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Readalongs > March by Geraldine Brooks

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message 1: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
We will be discussing March by Geraldine Brooks during our July 19, 2018 recording.


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 52 comments Mod
: > )


Now. Where did I put my book?


message 3: by Barb (new)

Barb (beebeereads) | 24 comments Oh I read that in 2009 according to my LT list. (I didn't join GR until later). It's not on my Kindle so I'll have to re-read from the library. I think about the plot often and would be happy to re-visit it for at least a skim read. I have loved some of her other books and more are on my TBR. I'll look forward to the discussion. Thanks.


message 4: by Karen (new)

Karen | 19 comments I read this in 2009 gave it 5 stars!


message 5: by Gayle (new)

Gayle (gpenrod) | 1 comments I am putting this on my calendar - "March" is one of my all time favorites!


message 6: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 19 comments I have added it to my July reads. I love other of her books and have owned this one for awhile. Good to have a push to read it.


message 7: by Colleen (new)

Colleen (colleen_m_o_83) | 38 comments First, I'll say that I'm glad I read this. It was hard for me to get into at first, but I hit a stride somewhere after the first 50 pages that continued through most of the first half. I probably do not read much war fiction, so I really was blown away by the prose centered on descriptions of the war, with respect to the makeshift hospitals, both in the Clement mansion and then the one in D.C., and also with respect to the feeling of chaos, like when the plantation March teaches ex-slaves at is left to the mercy of the Confederates.

I found Mr. March very interesting and mostly unlikable, to be honest, but also I could sympathize with him for having been through the war and having seen the abuse of slaves and ex-slaves up close. I could understand his survivors' guilt, but I also think I judged him a bit for it at the end. I thought Brooks drew out a complex character very well.

Glad to have read along!


message 8: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 19 comments This was a first time read for me. I have read others by Brooks, always found them enjoyable and informative, and this was no exception. I did skim some of the more brutal portrayals of war and slavery. Brooks made an imaginary character very real and true to what I remember of Little Woman (I did not reread it last month) and the little I know about Mr. Alcott.

I heard Brooks speak at a book festival and she is a wonderful speaker: amusing and interesting. Seek her out. She evidently chose this topic while 'dragged' to innumerable Civil War battlefields by her husband, Tony Horwitz.


message 9: by Linda (new)

Linda | 52 comments Mod
My first time with March, but not my first time with Geraldine Brooks. I've really, really liked everything of hers that I have read.

I loved the way Brooks mingled to familiar events from Little Women with new aspects about Mr. March.
The concept of a vegetarian in the mid 18th century struck me as a little odd, but I actually have no idea when that became a "thing".

I did have concern when Marmee found out about the relationship with "the other woman." Of course, I'm looking at this through 21st century eyes when we don't necessarily come to our marriages with a blank past.

I felt Brooks brought the 18th century language to life.

Loved the afterward.


message 10: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for being a part of the March discussion. Chris and I spent the day in Concord, MA on Monday. SOOO much Little Women / Louisa May Alcott inspiration. We were happy to see that they had copies of March in the Orchard House gift shop. We are meeting later this week to record our discussion of the March readalong. We will incorporate your comments/thoughts along with ours.
Happy reading!


message 11: by Chris (new)

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 332 comments Mod
Colleen wrote: "First, I'll say that I'm glad I read this. It was hard for me to get into at first, but I hit a stride somewhere after the first 50 pages that continued through most of the first half. I probably d..."

I felt conflicted about Mr. March, too. I'd get so annoyed at him for his actions but agreed with him in principle. He just always seemed to go about implementing things in the wrong way. A guy with great ideas but ZERO leadership ability.

The end of the audio version I listened to said Brooks got much of her hospital scene inspiration from Louisa's Hospital Sketches. Makes me want to read it.


message 12: by Chris (new)

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 332 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "My first time with March, but not my first time with Geraldine Brooks. I've really, really liked everything of hers that I have read.

I loved the way Brooks mingled to..."


Proponents of a vegetarian diet go way back in time. It had an explosion of popularity in the 19th century. Unless I lived on a farm, I imagine I'd have been a staunch vegetarian in the pre-refrigeration days!


message 13: by Chris (new)

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 332 comments Mod
Sandy wrote: "This was a first time read for me. I have read others by Brooks, always found them enjoyable and informative, and this was no exception. I did skim some of the more brutal portrayals of war and sla..."

I love that that's how she got into the topic of the Civil War! I think its pretty amazing that she, being originally from Australia, wrote such an amazing novel about this time period of American history. Great that you got to hear her speak.


message 14: by Chris (new)

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 332 comments Mod
Karen wrote: "I read this in 2009 gave it 5 stars!"

I'm glad I'm not giving star ratings this year (or trying not to, anyway) as I have no idea what I'd give this one.


message 15: by Julie (last edited Jul 18, 2018 04:34PM) (new)

Julie (jchant) | 1 comments I first tried to listen to March shortly after it came out, but couldn't get past that opening war scene. This time, I decided to read rather than listen, and found the book well-written and engrossing. I didn't always like Mr. March, but there were definitely points in the plot where I did like him, especially his efforts to teach the slaves and former slaves.

