March is obviously written by a different author and for a different purpose than Little Women. From reading Little Women, I imagined Mr. March to be a quietly strong man who is kind and good--much like the male version of Alcott's Marmee. While he does exhibit these characteristics to some extent, Brooks' Mr. March is very flawed. He acts very cowardly and selfishly on several occasions and makes poor decisions that cause harm to those around him. However, if he were perfect, his character would be unbelievable, and in some of the wartime situations he faces, there is no good outcome possible.
Brooks cleverly weaves bits of the stories from Little Women throughout the novel. She also tells of how March and Marmee meet and fall in love. I really like the Marmee of Brooks' imagination. While March narrates the majority of the book, Marmee narrates the last section. She is spirited, intelligent, and passionate about what she believes is right. The younger version of Marmee is a bit too passionate at times, and her temper gets the better of her more than once.
In the afterward, Brooks says that she based Mr. March on Louisa May Alcott's father, Bronson Alcott, who was a bit of a radical in his time. I cannot quite make up my mind about Mr. March--I think I am just having a difficult time reconciling the father that I imagine from Little Women, with the man of Brooks' story. Overall, I really enjoyed March. However, if you are looking for prequel to Little Women or more of the same story, I would caution you that the two novels are quite different.
Date completed: September 20, 2008
# of pages: 280