Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Wonderful Prequel to Little Women--Geraldine Brooks' "March"

A few weeks ago I was reading an article somewhere (it seems I read so many online publications these days it's hard to keep them all straight) and the article referenced a Pulitzer Prize winning prequel to Little Women, my all time favorite book.* How had I MISSED a prequel to Little Women? Especially a Pulitzer winning one? I jumped onto Amazon and ordered this book up for my Kindle immediately. Luckily I had a day of jury duty right around the corner in which to read this wonderful story.

Geraldine Brook's "March" envisions the world before the classic novel "Little Women". She explores how Mr. and Mrs. March met, and why they are the people we know in "Little Women." The book also explores Mr. March's service during the Civil War, including the incidents leading to his injury and recovery.

Geraldine Brooks does an excellent job rounding out classic characters in "March" and making them into much more than what the reader of "Little Women" knows about them. She explores Mr. March's character as a young man, and creates for the reader the events that made him into an abolitionist, and eventually led him to invest his life earnings in the schemes of John Brown. She shows us Marmee, as a fiery woman with a fierce temper who is passionately committed to the Underground Railroad and the independence of women. Brooks' narrative is beautiful, and I felt transported to her locations throughout the first half of the 19th century. She also has a wonderful way of getting inside the heads of these characters that I thought I knew to give me a whole new perspective.

If you are a "Little Women" fan, I highly recommend that you read this book. I think it will reintroduce you to the world of "Little Women" a create a new perspective for you on why the novel is how it is.

*When you're named after a character in a book like Little Women, it basically HAS to be your all time favorite!

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