I love MSP and I enjoy reading about them. This is a pretty good book. It seems to have a level of distance not there in Simon Price's biography (whicI love MSP and I enjoy reading about them. This is a pretty good book. It seems to have a level of distance not there in Simon Price's biography (which is also good, but very personal and biased). It also ends with "Postcards from a Young Man" so it is pretty up to date. I would recommend this to any Manics Fan and I think it would be interesting even if you didn't like them much....more
I read this book years ago and it is awesome. It provides a really good intro to Marxism for those who aren't familiar with the man's work. Top drawerI read this book years ago and it is awesome. It provides a really good intro to Marxism for those who aren't familiar with the man's work. Top drawer!...more
I have never really read any "chick lit" and only read this book because it was the only thing half decent looking in a charity shop, but I have to saI have never really read any "chick lit" and only read this book because it was the only thing half decent looking in a charity shop, but I have to say, it is actually pretty good. A lot of it is cliched sub Sex and The City nonsense, but when it breaks out of this, there are a couple of gems. The difficult relationship with the main character and her family being the most interesting, as is the fact that she manages to be best friends with both a working class dominatrix and a posh housewife. Not a bad book at all....more
**spoiler alert** Like many people I loved Eugenides' previous book "Middlesex" and I was looking forward to reading "The Marriage Plot" and like many**spoiler alert** Like many people I loved Eugenides' previous book "Middlesex" and I was looking forward to reading "The Marriage Plot" and like many people I found "The Marriage Plot" a let down!
There are three main characters in the novel and it revolves around their mawkish love triangle and their intellectual pursuits: Science (Leonard), English Literature (Madeline) and Religion (Mitchell)with some other stuff thrown in. They are on the whole, not a likeable bunch all though I am not sure if this is intentional or not, or it could be just a personal preference on my part. I just don't like whiny, posh, pretentious twenty-somethings much and I didn't like having to read a whole book about them!
The only character I had any fondness for was Leonard, the Ballard reading Manic-Depressive, which might say more about me than anything, but I found him (ironically)to be the only person in the novel with a grasp on reality.(Apart from his mental breakdown in a casino, which I found laugh-out-loud funny).
I found Madeline's obsession with "The Lovers Discourse" (and her simultaneous crush on Leonard) irritating, in fact I found Madeline irritating in general. I don't like Jane Austen and I am suspicious of women who do.
Mitchell (the Greek American from Detroit, who assume is Eugenides himself) is easily the worst of the lot. He spends the bulk of the novel travelling all over Europe and Asia whilst brooding over Madeline. This is in itself, annoying. He could brood at home, many people would love to go on such a fascinating adventure, but he wastes it by mooning over an annoying girl who doesn't like him much. His only saving grace for me, was his willingness to volunteer in Mother Teresa's Home For The Dying. However he even managed to f*** that up! When he ran away from the dying man because he couldn't cope, I wanted to climb into the book to slap him for being such an idiot.
I read somewhere that Eugenides loosely based the plot on that of "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Bronte and thus without having to write a proper original plot, he could be free to put all his efforts into characterisation. I think the conceptually "The Marriage Plot" is incredibly clever and I also think that it is beautifully written. I understand now why Eugenides writes so slowly. He really takes his time to make sure every sentence is perfect and I really appreciate it. I also enjoyed learning more about the philosophers and writers that the characters discover. I have always been a fan of the "Introducing...." Series and this book gives a potted description of many great minds.
However, despite it's plus points "The Marriage Plot" ultimately leaves me cold. I have never been a fan of Intellectualism for the sake of it, and found Madeline and Mitchell to be over-privileged, self-indulgent fools who need to get a grip on reality. I felt sorry for Leonard until his mental breakdown, which I found hilarious. This book isn't a very sensitive portrayal of mental illness (or maybe it is just my sick sense of humour).
In conclusion, I have no regrets about reading the book, it is certainly better than most of the dross about, but for a writer of such a high calibre as Eugenides, I feel that he could have done better.
Conceptually this is a pretty good book and has an excellent plot, however it is very badly written; the language is repetitive and the characters areConceptually this is a pretty good book and has an excellent plot, however it is very badly written; the language is repetitive and the characters are not properly developed. It is a shame because it could be a fine modern tragedy if the writer had spent more time on it....more