Perry's Reviews > Middlemarch

Middlemarch by George Eliot
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it was ok
bookshelves: verlaten

Made it Past Page 700, But Cannot Read Even One More Page of Telling (Compared to Showing)

Reading this now seems akin to being impelled to eat an overcooked steak with a plastic fork and butter knife . After months of pain, I put my finger on one of the reasons why. It was published in 1871 before the literary realism of Flaubert's 1856 Madame Bovary gained a foothold in the lit world.

For example, something that especially drives me to the brink is Eliot's constant long-winded commentary on the dialogue and acts, e.g., on how what was said or done makes this female character feel and how she might have felt if she knew what he felt or if he'd instead said or done it a different way, or what the male character should believe the female character might think her mum is going to do in reaction to what the female tells her mum that he said, which might in turn lead to "X" or to "Y."

Instead of giving the reader dialogue, descriptions and characters' inner thoughts from which the reader may draw conclusions, she tells the reader what to conclude, how to feel, etc. ad nauseam, which makes me shout, " GRR ARGHHHHH ," and feel like the massive book would better serve as a doorstop or firestarter.

I know this novel is much beloved, and I understand why. It just seems to me that I've gone over 700 pages and nothing much has happened, that there is no true narrative drive. Picking the book up has become as enjoyable as going for dental work or filling out my tax return.

I am NOT saying this novel is poorly written or conceived. It's simply that I cannot read nearly 1,000 pages of this style of writing.
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Reading Progress

May 27, 2016 – Shelved
November 30, 2016 – Started Reading
November 30, 2016 –
page 38
Finished Reading
December 2, 2016 –
page 77
8.34% "... (h)e was gradually discovering the delight there is in frank kindness and companionship between a man and a woman who have no passion to hide or confess.""
January 25, 2017 –
page 114
January 25, 2017 –
page 153
January 26, 2017 –
page 244
January 27, 2017 –
page 291
January 28, 2017 –
page 390
January 29, 2017 –
page 407
February 16, 2017 –
page 533
February 18, 2017 –
page 566
February 19, 2017 –
page 689
March 14, 2017 –
page 714
77.36% "This is like trying to kill myself with a butter knife. This evening, after months of pain, I put my finger on why. It was published in 1871 b4 literary realism of Flaubert's 1856 Mdme Bovary gained ahold. Driving me to the edge is Eliot's constant commentating on what's going on, instead of giving dialogue, descriptions & inner thoughts and letting the reader draw conclusions. She's telling, not showing."

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie Perry, I feel your pain. I was so looking forward to you reading it for both of us, but as I haven't been able to get to page 100 of it, you're my literary hero!!

Fiona Love your review, Perry. It gave me a good laugh! I read this at school because I had to and got no pleasure from it at all.

message 3: by Fran (new)

Fran did well. A seven hundred page investment in a book that wasn't for you...Bravo! Don't feel bad.

message 4: by Melanie (new)

Melanie You gave it 700 pages! Good job! I watched the miniseries :))

message 5: by Cheri (new)

Cheri I feel your pain, Perry... 700 plus pages and you can't keep going... better to let it go than force yourself to endure what you're not enjoying, and especially what is painful!

message 6: by Bianca (new)

Bianca Nobody can say that you didn't give it a fair chance! Holly Molly, you read 700 pages! You could have rated it. I understand what you're saying ... I'm going to try to read a bit more.

Camie Life is too short .....

Cathrine ☯️ Oh my, I had decided to tackle this one in 2017. 1000 pages and you quit at 700?! I agree with Camie.

Jen Parenti I barely finished it!

message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Philistines ☺ Perry, I am unfriending you...

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