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March Paperback – Jan 31 2006

2.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Jan. 31 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143036661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143036661
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimed Year of Wonders, imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. An idealistic Concord cleric, March becomes a Union chaplain and later finds himself assigned to be a teacher on a cotton plantation that employs freed slaves, or "contraband." His narrative begins with cheerful letters home, but March gradually reveals to the reader what he does not to his family: the cruelty and racism of Northern and Southern soldiers, the violence and suffering he is powerless to prevent and his reunion with Grace, a beautiful, educated slave whom he met years earlier as a Connecticut peddler to the plantations. In between, we learn of March's earlier life: his whirlwind courtship of quick-tempered Marmee, his friendship with Emerson and Thoreau and the surprising cause of his family's genteel poverty. When a Confederate attack on the contraband farm lands March in a Washington hospital, sick with fever and guilt, the first-person narrative switches to Marmee, who describes a different version of the years past and an agonized reaction to the truth she uncovers about her husband's life. Brooks, who based the character of March on Alcott's transcendentalist father, Bronson, relies heavily on primary sources for both the Concord and wartime scenes; her characters speak with a convincing 19th-century formality, yet the narrative is always accessible. Through the shattered dreamer March, the passion and rage of Marmee and a host of achingly human minor characters, Brooks's affecting, beautifully written novel drives home the intimate horrors and ironies of the Civil War and the difficulty of living honestly with the knowledge of human suffering.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-In Brooks's well-researched interpretation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Mr. March also remains a shadowy figure for the girls who wait patiently for his letters. They keep a stiff upper lip, answering his stiff, evasive, flowery letters with cheering accounts of the plays they perform and the charity they provide, hiding their own civilian privations. Readers, however, are treated to the real March, based loosely upon the character of Alcott's own father. March is a clergyman influenced by Thoreau, Emerson, and especially John Brown (to whom he loses a fortune). His high-minded ideals are continually thwarted not only by the culture of the times, but by his own ineptitude as well. A staunch abolitionist, he is amazingly naive about human nature. He joins the Union army and soon becomes attached to a hospital unit. His radical politics are an embarrassment to the less ideological men, and he is appalled by their lack of abolitionist sentiments and their cruelty. When it appears that he has committed a sexual indiscretion with a nurse, a former slave and an old acquaintance, March is sent to a plantation where the recently freed slaves earn wages but continue to experience cruelty and indignities. Here his faith in himself and in his religious and political convictions are tested. Sick and discouraged, he returns to his little women, who have grown strong in his absence. March, on the other hand, has experienced the horrors of war, serious illness, guilt, regret, and utter disillusionment.-Jackie Gropman, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 1 2005
Format: Hardcover
Geraldine Brooks is a good writer but I did not enjoy this book. I have loved the book "Little Women" all my life and in fact enjoy everything written by Louisa May Alcott. I have read "Little Women" more times than I can say and also the other books detailing the lives of the same characters. Brooks' portrayal of Mr. March and Mrs. March bears no resemblance to the people that Louisa May Alcott wrote about. Her characters were extremely fine, cultured people and their poverty did not dim their faith in God or change how they lived. They were the sort of people who genuinely cared for others and never took advantage of anyone. Brooks' characters were petty and selfish.
If you truly love the March family, you cannot enjoy this portrayal of those characters. I was disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
March is a whining, self-pitying and irritating character who I repeatedly felt a strong urge to slap. Marmee is a one-dimensional, proto-feminist character who is very obviously cut from 21st century fabric and pasted awkwardly into a 19th century story. The plot is forced and full of unrealistic coincidences. As another reviewer aptly mentioned, the Marchs are petty and self-absorbed. The writing drags along painfully. How did it win the Pulitzer, of all prizes? This is one of the only times I have ever been really dissatisfied by Pultizer prize winner.
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By A Customer on March 14 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book was assigned by my book club. I had had zero interest in "Little Women" from which it is derived, had not read it, and worried that my interest in war was less than I needed to get through the read. Still, it was my first month at the book club and I really wanted to have read the book.
I found an audio clip of it on the Internet. It was a selection describing a battleground including the drowning of a soldier in such morbid and drawn out details that it put me off completely.
Two weeks past. I forced myself to buy the book. Two days later, I opened it and began to read. Half-way through the first chapter, I was almost in tears at the thought of having to read any more of it. And there were nearly 300 pages!

Second chapter: miracle of miracle, a flashback to earlier times, and much more interesting. Now there was humanity attached to the descriptions and I pushed on.
I finished 250 pages that night. Not that it was so captivating but because I wanted to get it done. Now with just 30 pages to go I can say this:
The language is definitely "period" and laborious. There are a few times when it is anachronistic like when Marmee refers to her potential future husband in terms of finding a suitable "partner" a term that has only recently become popular.
As for the gratuitous depictions of the first chapter, they were few and less horrific as the book progressed. I have to wonder why the author chose to open her book with passages that so deter the reader as to have them put the book down alltogether out of disguss as I nearly did. Shock and Awe?
This is not a book I would have read were it not required reading. I did not find it particularly well written. There are no "literary" passages that I want to remember or read again.
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Format: Paperback
I tried to read this book, but struggled to get into it. About three chapters in, I gave up.
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