This Christmas my dad hooked me up with a Kindle Fire; naturally I felt pressure to make my first Kindle purchase a good one! So I pulled up a few best seller lists and every place I looked I seemed to come across “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides. I have not read either of his previous books, “Middlesex” or “The Virgin Suicides” so I had no idea what I was in for. If I’ve read a book by a Pulitzer Prize Winner before, it was because it was required reading for a high school or college English class.
This book is about Madeline, an English major/graduate of Brown College in the early 1980s (I say major and graduate because the chronology of this story bounces around quite a bit; in parts she is an undergrad and then at other times she has already graduated), and two love interests: Mitchell and Leonard.
Madeline, finds herself lost in a romance similar to one that could’ve been written by Jane Austin; one of her favorite authors. Madeline wants so desperately to be in love that she is willing to inject herself in the painful life of Leonard, while Mitchell is willing to do anything to have Madeline.
The story begins the morning of graduation and then the reader is taken back in time to learn why Madeline ended up hung over and being woken up by her parents to go have breakfast before her graduation ceremony.
Despite being an English major, I found myself lost at times as Eugenides went on and on about different authors and their works because the detail was so tedious. Let me take a moment right here to pause and say, I was an English major with an emphasis on literature and not grammar. I am sure this is not too surprising of a revelation.
At first I found this book to be interesting but the further I got into it I just wanted it to be over. Since this was my first book to read on the Kindle, I had no idea that my progress would be tracked in percentage and with this book, that has made reading it even more painful. As much as I want to give up, I’m not going to. I will follow through and finish up with this book, hopefully tonight because I am 81% finished at the time of this post.
Leonard has manic-depression and is learning how to cope with this “Disease” as he calls it, while Mitchell is traveling the world on a spiritual journey. This leaves Madeline playing the role of Leonard’s nurse while thinking about Mitchell and wondering “what if.”
I am still hopeful that the culmination of the these three story lines will make my perseverance a worthwhile cause. Once this book is finished I will have finished book 2 of my goal of 20 books this year. Not too bad!
Have you read this book? What did you think? Trust me, you will not see me running out to pick up another Eugenides book any time soon!