Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Marriage Plot

by Jeffrey Eugenides
May 28-July 14, 2013

I bought this book on my kindle way back in March 2012 with every intention of reading it in Palm Desert. What do they say about those with the best intentions? Oh, right. And then it continued to get pushed aside for newer releases until I finally made time for it in May. Although The Marriage Plot made a bunch of "best of" lists for 2011, the fact that I finished this book a little over a week ago and have thought of it only in terms of writing this post, tells me that I disagree with said lists.

I started off like gangbusters. A rare Saturday afternoon with my chores complete and a few hours to sit on the porch with a new book. And I was instantly intrigued. Any book set in the 80s, focusing on college and those years right after, are always a warm fuzzy for me. It's just that I failed to understand the significance of this particular decade being so central to the novel.

But then I started to wonder what the whole point was. I never do that, so why was I questioning it now? I guess I felt like the story really wasn't going anywhere. Madeleine, a devotee to English literature, is in the midst of a love triangle with Larry and Mitchell. Larry challenges her intellectually, Mitchell spiritually. She chooses the latter, but questions this choice on more that one occasion. It's not until the last few paragraphs that the decision is more or less made for her, and I was still left wondering the author's intention. I honestly would have put this book down unfinished if I hadn't paid money for it. It makes me feel guilty when a book so praised as this one fails to impress me. And by guilty I mean stupid. Did I miss the message? I think so. But I can't feel guilty or stupid; I just need to remember to each her own, right?

Opinions for or against are welcome. Help me see the light if you think I missed out.

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