- Published: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
- Year Published: 2011
- Edition: 1st ed.
- Description: 406 p. ; 24 cm.
- Language: English
- Format: Book
- Triangles (Interpersonal relations) -- Fiction.
- Literature -- Fiction. -- Appreciation
- Self-actualization -- Fiction.
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The marriage plot
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Call number: Fiction
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.
Reviews & Summaries
Thing I hated #1, a personal gripe: This was yet another book written by an English major almost solely for English majors. It's about an English major at the end of her college career, referencing all the personal in-group commentary that will have other English majors saying "Oh, yes... uh, huh... oh, of course...." (I am referring to excessive obscure books, literary stylistic and genre references, the reasons why people ended up in this major and what they will do next, and more.)
That's well and good, and lovely for your audience of former English majors and those few others who read the same vast reading lists as college English departments required. The rest of us do. not. care.
Thing I hated #2: I heard an NPR interview once in which an author said, "A story is when something happens, and therefore something changes." Well, in this book, NOTHING HAPPENS and NOTHING CHANGES. The whole book is a series of tiny little next steps in people's lives in which no one really seems to make any decisions, but rather just goes along with the next thing in front of them. No decision, nothing really happens, and nothing really changes. So where the heck is the story?!? Why bother reading the book?
Thing I hated #3: So maybe it's actually a romance of sorts? There are moments when it feels like it might want to be, that it might be trying to lead to some sort of "happily ever after." I heard a great reviewer give an excellent rubric for judging romances: "There is conflict within each of the hero and heroine, between the hero and heroine, and between the hero/heroine and the world." Ummm... pretty much fails on all counts, so must not be a romance.
Thing I hated #4: At about 7/8ths of the way through the book (really!) I thought, "Oh, thank God, at least it stopped being incestuously written for English majors." And then the last page and especially the last line of the whole friggin' book is a never-explained secret in-joke for English majors.
Oh, please. Spare me. What a waste of my time.
Don't expect it to be Middlesex because it isn't.
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.
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