Friday, March 2, 2012
On My Bedside Table
The Marriage Plot was on all kinds of bestseller and best of 2011 lists; so it quickly rose to the top of my reading wish list. The story revolves around a love triangle of sorts between Madeleine, a rudderless soon-to-be college graduate, Mitchell, a religious studies major, and Leonard, a manic depressive. The plot follows the three protagonists from the end of college through their post-graduation lives.
Although the plot keeps your attention and the characters, especially Mitchell in my opinion, are uniquely drawn, I found the book to be a little heavy on cliche stereotypes and depictions. The story takes place at a Brown-esque school in the '80s, and I found it replete with caricatures of intelligent yet out-of-touch college students and stereotypes related to '80s WASP culture. A fair share of literary references are smattered throughout the book, which does add to the depiction of the characters and the story.
One of the main themes of The Marriage Plot is the build-up to marriage within novels, as Madeleine is writing a thesis on this element within Victorian novels. Eugenides re-imagines this plot technique within the modern novel, but to be honest, I spent more time wishing I was picking up a good Eliot, Wilde, or James novel. Botton line: I found it an entertaining read - just a little short of my expectations. I would love to know if any of you have read it, and what you thought.