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Madeleine Hanna breaks out of her straight-and-narrow mold when she falls in love with charismatic loner Leonard Bankhead, while at the same time an old friend of hers resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is his destiny.
I would rate the first half 4 stars, not so much for the plot or the sad sack characters but for the engaging and sharp writing. But the last half is a bit of a let-down (I swear I felt Eugenides' interest waning) and only 3 stars.
submitted by jaegerla on January 10, 2012, 12:54 pm
I agree with BAM on this, and I'm not just sucking up because she's awesome. I too read/loved Middlesex but could not connect to The Marriage Plot.
Middlesex had a few slow patches in the storyline, but the writing was eloquent to the point that you hardly noticed. The Marriage Plot has me loathing every last character from the moment they are introduced and the writing style feels choppy and forced. What was lyrical and introspective in Middlesex feels forced and overthought in this book. Some of the phrasing is hard to take.
Example: "What's the matter? Didn't you hear the bell?" It was Alton's voice, as deep and commanding as ever, despite the fact that it was issuing from a tiny speaker.
"Sorry," Madeleine said. "I was in the shower."
"Likely story. Will you let us in, please?"
While there is nothing technically wrong with that exchange, I hate it. The entire story reads like that. Maybe if I managed to finish the book it would rival Middlesex, but I highly doubt it.
If anyone out there makes it through this and loves it, submit a review about what you liked about it.
I found myself reading this book just to see where it was going, not because I was particularly interested in the characters. I appreciated the attempt made to explain Leonard's bi-polar disorder, both by Leonard's account and by the omniscient narrator. This helped me to understand why Madeleine found him attractive. Otherwise, I couldn't relate to her attraction to him at all. Nor could I relate to the self-centered nature of all the characters, really. Unlike Middlesex, which I couldn't put down, the Marriage Plot was light on plot.