marchIt’s not that I don’t like any historical fiction, I just think it’s a really hard thing to do right, without simplifying everything. Nah, I really just hate historical fiction. And I think that March is a perfect example of historical fiction gone wrong.

1. I hate it in historical fiction when… the author seems to cling to one or two details in history and repeat them over and over again. In this book, the author seems intent on measuring everything in rods, no matter how short or long the distance, no matter how unimportant it is to the rest of the story – “the field was six rods away,” “he was one rod tall,” “I love rods.” She does the same thing with the word score – three score, four score, five score… there are never ten or fifty or ninety of anything. Perhaps there was never ten, fifty, or ninety of anything in the 1860s? I suppose I’m not a historian…

2. I hate it in historical fiction when… huge events, such as the Civil War, are simplified down to the most basic historical and moral levels. Sure, I understand that an entire war is too complex to fully cover in a three hundred page novel, but you can still do better than, “War is bad! But slavery is also bad! So is a war to get rid of slavery good?”

3. I hate it in historical fiction when… the main character seems to be best friends with every famous person of the time period. In this book, the main character hangs with Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau (notice she drops the “Ralph” and “David” parts because, you know, they’re like close friends), Nathaniel Hawthorne, and John Brown. As if, because I live in the 2000s, I am best buds with Dick Cheney, Britney Spears, and Bill Gates. Hi, Brit! Luv Ya!!!

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