definitely captures the varied points of view surrounding the Civil War. The overall effect is tightly-woven, but just not as moving as I was expecting. I think the constant shifts in POV, though necessary for the fabric of his story, allow some of the emotion to leach away.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Vivian (new)

Vivian I'm impressed you read "Gone with the Wind" as a child. I saw the movie when I was a child and I had no clue what was going on. I knew it was a famous movie. I loved the fact that the lead actress shared my "name" and she was beautiful. But, honestly, I thought the movie didn't "finish" because all she says is that she'll be back again and the movie ends! What's up with that? So, I never tried reading the novel, but maybe I should give it a go. I think I should watch the movie again as an adult too. I'm sure I missed a lot the first time around. Thanks for your book reviews. It's teaching me how to write a book review. lol.

Glorialaihuang Aww, thanks Viv! I must admit, despite it clearly being a Southern sympathizer and the fact that it sometimes devolves into straight-up racism, GWTW still holds a special place in my heart, probably due to childhood nostalgia. I do recommend it - it's actually a really smooth read, although clocking in at over 1000 pages, I would never call it elegantly sparing (or anything sparing!). As a side note, my father always wanted me to look up to Scarlett O'Hara as a role model, because she was so determined and brave and strong, things you want for a daughter. However, when I got older and reread the book, I realized she was also monstrously selfish.

Also, for most of my childhood, I thought "Vivian Leigh" was the most beautiful name I had ever heard - I was heartbroken when I found out "Leigh" was a stage name! Vivian's still beautiful though. :)

message 3: by Vivian (new)

Vivian For some reason, I think her first name "Vivien" might have been a stage name too and I was heartbroken when I learned that her name wasn't her real name! I thought it was a beautiful name and she was breath-takingly beautiful --not the typical blonde bombshell beautiful and I admired her for being un-stereotypical yet still beautiful. I think everyone in Hong Kong in the 1960s watched GWTW and so a lot of girls my age from Hong Kong were named "Vivien" or "Vivian" because their mothers watched the movie. I was born and raised in Canada so I didn't suffer having a million classmates that shared my name. My name was always rather unique and I was always proud of that fact. I only discovered a deluge of "Vivians" when I moved to HK for a few years. I was rather insulted to discover that in Australia, "Vivian" is also a boy's name and I didn't like the fact that both Australia and Britain seem to prefer the spelling "Vivienne"!

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