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( Read Kindle ) ç March õ Winner Of The Pulitzer Prize For Fiction From The Author Of The Acclaimed YEAR OF WONDERS, An Historical Novel And Love Story Set During A Time Of Catastrophe, On The Front Lines Of The American Civil War Acclaimed Author Geraldine Brooks Gives Us The Story Of The Absent Father From Louisa May Alcott S Little Women And Conjures A World Of Brutality, Stubborn Courage And Transcendent Love An Idealistic Abolitionist, March Has Gone As Chaplain To Serve The Union Cause But The War Tests His Faith Not Only In The Union Which Is Also Capable Of Barbarism And Racism But In Himself As He Recovers From A Near Fatal Illness, March Must Reassemble And Reconnect With His Family, Who Have No Idea Of What He Has Endured A Love Story Set In A Time Of Catastrophe, March Explores The Passions Between A Man And A Woman, The Tenderness Of Parent And Child, And The Life Changing Power Of An Ardently Held Belief I was all ready to give March by Geraldine Brooks three stars until I got to this passage I am not alone in this I only let him do to me what men have ever done to women march off to empty glory and hollow acclaim and leave us behind to pick up the pieces The broken cities, the burned barns, the innocent injured beasts, the ruined bodies of the boys we bore and the men we lay with.The waste of it I sit here, and I look at him, and it is as if a hundred women sit beside me the revolutionary farm wife, the English peasant woman, the Spartan mother Come back with your shield or on it, she cried, because that was what she was expected to cry And then she leaned across the broken body of her son and the words turned to dust in her throat If you were ever a little girl in America, chances are you have read Louisa May Alcott s Little Women You probably grew up with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy You experienced their life living with their mother while their father was off serving the Union Army in the Civil War You felt their excitement whenever Marmee would read them a letter from him You know how Marmee was called away to help her beloved husband recover from some unnamed illness in an army hospital What you never got was a real glimpse of the adult lives that circled around the March girls In fact, you never even learn their parents first names Geraldine Brooks must have had the same fascination with Little Women that so many of us former little girls did She takes that fascination and fleshes out the story of Mr and Mrs March The story opens with March never a first name writing a letter home to Marmee We find that Marmee is was everyone called her, not just the girls As he finishes his writing, the story takes us to the uncensored version of his past and what is happening to him at the moment It s not all as he portrays in his letters He s kind of interesting at first, but he gets kind of dull pretty quickly The guy is just too emotional and flowery What is interesting is his recollections of Marmee She is by far a much interesting character and the story definitely takes off once she takes over the narration in the second part of the book, when she comes to the hospital to nurse her husband back to health Up until that point, I was thinking that this book was definitely a 3 I was kind of wondering what the competition was for the Pulitzer that year I do have to give Brooks credit for trying to add a new, adult dimension to a nationally loved work of children s literature I think she did a good job of creating something fresh while honoring the classic. March took me by my idealistic hands and thrust me completely into the Civil War where I experienced it in ways I had not before It was easy for me to become invested in this story because it is based on the mysterious Mr March from Little Women the husband of Marmee, and the father of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.With this book Geraldine Brooks wrote an important story In her Afterword, she describes how the characters in Little Women were based on Louisa May Alcott s own family In her initial research, Ms Brooks discovered that the absent Mr March could very likely have been modelled after Louisa May Alcott s own father, Bronson Alcott Like Mr March in this novel, Mr Alcott also counted Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau among his closest personal friends Mr Alcott kept journals throughout his life an astonishing 61 journals and his letters can be found in 37 volumes in the Harvard College Library.There are many other parallels and paths of divergence between the fictional Mr March and the real life Mr Alcott To be fair, I will leave the balance of these for readers to discover for themselves when they read Ms Brooks Afterword Suffice it to say that there are many similarities in ideals, values, and character, and there are also some parallels between their lives and occupations.This novel is written in the first person, as recorded by Mr March Late in the novel, it switches the first person narrative to Marmee a bonus for this reader and a wise choice due to the time it covered We have an open door to Marmee s heart and her own perceptions of the reality they find themselves living When the story switches back to Mr March, he is hesitantly facing his homeward journey home to Concord, to Marmee, and to his little women.This account of the battles and gruesome circumstances Mr March becomes part of is offset by recollections from his early life, with one incident in particular a life changing experience in many ways This is when, as an 18 year old trying to make a living down South as a peddler, he comes across a family and a place that becomes his ideal and one he wishes to emulate himself He also meets Grace, a young black woman who cares for the ill mistress of the family, and whose intelligence and wisdom are already in full nascent growth as rapid as nature herself grows produce in that climate With that meeting, young Mr March s idealism and moral standards take root.It is also those qualities within Mr March that cause him and his family much hardship later on It is also those qualities that ensure the events Mr March encounters in the war, including a chance return to the now devastated plantation he had visited than twenty years before, find him a prime candidate for what we now know of as post traumatic stress disorder.Far than a continuation of a lovely novel for girls and young women, March is an in depth study of war, of peaceful times, of the intellect versus the heart, of idealism versus pragmatism, of actions and their consequences, and of communication and communion between people, especially perhaps husbands and wives Beautifully written, with a pace that is perfect, I am so glad that I finally had the chance to read this book and I can t help but recommend it to everyone who wishes to see deeper into the human heart within the framework of characters we already know and love. It s not that I don t like any historical fiction, I just think that it s a really hard thing to do right, without simplifying everything Nah, I really just hate historical fiction And I think that March is a perfect example of historical fiction gone wrong 1 I hate it in historical fiction when the author seems to cling to one or two details in history and repeat them over and over again In this book, the author seems intent on measuring everything in rods, no matter how short or long the distance, no matter how unimportant it is to the rest of the story the field was six rods away, he was one rod tall, I love rods She does the same thing with the word score three score, four score, five score there are never ten or fifty or ninety of anything Perhaps there was never ten, fifty, or ninety of anything in the 1860s I suppose I m not a historian2 I hate it in historical fiction when huge events, such as the Civil War, are simplified down to the most basic historical and moral levels Sure, I understand that an entire war is too complex to fully cover in a three hundred page novel, but you can still do better than, War is bad But slavery is also bad So is a war to get rid of slavery good 3 I hate it in historical fiction when the main character seems to be best friends with every famous person of the time period In this book, the main character hangs with Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau notice she drops the Ralph and David parts because, you know, they re like close friends , Nathaniel Hawthorne, and John Brown As if, because I live in the 2000s, I am best buds with Dick Cheney, Britney Spears, and Bill Gates Hi, Brit Luv Ya I wanted desperately to like this book And I sort of did Little Women is one of my wife s favs, and I m a sucker for Civil War novels all five billion of em But this book, though elegantly written, struck me as too schmaltzy and too overly preachy to enjoy It was also a wee bit predictable as a Civ War novel Brooks made sure to hit the Twelve Points of the True CW Novel 1 interracial romance, 2 old urbane southern woman with power, 3 the meat and stench of the field hospital, 4 inverted moral systems, 5 corrupt or failed preachers, 6 the moral clarity of the narrator compared to those other dirty racists with bad teeth, 7 powder and ball , 8 a well stocked plantation library, 9 gorgeous, educated slave women who turn out to be of mixed blood, 10 the senseless suffering of women and children at the home front, 11 hot liberal indignation somewhere in New England, and 12 southern families torn apart by Visigothic Union soldiers who smash grand pianos Did I miss anything Well neither did Brooks Nevertheless, March is a wonderful idea, and as an exciting alter universe for Little Women, it probably has no peer.