March, A Novel
by Geraldine Brooks
Hampton, NH : Sound Library/BBC Audiobooks America, c2005
As you can tell, I have already skipped way out of order to read March. I happened to be taking a long road trip and was at the library the night before. So, I found the one book on my list that they had on CD that was also checked in at the moment.
The novel March is the story of Mr. March (his first name is never given), the father of the famous March girls of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. For those of you who grew up on Little Women like I did, you will remember that Mr. March is away at war during the book. The March family is based on Louisa May Alcott's own family, so, fittingly, March is loosely based on the real life of Louisa May Alcott's father while he was a chaplain in the Civil War.
The books presents some fascinating insights into the Civil War and how many Northerners were often just as rascist as the Southerners. Something discussed in March that I don't remember being in Little Women was the March family being part of the Underground Railroad. While that makes an interesting story line, it is an example of something that often happened in the book - it often felt like Ms. Brooks created extras storylines that seemed a little too convenient to the plot. I hope that makes sense. It just sometimes seemed that there were too many coincidences in Mr. March's life for it to be real.
It should be noted that this book is not a children's book like Little Women. It often has grisly details of war and overt sexual inuendo. Don't expect the innocence of Little Women. This book is very obviously written for an audience in 2006 who expects complete realism at the expense of romance instead of Little Women's 1868 audience who expected romance at the expense of reality. Choose for yourself which you prefer.