Amy's Reviews > March

March by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Feb 23, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2008-books-read, favorites, just-good-literature, pulitzer-winner
Recommended for: Lovers of Little Women

This is one of the most Pulizer-worthy novels I've read in a long while. The novel tells the previously untold story of the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. In Little Women, the reader only gets to know Peter March through his letters sent home to his family from the Civil War. Of course, in the interest of sparing his family the details of war, his letters are more cheerful than his reality. Geraldine Brooks uses the novel March to tell of Mr. March's early life as a traveling salesman, of his first kiss with someone other than his future wife, of the meeting of his wife, of his connections to Emerson and Thoreau, of his strong abolitionist sentiments, of the war that changed him both physically and mentally, and of misunderstandings and wrongs that were never made right in his life. Brooks draws heavily from the journals of Alcott's own father, Bronson Alcott, in order to flesh out the character of Mr. March. Since the "little women" in Alcott's novels were based on the members of her own family, it makes sense that Mr. March would be based on her father and that the March family would be acquainted with the same people they were. The Alcotts were, after all, contemporaries and acquaintances of many of the transcendentalist thinkers and writers of the time such as Emerson and Thoreau.

This is definitely the best prequel written by a different author that I've ever read. I remember being completely disappointed trying to read sequels or prequels by different authors for books such as Gone With the Wind . The author's journalistic background definitely helped her to give attention to the proper details needed to research such a book.

I initially did not recognize the name of the author as being the author of Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women, a book that I loved so much that I ... er ... bought it from the library pretending that I'd lost it (in the days before made any book accessible for purchase). Nine Parts of Desire is a work of non-fiction that she wrote as a journalist. So I'm thrilled to see that she has such a beautiful piece of fiction out there as well. Halfway through the book, I found myself saying to myself, "wow, this is a good book" and hoping to read something else by her soon. Years of Wonder tells the story of the bubonic plague in a small English town and People of the Book is freshly out in hardback.

Frankly, though, what I'm feeling the need to re-read immediately is Little Women. I absolutely adored that book as a child. I always saw myself as Jo because I loved to write. And I always hated that the character with my name (Amy) was such a spoiled brat.
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Quotes Amy Liked

Geraldine Brooks
“You go on. You set one foot in front of the other, and if a thin voice cries out, somewhere behind you, you pretend not to hear, and keep going.”
Geraldine Brooks, March

Reading Progress

February 23, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
March 4, 2008 – Finished Reading
March 5, 2008 – Shelved as: 2008-books-read
March 5, 2008 – Shelved as: favorites
March 5, 2008 – Shelved as: just-good-literature
March 5, 2008 – Shelved as: pulitzer-winner

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Docaay (new) - added it

Docaay I could not agree with you more on all points. I have not been as pleased for a long time with a book as I am with this. I enjoyed the link with "Little Women", one of my most cherised childhood books. Well done. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Brooks' work.

Susan Hirtz People of the Book and Years of Wonder are so much worth reading. They inspired me to look up Brooks' other work and led me to read March. She also wrote a remarkable book about early New England called Caleb's Crossing. I recommend all her books because of her strengths as a writer. It is easy to criticise, but the depth of her research and her skill at putting the pieces together of historical facts are marvels to behold.

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