Friday, April 21, 2006

March: A Novel

by Geraldine Brooks (read Apr 2006)
I absolutely loved this book. Grateful thanks to my sister-in-law, Susan, for recommending it. This is the story of the idealistic father of the fictitious March family of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. I have seen the movie but never read the book, a fact which I thought would hinder my appreciation of March. Not so.

Peter March is portrayed as a chaplain in the union army. As he tries to pen appropriate words home to his 'little women' his thoughts and the story flashback to the past and weave together with what is presently taking place. It provides a compelling look at the atrocities of slavery and the horrors of the Civil War. Within that big backdrop lies the more personal story of one man trying to make a difference and trying to remain a hero in the eyes of those he loves.

Brooks writing beautifully depicts the time period. It's hard to imagine this is not the diary of an 19th century abolutionist. I cared deeply for Peter March and his wife, Marmee. And for the slaves who worked a way into his heart. This is a masterfully written, poignant story that I highly recommend.

Only one quote, though, there were several at the end that I like. "It is a hard thing when a man is ruined by the very idea that most animates him."