Eleni's Reviews > The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
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Mar 04, 2012

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Read from March 04 to 08, 2012

I can tell from this book why people have raved about Eugenides' other books - he's knowledgable, and I admire his 21st century take on "the marriage plot" of 19th and early 20th century novels, many of which I have enjoyed, studied, and taught against... I think the reason why I could not give it a four star rating is that, for the marriage plot to work in these kinds of novels, you have to be rooting for the woman of the tale.... her choice of partner has to matter (even Bridget Jones' Diary got that right), and she has to matter to US. But I did not care for this heroine who has to make a choice between a quiet, religious studies major or a brilliant and brilliantly-wild English major.. I was actually rooting for the religious studies guy to NOT "win" his prize.... and perhaps that was the point because the ending of the book is well done indeed plot wise and motif wise even though I still didn't care about Madelaine by then. Eugenides definitely got the setting university setting right except that I would say (and perhaps others' personal experience is different) that he was describing graduate study/characters rather than undergraduate study/characters (yes, there's only a year of maturity between these two "types" but that added to the setting of grad school makes a difference).
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