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The Marriage Plot – Jeffrey Eugenides

January 28, 2013

Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Picador
416 pages
ISBN: 9781250014764
Source: Book Store

I have loved each book Jeffrey Eugenides has written.

I will say, however, that I have loved each one in a very different way. This makes sense as they’re all pretty darn different.

The Marriage Plot was perhaps my least favorite of his three books but still it rises above many an ordinary tale. The story centers around 80’s Jersey girl Madeleine Hanna and her life beginning at Brown. The writing is fantastic, of course, but the plot is often disjointed as it bumps from Madeline to one and then the other of her two collegiate suitors, the Lurch-like Leonard and the mystical Mitchell. I believe the intention is to create a fairly Victorian plotline of traditional courting and heartbreak through modern scenarios as this is Madeline’s study focus. For that, it works and is tied up nicely in all areas.

In terms of the character development, something I’m not usually prone to discussing, I think that Eugenides has done better. As I said, I’m not usually a “character development” chick but I do feel as though it’s worth mentioning in this capacity as it was the kind of story that seemed as if it should, really, be driven by the characters coming into some sort of self discovery. I despise when people complain about characters especially when the story given clear indication of why each character is as annoying or strange as the writing allows. However, again, I have to make note that I found Madeleine tiresome and Leonard a bit of a caricature of mental illness. Mitchell, my favorite of the three, was sadly pushed to the side for most of the book. I think I would have read an entire four hundred page novel about Mitchell but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.

I did not intend for this to be such a wet noodle of a review. I really did enjoy the book for its own uniqueness, philosophy and literature references and, of course, Eugenides and his famed writing. Like I’ve said, there are definite critiques to be made in the characters but I think, over all, it was a worthwhile reading adventure.

One Comment leave one →
  1. zibilee permalink
    January 30, 2013 9:00 pm

    I really liked this one, and I think the main reason was because the writing really stood out to me. Eugenides has a lot of talent and I always look forward to his offerings, even if his characters are sometimes annoying. I’m sorry that you didn’t love this one, but I am glad that you were able to appreciate the magnificent writing that was on display here. Excellent review today!

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