Audiobook Review: The Fifth of March

by Becky

Why: I spend quite a bit of time in my car. My evening commute in particular can be quite lengthy and irritating. Admittedly, I was a skeptic of audiobooks. I started seeing Kathleen post some reviews on here and I thought, “these aren’t for me.” After Joli returned from her vacation and told me how much she had enjoyed her audiobooks, I figured I’d try, and after much searching for something that was available from my library immediately…I settled on this middle school favorite by Ann Rinaldi.

Story: Rachel is an indentured nursemaid for the children of John and Abigail Adams. Yes, THE John and Abigail Adams. She describes what it is like living in Boston during the unrest that culminates in the Boston Massacre on March 5th, 1770. During the build up, Rachel befriends a young British private named Matthew Kilroy. This ill-advised friendship muddles the young girl’s sense of right and wrong, forcing her to grow up quickly and make life-altering decisions about her future.

Opinion: This book is great for the middle school aged genre it was written for. As an adult testing out a new way of consuming literature, it was also a good first choice. The more simple, juvenile writing style allowed me to get used to comprehending passages without the benefit of seeing text and rereading passages as necessary. The story wasn’t as exciting or enjoyable as I remembered from my youth, but I think that was because I was trying to decide how I would want a future daughter to act; did I agree with Rachel’s decisions, etc. I also found myself being distracted by some repetitive phrases that Rinaldi used, followed immediately by self-reminders that this is a book for young readers. Lastly, not being accustomed to having someone read to me, it took awhile to get used to the voices employed by reader, Melissa Hughes.

Recommendation: In the young adult category, I think this is wonderful historical fiction and highly recommend it. I believe it has great teaching potential for the time period, for a discussion on justice and decision making. Having read this as a text and then listened to it, I believe this has a better feel as a text. Cannot put my finger on exactly why this is the case, but if I had to guess, I think it would be the way the story seems to drag in the courtroom scenes and how the repetition seems more obvious when you hear it out loud. If you’re a historical fiction lover like me, though, I still recommend you read this book from Ann Rinaldi’s repertoire.

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