Friday, March 9, 2012

March by Geraldine Brooks

March by Geraldine Brooks

March is based on the absent father from Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic book, Little Women.   Mr. March is a passionate abolitionist and preacher and when the Civil War begins, he finds himself at 40 years old, leaving his home, his wife and daughters to aid the Union Army.  He holds many roles during the first year of the war as he seeks to bring peace and healing to the wounded.  In his letters, Mr. March finds he cannot tell his wife everything that has happened as the war is so horrible.  Racism exists on both sides and March struggles with the convictions of others.

March is eventually posted to teach former slaves on a Southern plantation in Virginia run by a Northern businessman.  They aim to grow and harvest cotton to supply the North with materials to manufacture garments.  The Confederates are wholeheartedly against this. 

Mr. March travels take him from Concord, Mass. to Virginia and on to Washington D.C.  Brooks bases most of March's character on Louisa May Alcott's father, Bronson Alcott.   The Alcott's lived in Concord near Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau.  Alcott was a teacher who was a little ahead of his time.  Brooks decision to model Mr. March after Mr. Alcott makes sense as Louisa May Alcott modeled Little Women after her family as well.  I recognized Bronson Alcott as Mr. March right away because I read Eden's Outcasts, a biography of the Alcotts a few years ago. 

Mr. March is a lovable, unforgettable man who will steal your heart with his resolve.  The backdrop of the Civil War and the fight for abolition is powerful.  March is steeped in history and literary greats.  It is a treasure trove for lovers of literature and meant to be enjoyed by grown up fans of Little Women.

Geraldine Brooks is one of my favorite authors as I have read four of her six books and have loved every one of them.  Brooks is an author who takes history and gives it a voice and a charm that resonates with people today.  She won the Pulitzer Prize for March in 2006 and it is well-deserved.  I met Geraldine Brooks when her book Years of Wonder came out and I have never forgotten the meeting as she was dangling a small black, fake, rat that she wrote about it in her book.  Love it!

No comments:

Post a Comment