Wednesday, June 22, 2011
So I just finished March, the current Fort Collins Reads pick. I have to confess, I wasn't sure I would like it. I had heard that it was epistolary, and I don't like books that are a series of letters. I hadn't especially liked Year of Wonders (I know; I'm the only one) and wasn't sure about basing a book on a character from a classic like Little Women.
Well, I have now changed my opinion. What a great book! There are some letters to introduce chapters, but the entire book isn't written that way, which was my fear. Mr. March comes across as a real person, with morals, weaknesses, wisdom, and errors in judgement. I think the book might have been fine on its own, without referencing Little Women, since there are some differences in character, for Marmee especially. Much of the book is based on Louisa May Alcott's own family, which was vegetarian and part of the Trancendentalist movement. So there is a bit of blurring between the March family and the Alcott family.
The writing is beautiful. The look at war and slavery unflinching and appalling. I highly recommend this book for book clubs- there will be no shortage of things to discuss. It will be a real treat to see Geraldine Brooks in November. And now I'm excited to read her newest historical novel, Caleb's Crossing! Its subject is the first Native American to graduate from Harvard, in the 17th century.