Although the following sentence currently seems laughable in Texas (where it’s 60 degrees outside), we are quickly approaching the time of year where we can start expecting some serious snowstorms. When that time arrives, you should have a copy of The Marriage Plot on your shelf.
The Marriage Plot follows the lives of three very different people– Leonard, Madeleine, and Mitchell, who are caught in a love triangle while finishing college and trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. Mitchell loves Madeleine, Madeleine loves Leonard, and Leonard – well, no one knows exactly what Leonard wants. Madeleine graduates college and wants only to be with Leonard, but then she discovers something very difficult: Leonard is bipolar. Throughout their time together, Madeleine discovers what it’s like to live with and love someone with this disease. Marriage and love are two very different things. Mitchell, meanwhile, runs off to India only to be slapped in the face with the realities of a third world country.
The writing of this novel is absolutely beautiful. Eugenides has accomplished something here– in an age where books and TV shows are all about more and more action, he managed to keep my attention without any. I found myself never wanting to put the book down, and I couldn’t quite figure out why. I didn’t need to know what was coming next; there weren’t any cliff hangers; I just couldn’t stop reading. And that, my friends, is the mark of a truly amazing book, in my opinion. Madeleine was an English major, so Eugenides took the chance to write about books, authors, and readers.
An exerpt: “She wasn’t all that interested, as a reader, in the reader. She was still partial to that increasingly eclipsed entity: the writer. Madeleine had a feeling that most semiotic theorists had been unpopular as children, often bullied or overlooked, and so had directed their lingering rage onto literature. They wanted to demote the author. They wanted a book, that hard-won, transcendent thing, to be a text, contingent, indeterminate, and open for suggestions. They wanted the reader to be the main thing. Because they were readers.
Whereas Madeleine was perfectly happy with the idea of genius. She wanted a book to take her places she couldn’t get to herself. She thought a writer should work harder writing a book than she did reading it.”
I would definitely highly recommend getting caught in a snowstorm with this book and a good cup of hot chocolate! If you finish it before the storm is over, pick up Middlesex, also by Eugenides, which is also an amazing book!
What book do you recommend getting stuck in a snowstorm with?
— Kristen B.