Friday Morning Bookclub

February 20, 2012

The Marriage Plot: A Review By Jean

Filed under: Book Discussions,The Marriage Plot — susanbright @ 10:08 am
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This month’s book was The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Since we had read and enjoyed his earlier book, Middlesex, we were all looking forward to another good read. Unfortunately, despite its promise, this book ended up being disappointing on many levels.

The story centers on three Brown University students as they segue from the highly intellectual environment at a prestigious Ivy League school to the real world. It is a time of uncertainty and angst with which most of us can certainly identify. Love, guilt, mental illness, spiritual awareness, searching for an adult identity are pretty universal themes in “coming of age” stories. However, many of us felt that the characters in The Marriage Plot were generally unlikeable, making it difficult for us to care about their struggles. The love triangle never really seemed to fully develop and the book’s  ending was somewhat abrupt and unsatisfying. Some of us were so put off by the overdone esoteric literary references at the beginning that we didn’t even finish the book. To be fair, this book probably is an accurate portrayal of a certain community, one with which Mr. Eugenides is familiar, but it failed to connect with us.

Let us know what you thought of The Marriage Plot!



  1. I totally agree with your comments about The Marriage Plot. I am so happy that you validated my feelings. After all of the rave reviews of the novel, I questioned my judgement when I didn’t connect with the book. I just didn’t like the characters and couldn’t see where the plot was going. It is so rare for me to put down a book once I have started it. I closed the covers of the Marriage Plot after 150 pages. No regrets.

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — February 20, 2012 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

    • Hi Lois, You are not alone as several of our members gave up on the book, which is pretty unusual. I have to admit that I did quite a bit of skimming. I am usually a fast reader, however this book is not a fast, easy read and I barely gave myself enough time to read it. I wonder if I would have enjoyed it more if I had taken the time to appreciate the writing instead of focusing on the plot and rushing through to see what was going to this was not a plot driven book.

      Comment by susanbright — February 20, 2012 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  2. Susan, I thought that Middlesex was a fascinating book. Like you I skimmed through The Marriage Plot. I found it a difficult book to get into and did not relate to any of the characters…

    Comment by Marlene — February 20, 2012 @ 11:22 pm | Reply

  3. I suggested The Marriage Plot for my book group. Glad there wasn’t any takers. Cathy

    Comment by Cathy Junkin — February 21, 2012 @ 6:40 am | Reply

  4. Hi Cathy, What is your book club reading next?

    Comment by susanbright — February 21, 2012 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  5. Hi Susan
    We are reading Hunger Games in one of my groups and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is my other group. I am listening to Major Pettigrew on cd . I haven’t done that for awhile and I am really enjoying it. It takes place in England so the reader is British. It is very funny. My husband started listening to it with me and keeps asking “have you finished any tapes yet? ” Have you read any of Carl Hiassen’s books? I keep suggesting him too and no one seems interested. I guess I have to take a new approach. Cathy

    Comment by Cathy Junkin — February 22, 2012 @ 7:11 am | Reply

    • Cathy, I so enjoyed The Hunger Games! I have not read any of Carl Hiassen’s books but will check them out. As for audio books… you know I am a fan. I just finished listening to Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens. I love listening to a good old fashion mystery! My husband just shakes his head when he sees me walking around with my little purple ear buds in place.

      Comment by susanbright — February 22, 2012 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

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