Thoughts marchbygb by Geraldine Brooks, Penguin Books 2006 (orig 2004), 288 pages

Challenge: What’s in a Name Challenge, Month category wian2016
Genre: Fanfiction
Type/Source: Tradeback/Used Bookstore
 Why I read this now:  To finish up the challenge.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have been interested in this because it explores a missing element or side story to Louisa May Alcott’s classic, Little Women. This won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize. I have enjoyed two books by this author: A Year of Wonders 2001 and People of the Book 2008.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This explores what happens to the father who goes off to the Civil War leaving his wife and four daughters back home in Concord Mass. I found him to be a very interesting and sympathetic character.

When he first enlisted, March was an idealistic man. He knew, above all else, that fighting this war for the Union cause was right and just. But he had not expected he would begin a journey through hell on earth, where the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, were too often blurred.   – from the Intro

WHAT’s GOOD: I thought it felt extremely authentic and inventive. The language used, descriptions of war and the issues surrounding slavery, the morality questioned made this an excellent experience. The two part structure – first we are given Mr. March’s side of events and in the second, we find out what Mrs. March REALLY thinks and how different her views were from her husband’s impressions was fascinating and lent an interesting light to the subtle difficulties of communication between husband and wife.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I am so more motivated to reread Little Women. I would love to have face-to-face discussions  about what some have mentioned that this ‘ruins Little Women‘ or violates the saintly image of Father. I thought he came across as vibrantly human and admirable in his attempts to be true.

RATING: Five slices of pie.

“Kindly Mr. Brooke had bought me a pie, which he had kept warmed by the fire, and I ate it gratefully,…”  p.249

Coinky-dink Book Link to Big Magic: “We do not have ideas. The idea has us . . . and drives us into the arena to fight for it like gladiators, who combat whether they will or no.”

Also, having read The Good Lord Bird, I enjoyed having another literary view of John Brown, Abolitionist. Just click on the title I just mentioned to read my review of that National Book Winner.


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9 thoughts on “March

  1. Oh my, I just loved The Good Lord Bird. I listened to it twice! (Don’t think your link is active for your thoughts on that one. Or, alternatively, I need another cup of coffee.) Glad this one was such a pleasure for you too!

  2. You should absolutely reread Little Women and then report back on your thoughts rereading it. I read all the Louisa May Alcott books as a tot, outgrew them in adolescence (what a snooty kid I was), and then grew back into them in adulthood. Alcott can be surprisingly insightful!

    1. Ok! I will re/read Little Women! and perhaps I shall also re/read Jane Eyre – yes, I know that is a diff author but I tend to lump the known women-author classic books together…. Add in Wuthering Heights – the big three, or those authors? I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

  3. I don’t necessarily agree with the person who said this ruins Little Women. However, I do agree that there was something missing. I struggled with March’s adultery, still do even though I read this years ago. It is not the actions of my idea of Father March, and therein lies some of my issues with the book. While I certainly do not expect him to be saintly, and yes, this does show his human side, I would not expect him to ignore his vows like he did.

  4. litandlife

    So Geraldine Brooks had read Little Women as a young girl (after her mother put it in her hands with the admonition that no one is as saintly as Marmee!) but it was her husband’s fascination with the American Civil War that made her decide she needed to write something that focused on that.

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