Sunday, August 24, 2008

March by Geraldine Brook

image from LibraryThing

This is our August Book Club book.

It has been a long time since I read Little Women...a really long time. I remember the movie much more than the book.

Because of that, I came to this book as much more of a stand alone. I didn't know what to expect and I think that helped. I can't say that I enjoyed the book - it took me quite a while to get into it. But I was intrigued. March actually tried to live what his ideals called him to do. I got tired of his pie in the sky attitude and his inability to really engage in the world around him. It especially irritated me when he was in the hospital at the end.

But, it is in the midst of that scene that I found my very favorite part. Marmee was really giving it to March for wanting to go back to the war and single handedly right all his imagined wrongs. Her comment, "You are not God. You do not determine the outcome," resonated with me.

I think this is one of those little blips in my soul that I keep forgetting. Every time I think it is my responsibility to remake the life of a child, to be the one to break through a difficult shell or to make the leap that brings the understanding of reading to a 4th grader, I have forgotten this fact. I am but one. It's not all up to me...instead it's up to all of us to do our part.

I couldn't help but ponder the Iraqi war we are embroiled in. What do my ideals call me to do? March joined the cause with one set of ideals - faced something completely different as he tried to work within the army and then came against a new set of realities working on the plantation with Ethan. So much that he thought he knew and understood was false. Is that the way war still is? I can imagine the soldiers coming home from Iraq are faced with the same turmoil that March was as he tried to connect with the far away world of his family.So, although this is a story about blacks and whites - I think many parallels can be drawn between Muslims and Christians.

Would I say this was one of my favorite books? No - but I'm glad I read it.

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