Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CBR4 # 46 The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes---the charismatic and intense Leonard Bankhead, and her old friend the mystically inclined Mitchell Grammaticus. As all three of them face life in the real world they will have to reevaluate everything they have learned.
This book is a great portrait of college life in the 80's- undergrads not sure what to do next and unexpected relationships.  I was disappointed with the lack of strong women characters within this book. I found Leonard annoying and Marshall complex and most interesting of all the characters. Madeline just seemed to be wasting her potential. 

Eugenides really dives into psychology, religion and biology to backfill the characters and plots.  When I first started reading the book, I had a hard time getting past the psychology heavy description. 

Again another book that got lots of buzz, but I had a hard time seeing the appeal and I haven't read any of his other books. 

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