I always ask for books for Christmas and usually get at least one. Easy gift with maximum pleasure potential, right? This year the book on top of my list was The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I have read his two other books, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, so his new novel attracted my attention right away. Not to mention it was about love and an English major. I mean what's not to like?
I would recommend it if:
- You are/were an English major, especially fond of Victorian literature
- After college you were distressed at the thought of never hearing about Derrida again
- You absolutely love Jeffrey Eugenides
- You like books that end just as they should, but don't really shock/move you
It started out strong mixing the confusion of graduating college, going through a breakup, being a slightly unemployable English major graduate, and having undefined romantic feelings for a friend. All good things that I can relate to and Eugenides wove the stories and feelings together very well. The story was fluid and the characters were likable. Madeleine reminds me of myself though I hope I wasn't as naive as she is, but probably was more so.
The rest of the book was okay. I was fairly excited to read each night but it didn't keep me up later than it should. The character of Leonard interested me most in his battle being manic depressive, but he didn't get a lot of voice in the story and so we see him only through his Madeleine's eyes (which weren't all that open or worldly...yes very much like myself at 22). I would have loved to hear more about/from Leonard but at least he did keep the plot interesting.
Of course I won't give away the ending...I guess I will just say it was kinda a let down. No emotional punch. I am pretty sure Derrida would not approve of the book at all. (Completely off topic, the assignment I was most proud of in all my English college courses was inspired by Derrida. Maybe another reason I started off this book thinking it would be fabulous.)
So in the end I liked the book, but I would guess it isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea and it isn't my favorite of Eudenides. It is kinda strange to write a book review again, and I am confident my college professors wouldn't give me high marks, but it is fun!
(This is where Honey, my husband, would shake his head and call me a Nerd.)