From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's father, a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.
Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcott's optimistic children's tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism, and by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks' place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction.
Don't miss Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women.
©2005 Geraldine Brooks; (P)2005 Penguin Audio and BBC Audiobooks America
"Luminous....Brooks' 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." (Publishers Weekly)
I no longer live in Worcester. I now live in Brooklyn, NY.
The version I listened to was narrated by the author. The story is absolutely wonderful, the narration a bit monotone.
It was written well enough, but I kept hoping for that magical moment that would earn it the Pulitzer. It uses big words and may help develop the vocabulary of a 16 year old who will resent adults for forcing him or her to read it to pass AP English. It makes me cringe when I think of all the essays that will be written about the events in this book that force the main character to face the burden of his ideology. Sorry kids, but I see this in your future. Good luck.
This is the first audio book I listen to. I had read it many years ago and I loved hearing it again from a different perspective. The narration was superb!
Historical context is interesting, but a bit forced. Similarly, the narrator (March) is a bit too much.
On the whole, the author seems constrained to imbue the main character with with overly modern sensibilities on race, women, vegetarianism, capitalism, sex, etc., and release him into the Civil War era.
I wouldn't say the story is without merit, but it is a bit of a slog. Consider listening to an abridgment.
Tell us about yourself!
I really enjoyed this book. I like historic dramas and this qualified. Seeing the March family from a whole different perspective was a real treat.
Yes, most Transendentalists were idealist in nature... but idealists were and are not necessarily foolish and preachy hypocrites. Geraldine Brooks's Chaplain March is, unfortunately, all of the above. I realize that "Little Women" is not a sacred text. However, I believe it is the author's responsibility to be more than cautious and gentle when taking literary license with characters from such a popular classic. Not only does Brooks paint Mr. March as being a self-centered fool, but her Marmie is a screaming and often irrational virago. To me, these characterizations were almost sacrilegious. I read "Little Women" for the first time at age ten, and being a quiet and bookish child, these characters became my friends and extended family. I just wish Ms. Brooks had been more careful when painting this particular family portrait.
Truly, one of the worst listening experiences I have encountered. It's led me to create a new component to my audio book-buying algorithm. Avoid Easton at all costs.
No one I would want to associate with.
It really wouldn't matter...but, I could literally hear his smugness coming through in the narration.
Please, reimburse my credit so I can erase the memory of this book from my mind.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.