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Review: March, Geraldine Brooks

I really enjoyed Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, so I was looking forward to this.  I probably shouldn’t have been quite so excited, though.  Little Women was my first “adult book” in elementary school and I have a lot of sentimental attachment to it.  Besides that, I don’t normally like Civil War fiction but with the great exception of Sweetsmoke earlier this year I felt I should give it a try.  And it was from the library, so giving it a try didn’t put me out any money or space on my shelves.

This book covers both the idealistic young adulthood of Mr. March and his current missionary duty in the south at a plantation where he teaches the former slaves.  We’re used to the loving image put forth by Marmee and the girls in Little Women, but here we get the brutal reality of war as it affects the man himself and watch as his ideologies are eroded in the face of the struggle.

Honestly, I didn’t really like it.  Like I said, this might just be me not liking Civil War books and nothing to do with the book itself.  Mr. March irritated me with his high and mighty ideas.  Worse, the way he treated Marmee after they married was intolerable and I think shameful, just because she didn’t conform to his ideas about how women should be.  Gah.  Maybe that’s period appropriate but it bugged me.

I did like how he had to adjust to the war and the hardships he went through, so maybe it was just all too harsh for me, raining too much on my Little Women parade.  I thought the book did a great job exploring the issues of how the war could affect him and the problems of being so far from his family for so long.  I liked the depiction of the March’s mind afterwards and the impact it made on his psyche.

I just didn’t like most of it.  Unfortunate but true. I think if you like Civil war stories and aren’t attached to Little Women, you may like this one – it did win the Pulitzer, after all. It just wasn’t for me.  Regardless, I am still planning on reading People of the Book, because at least I don’t have any expectations and nostalgic love wrapped up there.

Find this book on Amazon.

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7 comments to Review: March, Geraldine Brooks

  • Meghan, I haven’t read this one, but plan to. People of the Book is excellent. I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

  • 3m

    I felt much the same. It ruined my image of Mr. March. I’ve read Year of Wonders and enjoyed it a bit more, and I also plan on reading People of the Book.

  • I loved this! (Read it before I blogged, so no review.)I like the Civil War period and the transcendentalist, so the book was made for me. The descriptions of the hospitals, medical conditions, slaves, and slavery were interesting. I liked the filling out of the character of Marmie. BTW: I wanted to be Jo at one time in my childhood and I’ve even visited LMA’s house! Good thing there are plenty of books for us all.

  • I didn’t like this one at all, either. I wanted to. I really, really did.

  • You’re not the only one. I didn’t care for this book at all, despite my complete love of Little Women. I think it’s the reason that I haven’t yet read People of the Book. Which is a shame because I have heard nothing but good things there.

  • It didn’t do much for me either, but I may just be off Civil War books for good. My review on Rose City Reader is here.

    I will add a link to your review on mine.

    Rose City Reader’s last blog post..Review of the Day: March

  • I didn’t like this one either…Mr.March’s character was not very likable, and the whole book was about him anyway, and so consequently didn’t like the book either