Mrs. March was high on my to-read list ever since I saw that actress Elisabeth Moss and her production company are developing the book into a feature film. Once I had the visual of the talented actress (Mad Men, The Handmaid’s Tale) as the troubled Mrs. March, it made the book come to life while reading every intense page. Mrs. March (we do not learn her first name until the end) lives a priviledged life on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Her husband is a celebrated author. She starts to believe that the highly unappealing central character in his latest book is based on her. We then watch Mrs. March unravel as she loses touch with reality. She sees things that aren’t there. She starts exhibiting signs of extreme paranoia. Mrs. March, who has a distant relationship with her family, is not a very sympathetic or likeable character. Yet she is a mother of an eight-year old boy who needs her. And what about husband Charles March? Does he see what’s going on or is he too absorbed in the success of his new novel? At one point, Mrs. March starts to suspect her husband of murder.
This was such an uncomfortable book to read that I kept thinking, “Am I loving or really disliking this book?” Turns out I did like it. But it was too unsettling to love. Maybe I'll love the movie as I believe Moss will bring a vulnerability to the role that I wasn’t getting from the words on the page (perhaps the audio version is the way to go.) I was intrigued that the author never revealed what year this story takes place in. She left clues though. There are no mentions of cell phones or technology. Mrs. March and most of the affluent women are wearing long fur coats. People are using payphones. She papered the walls in her son’s room with fabric from Ralph Lauren. If the book had taken place in current times, I’d expect or at least hope that there would have been better awareness of mental health disorders.
This is author Virginia Feito’s debut novel, which is incredibly impressive. And she is writing the screenplay for the movie, which is a good thing. I’ll put Mrs. March in the “not for everyone but worth a look” file. And stay tuned for the movie.
Rated 3.75 out of 5 stars.
Mystery / Thriller.
Publication Date: August 10, 2021.
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