Skip to main content

Review: "Margaret Fuller: A New American Life" by Megan Marshall


 Synopsis:  From an early age, Margaret Fuller dazzled New England’s intelligent elite. Her famous Conversations changed women’s sense of how they could think and live; her editorship of the Dial shaped American Romanticism. Now, Megan Marshall, whose acclaimed The Peabody Sisters “discovered” three fascinating women, has done it again: no biography of Fuller has made her ideas so alive or her life so moving.

Marshall tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a hunger for passionate experience. In Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller took a secret lover; wrote dispatches on the brutal 1849 Siege of Rome; and gave birth to a son.

When all three died in a shipwreck off Fire Island shortly after Fuller’s 40th birthday, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by tragedy and scandal. Marshall’s inspired account brings an American heroine back to indelible life.

My Thoughts:  I will be completely honest, I had never heard of Margaret Fuller until reading this book.  After reading it I am really surprised that not only had I not heard of her, I had never heard of any of her written works.  

The author did a really good job of providing a thorough picture of Margaret Fuller's life.  Ms. Marshall used a lot of excerpts from Fuller's letters and from letters written by those who knew her.  Margaret Fuller is definitely one of the most fascinating American women I have read about.  It was neat to see a woman growing up in the early eighteen hundreds who was so incredibly well-educated and so ahead of her time.  It was so impressive that she was a serious columnist for the New York Tribune and that people were actually interested in her thoughts and opinions. I also thought it was really interesting that she had such close relationships with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and other famous Transcendentalists.  Considering that she lived such an exceptional life, it was so sad to see her come to such an early and tragic end.

While I do think the author provided a very thorough look at Fuller's life, the book seemed a little long winded and at times I was bored.  There was so much detail that it was a little overwhelming and I felt like sometimes more emphasis was put on the thoughts of Fuller's friends than on her and what was happening in her life.  The descriptions of the last year of her life was probably the most interesting; up to that point, things had been moving kind of slow.  Also, there were points where I had a hard time deciding if I liked Fuller: she was intelligent and confident but also incredibly moody and arrogant at times. 

Despite the fact that the book read a little slow, Margaret Fuller was an intriguing look at an incredible historical figure.  I will definitely try to read some more about Fuller and her unique life.  3 stars.

About the Author: 

  MEGAN MARSHALL is the author of The Peabody Sisters, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerAtlanticNew York Times Book Review, and Slate. A recipient of Guggenheim and NEH fellowships, Marshall teaches in the MFA program at Emerson College.

 Check out other stops on the Margaret Fuller tour here!

Comments

  1. Like you I had never heard of Margaret Fuller prior to this book but it seems like I've missed out on learning about a wonderful woman.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been seeing this book and do think it looks really interesting, and one I'd probably enjoy. But still, after reading your review think I might wait on picking it up. Not that I don't think I'd enjoy parts of it, but knowing there's so many other books I want to read, think there's probably better options out there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Denise, I've just read and reviewed this book, so I'm now interested to see what others thought of this book. Your review is very different from my own! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this biography.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most 1.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons   2.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon           If you read my blog at all, you know I love these two books so much!  I am not afraid to suggest them to anyone who I think might enjoy them. 3.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I was definitely recommending this book left and right when the first movie came out. 4.) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 5.) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin           These are two books that I just recently started recommending but they are books that can appeal to anyone so they are easy picks when someone asks for a recommendation. 6.) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead  - I get a little embarrassed when I recommend this book to people but seriously, just because it has vampires does not mean it is like Twilight. 7.) The Giver by Lois

Review and Giveaway: "Distant Signs" by Anne Richter

Synopsis: Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall. In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor’s daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in Thuringia. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families’ hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why do families repeat destructive patterns of behaviour across generations? Should the personal take precedence over

Review and Giveaway: "This Son of York" by Anne Easter Smith

Synopsis: Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by This Son of York…” — William Shakespeare, Richard III Richard III was Anne’s muse for her first five books, but, finally, in This Son of York he becomes her protagonist. The story of this English king is one of history’s most compelling, made even more fascinating through the discovery in 2012 of his bones buried under a car park in Leicester. This new portrait of England’s most controversial king is meticulously researched and brings to vivid life the troubled, complex Richard of Gloucester, who ruled for two years over an England tired of war and civil strife. The loyal and dutiful youngest son of York, Richard lived most of his short life in the shadow of his brother, Edward IV, loyally supporting his sibling until the mantle of power was thrust unexpectedly on him. Some of his actions and motives were misunderstood by his enemies to have been a deliberate usurpation of the throne, but thr