The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides: A Book Review

marriageplotAs far as I remember, a few months ago, Ian McEwan, an English writer , famous for his novel Atonement, once said in an interview that he finds a very long novel boring. I was confused about his statement then because I have read some ambitious novels which are superbly amazing . In the middle of reading it, it came to me that one of the reasons may be PADDING– meaning to say to make a book thicker or its story longer, a writer pads it with unnecessary words or details. THE MARRIAGE PLOT is not far different from this kind of literary trick. The book has many parts which appear to be irrelevant and have no total significance to the heart of the story. There are some scenes which are described and narrated exaggeratedly, as though in English grammar, they are non-essential clauses. They just serve as extra information, so they undermine the exciting and thrilling flows of the story. To put it bluntly, they add fuel to the boredom. In addition, they distracted my concentration on the crux of the three main characters’ stories. No doubt I came close to giving it 2 stars. Somehow, I was grateful for the previous dull stretch because it increased my eventual pleasure.

Nevertheless, I was brainwashed into giving it 3 stars for some reasons:

(a) The books the readers get into although I’m not very much familiar with them. Also, I enjoyed the academic discussions, particularly on the polemical arguments on the existence of GOD.

(b) The novel is steeped in hefty metaphors or semiotics to make the book sound very modern despite the fact that  it may almost reflect Jeffrey Eugenides’ la-di-dah attitude. Eugenides’s writing styles reminds me of Martin Amis.

(c) The engrossing characters of Madeiline Hanna, a graduating student who bends her mind to her thesis, THE MARRIAGE PLOT and moons over sexual fantasies, for she is inexperienced in sex; Leonard Bankhead, a Darwinian student, diagnosed with manic-depression (Poor Leonard. He broke my heart.) ; and Mitchell Grammaticus, a religious studies student who is generally acting strange – resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

(d) The love triangle among the three main characters above and its  ending; it is very unique.

(e) Hilarity and transparency. It is brazenly written regardless of whatever kinds of readers will read it, for it has lot of sex scenes. Of course, it is not a total pulp fiction. It is what the real world people usually make the light of, or are scared to bring up. Thus, it is not good for the ultraconservative. For sure they would give it x-double -minus rating. f@$#$ hypocrites.

(f) Finally, before I read it, my friend on Goodreads warned that we read it carefully on account of its confusing plot. But by my troth, readers can manage it. In fact, its plot is the main reason why I eventually enjoyed it. It is a challenging story puzzle. The only problem is how to patch the stories together for someone. Hahaha Alas, only this part is deserving of 5 stars.

This is my first Eugenides novel. He has not let me down yet. I know his famous novels Middlesex and Virgin Suicides will drop my jaw once I get into them.

Rating : 3/ 5 stars


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