My favorite aspect of the book was how Brooks fleshed out the character of Marmee. She is so much more interesting here than she is in Little Women!


message 16: by Gail (new)

Gail | 19 comments I have no idea what Susan Sarandon (I mean Marmee) was thinking when she married Mr. March!


message 17: by Kate (new)

Kate | 13 comments I am finished, but have not listened to Chris and Emily's discussion. I read this 10 years ago for a book group discussion and remembered liking it a lot. This time around, I gave it 2 stars and let fly in my review what I really thought. Mr. March seemed dense and self-centered. He thought he was THE person to comfort the troops at the front, but unfortunately, he was not always the kind of preacher the troops needed. The novel was very graphic with regard to the battles, injuries, smells etc. I understood why he was vegetarian, bordering on Vegan, but again, he took everything to the extreme (not using wool or manure) in the name of piety. Looked at a as a companion to Little Women, it is interesting how Geraldine Brooks wrote the story, with his background included. It shows how passionate he was, which helped make him very sensitive to the horrors of the war. It also explained why he and how he wanted all the slaves to be freed. Yet, for someone who had traveled and worked, he remained naive about the realities the newly freed slaves were facing as well as the fears of the northerners for their jobs.


message 18: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
Hi readers of March!
Episode 55 went live this morning. We discuss the book along with our visit to Concord, MA which included a lot of Alcott love. The episode is quite loooooong because we had so much to share. Thought I'd let you know that the readalong discussion starts at minute 1:09:45. Did I mention that it's a loooooong episode?!
Thanks, again, for your comments!


message 19: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "I am finished, but have not listened to Chris and Emily's discussion. I read this 10 years ago for a book group discussion and remembered liking it a lot. This time around, I gave it 2 stars and le..."

Hi Kate - Thanks for your comments. So interesting how our interpretation/feelings about a book can change upon re-read. Or, sometimes, I think it just has to do with our personal growth/life experience and the way the book hits us at our particular point in time.
I didn't have a lot of love for Mr. March, but I was able to appreciate that he was trying to do what he thought was right under very challenging circumstances. Sadly, he seemed pretty ignorant about how his decisions/behaviors had an impact on those around him!
Thanks for joining in the discussion!


message 20: by Gail (new)

Gail | 19 comments I watched the American Masters documentary on LM Alcott (free with Prime). Geraldine Brooks' comments throughout are interesting and I learned that LM was an early morning runner. I love that!
Great podcast..thanks for taking us along to Concord.


message 21: by Barb (new)

Barb (beebeereads) | 24 comments I thought I would have time to re-read March, but alas, other books were calling louder! I still remember it though its been almost 9 years since I read it... so that says something. I believe what it says is that I LOVE Geraldine Brooks' writing and the research she does to create her fiction. Of the ones I have read, March is my least favorite. That is likely because I don't like Mr. March. I listened to your podcast today and feel better about him now that you two have fleshed out some of the reasons readers dislike him. I thought you both did a good job identifying some of his weaknesses as a character but also you are sympathetic to his failings. I need to be less judgmental! Thanks for the interesting discussion.


message 22: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Salmon | 14 comments I finally finished March. I had a little trouble with pushing through. Not sure if it was me or the book. I enjoyed her descriptive writing. Definitely felt the sadness and weight of the war. I wasn’t in a space where I wanted to read a book of this mood. As others said I didn’t care for Mr March. Seems caught between giving and being selfish. Glad i read it but glad to be done. Onto something lighter.


message 23: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
Barb wrote: "I thought I would have time to re-read March, but alas, other books were calling louder! I still remember it though its been almost 9 years since I read it... so that says something. I believe what..."

Well, Barb, Chris and I went kayaking the other day and weeks after reading March we still felt the need to talk about our disdain for Mr. March/Alcott. So, alas, perhaps we are judgmental as well! Although, I think our judgement, in this case, is warranted.


message 24: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
Alicia wrote: "I finally finished March. I had a little trouble with pushing through. Not sure if it was me or the book. I enjoyed her descriptive writing. Definitely felt the sadness and weight of the war. I was..."

Alicia - I've learned that WHEN I read a book is so important to my overall enjoyment of it. March was a tricky summertime read for me as I'm usually looking for something lighter during the warm months. That being said, I think this would have been a slog for me regardless of time/place/weather. It was tough because I found Mr. March so intolerable at times!


message 25: by Emily (new)

Emily | 284 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "I watched the American Masters documentary on LM Alcott (free with Prime). Geraldine Brooks' comments throughout are interesting and I learned that LM was an early morning runner. I love that!
Grea..."


Gail - Thanks for letting us know about this documentary. I will definitely check it out. One of my favorite outcomes of our Summer of Little Women has been learning more about Alcott and her writing life. Our trip to Orchard House was so enlightening.


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