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.”