Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It feels strange to only give The Marriage Plot three stars - I had a difficult time putting it down, especially the last half, which I finished in the last 24 hours. It was a good read, but I didn't actually enjoy the story itself.

Eugenides is a wonderful writer. I have yet to read The Virgin Suicides, but I recall Middlesex with fondness. Eugenides has a particular way of planting the reader in an environment with his subjects, letting the reader feel and think with his characters. His books are carefully and thoughtfully plotted. Yet The Marriage Plot was too raw, too vivid, too personal, and too intense. The characters were deeply unlikeable and did not develop as much as they could have, should have. It felt like I was watching three fish splash around each other in a too-small bucket while the water slowly drained out, and for what purpose?

I suppose this book is timely, what with the current recession and this generation's (my generation's) lack of direction and perceived ability to successfully and intentionally work hard. There is real anguish here - that even if we do our very best, it may not, will not bring us what we want, perhaps what we need.

My husband also made a humorous point. After over-exposure to my current obsession with the Gilmore Girls, he said he couldn't help but see and hear Phyllida and Alton as Emily and Richard Gilmore. Of course once he told me though, I did the same.

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