August March

The Astonishing Life of August MarchThe Astonishing Life of August March by Aaron Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fun romp of a novel! I fell in love with the author’s voice before I finished the first marvelous tongue-in-cheek chapter. A starlet gives a breathtaking performance in a pregnancy-hiding hoop skirt, waddles off stage, gives birth alone in her dressing room, leaves the child in a basket of dirty laundry, and is back on stage for curtain call. She goes to an after-party with a clear conscience, thinking “someone will find the child and care for it.”

She’s right. An elderly spinster laundress finds the baby and cares for him. Sort of. She loves him, but not enough to take him home and disrupt her own life. He grows up in the theater. His astonishing childhood is the best part of this novel, although his further adventures as a New York street kid in the 1950’s, his teen years at an exclusive prep school, and his unconventional adult years held my attention through every page.

As I said before, it’s Aaron Jackson’s voice that makes the life of August March so astonishingly entertaining. The same story told in a slightly different way would be a tragedy, but Jackson allows not one moment of self-righteous pity or melodrama. Instead, we smile and chuckle as August March triumphs against all odds. The ending is perfect.

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