Melanie's Reviews > Middlemarch

Middlemarch by George Eliot
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it was amazing


Oh, the slow burn of genius.

I always tread lightly when it comes to using the word "genius" but there is no way around it here.

It took me a good 200 pages to fully get into the novel and its ornate 19th-century turn of phrase but very quickly, I was so completely spellbound by its intelligence and wisdom that I couldn't put it down.

George Eliot's astonishing authorial voice is something to behold. It takes the (mis)adventures of a handful of characters and peels their layers one by one with so much subtlety that you often have to reread a sentence several times to fully grasp the keenness of its observations.

The entire novel feels like a giant lens zooming in and out of human follies with such gusto and empathy that you cannot help but feel privileged to witness the inner workings of people's thoughts and (re)actions.

Not only does "Middlemarch" make you ponder many aspects of our motivations, desires, aspirations, limitations, ideals, dreams, behavior and inclinations but it keeps you on the edge of your seat like a ferocious psychological thriller.

The end will leave you teetering on the brink, revisiting all of your personal, deep-seated assumptions about people, what is a successful life, what is a good marriage, how you measure goodness and your impact on others' lives.

A work of vertiginous beauty.


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Quotes Melanie Liked

George Eliot
“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
George Eliot, Middlemarch


Reading Progress

January 24, 2014 – Shelved
January 24, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
January 25, 2014 –
4.0% (Paperback Edition)
January 26, 2014 –
7.0% (Paperback Edition)
January 26, 2014 –
10.0% (Paperback Edition)
January 27, 2014 – Started Reading
January 27, 2014 –
page 77
8.75%
January 27, 2014 –
page 77
8.75%
January 29, 2014 –
page 100
11.36%
January 31, 2014 –
page 114
12.95%
February 4, 2014 –
page 145
16.48%
February 9, 2014 –
page 188
21.36%
February 11, 2014 –
page 204
23.18%
February 11, 2014 –
page 229
26.02%
February 12, 2014 –
page 259
29.43%
February 14, 2014 –
page 286
32.5%
February 15, 2014 –
page 323
36.7%
February 16, 2014 –
page 357
40.57%
February 22, 2014 –
page 412
46.82%
February 23, 2014 –
page 497
56.48%
February 24, 2014 –
page 552
62.73%
February 24, 2014 –
page 639
72.61%
February 28, 2014 –
page 688
78.18%
March 1, 2014 –
page 733
83.3%
March 2, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Rowena Lovely! Your review makes me want to re-read the book:)


message 2: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Wonderful review Melanie


Melanie Rowena wrote: "Lovely! Your review makes me want to re-read the book:)"

Thanks Rowena! You should! I'm still under its spell, constantly thinking about it. Such a dazzling mind!


Melanie Melanie wrote: "Wonderful review Melanie"

Thanks Melanie! That was quite an experience...


message 5: by Mikki (new)

Mikki Beautifully stated and I love the quote that you 'liked'.


Melanie Mikki wrote: "Beautifully stated and I love the quote that you 'liked'."

Thanks Mikki, it's such a beautiful sentence!


message 7: by Baz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Baz My kind of review. Not overly long, very concise but full of feeling and summarizing the crux of the novel's magic. Looking forward to reading it. :)


Melanie Baz wrote: "My kind of review. Not overly long, very concise but full of feeling and summarizing the crux of the novel's magic. Looking forward to reading it. :)"

Thanks Baz! I think you will love it. It's such a deeply resonating and fascinating survey of human beings, at their best and at their worst.


message 9: by Douglas (new)

Douglas This is the kind of thing I wanted to say in my review of "Great Expectations", but instead, I wrote, "I really liked this book."

Nothing makes me want to read a book more than the idea of "a giant lens zooming in and out of human follies."

Great review!


Melanie Douglas wrote: "This is the kind of thing I wanted to say in my review of "Great Expectations", but instead, I wrote, "I really liked this book."

Nothing makes me want to read a book more than the idea of "a gia..."


Thanks Doug! It's really what it is! It's like peeling the layers of human interactions under a microscope. George Eliot lets her characters be, observes them, analyzes them, and yet she gives them complete freedom too. I've rarely felt such a dizzying display of intellect and heart. I'm still reeling from the last paragraph. It's a little ornate but completely reliable, it's old-fashioned but incredibly modern. I can't wait to know your impressions of this one!


message 11: by Julie Christine (new)

Julie Christine Beautiful review, Melanie. I tried Middlemarch several years ago and it just didn't take. Between your review and the delicious Penguin Classics edition, I'm tipping toward a re-try.


Melanie Julie wrote: "Beautiful review, Melanie. I tried Middlemarch several years ago and it just didn't take. Between your review and the delicious Penguin Classics edition, I'm tipping toward a re-try."

Thanks Julie! It did take me a good 250 pages to really get into it. Then I was completely hooked!


message 13: by Sean (new)

Sean Middlemarch has been sitting on my iPad saying,"Hello! Read me!" for months. Your sparkling and brilliant review has inspired me to finally listen and read it!


message 14: by Garima (new)

Garima Lovely review, Melanie. I need to read this book without further delay.


message 15: by Stephen (new)

Stephen P A review of vertiginous beauty, Melanie. An incisive, poetic accounting of all that makes literature great. The perfect homage to a wonderful book. Standing ovation.


message 16: by Dolors (last edited Mar 04, 2014 03:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dolors I adored that last sentence Melanie, lyrical and effective. A straight to the point and most deep review, you've done a fantastic job. Congratulations.


Melanie Sean wrote: "Middlemarch has been sitting on my iPad saying,"Hello! Read me!" for months. Your sparkling and brilliant review has inspired me to finally listen and read it!"

Oh awesome! And it'll be less heavy on your iPad as well. ;) A dazzling work of art.


Melanie Garima wrote: "Lovely review, Melanie. I need to read this book without further delay."

Thank you so much Garima! I think you will love it and I can't wait to know your thoughts and impressions of this novel. Quite a feast!


Melanie Dolors wrote: "I adored that last sentence Melanie, lyrical and effective. A straight to the point and most deep review, you've done a fantastic job. Congratulations."

Thank you so much Dolors! It's not an easy book to review because it is so gigantic (in every sense of the word) and multi-layered. I just wanted to express that feeling of mathematical beauty that rises from its pages, how insanely crafted yet free-flowing it is. Such a brilliant, brilliant mind.


message 20: by B the BookAddict (new)

B the BookAddict gorgeous review!


Melanie Bette is for Books wrote: "gorgeous review!"

Thank you! :)


Suzanne Great review. I'm putting it on my list.


Melanie Suzanne wrote: "Great review. I'm putting it on my list."

Thanks Suzanne! Can't wait to know your thoughts on this novel!


Melanie Stephen wrote: "A review of vertiginous beauty, Melanie. An incisive, poetic accounting of all that makes literature great. The perfect homage to a wonderful book. Standing ovation."

Aww, thank you so much Stephen! :)


Paul The Uncommon Reader I agree with every well chosen word you write. My only problem with Middlemarch is that it moves and inspires me so much and in so many different ways that I just don't know where to begin reviewing it, so I probably never will. But if I did (write one), I think I would try to write one like yours (though it wouldn't be as skilled): succinct, tight and only hinting at the glory within.
I think, like many do, that this book defines what great literature does: it takes us places that no other human achievement can.
Thank you for your review; I could not better it!


Melanie Paul The Uncommon Reader wrote: "I agree with every well chosen word you write. My only problem with Middlemarch is that it moves and inspires me so much and in so many different ways that I just don't know where to begin reviewin..."

Aaww, thank you so much! It IS such a difficult book to review because it encompasses so much. And I always try to never give anything away about the plot. I think books are more powerful the less you know about them when you start.


message 27: by Larissa (new) - added it

Larissa "A work of vertiginous beauty"

*swoons onto chaise longue*
I LOVE YOUR REVIEWS.

You make me want to quit my job to sit in my library and read. Well, even more than usual. :)

Would you recommend this book to listen to on a daily commute? I find that I often read too quickly to appreciate beautiful language, but audio forces me to slowly savor.

Also, as I think of my students, do you think there is a particular demographic in high school who might love Middlemarch?


Melanie Hi Larissa! Thank you so much! I have no idea how George Eliot's language would translate to audio but I'm guessing that if it's read well, it should be quite good! I'm a visual person myself, I have to "see" words in order to appreciate prose...


message 29: by Cri (new) - added it

Cri Ard Great review!!!


Melanie Cristianardelean wrote: "Great review!!!"

Thank you! :)


Stuart McArthur Just finished reading it. Still digesting it. Your review is the closest to how I feel about it so thankyou Melanie. Your analogy of the lens focussing in and out on human motivation and desire and ambition is spot on. I will associate Middlemarch with that analogy from now on.


Melanie Stuart wrote: "Just finished reading it. Still digesting it. Your review is the closest to how I feel about it so thankyou Melanie. Your analogy of the lens focussing in and out on human motivation and desire and..."

Thank you Stuart! It really is an astounding work of art...


message 33: by Serenity (new)

Serenity Thank you for your insightful and consise review. Due to your review I ordered the book and look forward to reading it. :)


message 34: by AC (new) - rated it 5 stars

AC Hey Melanie! I'm about to start reading this. I really hope it lives up to your praise. Thanks


message 35: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn I highly recommend Juliet Stevenson's audio version. She is as talented as George Eliot.


Louise Yes, brilliant.


Roger Brunyate I'm so glad, Melanie, that you took even longer over this book than I did myself. It not only requires slow reading but—as illustrated by your glowing analysis of your reactions—it repays it. R.


message 38: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy Helmkamp Okay okay! I long to read it and I shall! I will take it with me wherever I go...for how can I not after such a review. With many thanks to you for sealing the deal, I first heard about Middlemarch on Instagram ha! Truth! I predict many an hour pouring over pages I will, as many a book before it, wish I could write myself. Will it be in my purse in the long line at the grocery store? By my bedside at night keeping me up til 3:00 AM and collecting sand on the bay as I burn through its pages like the sun will surely burns my skin as I neglect personal safety?! Will I curse the day I leave it home when I’m running errands?! And the best test of all...will I read it at every stop light?
All I can say is it sounds like a YES to me! (It’s that word “vertiginous”...gets me every damn time!)📚


message 39: by Aya (new) - added it

Aya Bokharrobah Cant wait i just started reading the book 🤓


message 40: by Shir (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shir L What does one read after a book like this? I feel warmed by the company of these intimate friends, this friend of a book, and saddened to have parted from it.


message 41: by David (new) - added it

David Smith This is it.


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