Plotting: New News and Book Reviews

Mad Maude & The Hatters

Since my last post, I’ve been to Germany (where I drank better beer than you did for eight days straight), joined a fun new band called Mad Maude & the Hatters (Shame. Shame. Shameless self-promotion), and read a book worth writing about: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Since I’m sure you don’t want me to brag-brag-braggy-brag you to death, I’ll get to the book review and leave Germany for a later post. By the way, this is an informal review. At work, I’m all formality and starched skirts, but on this blog, I’m gonna go ahead and unbutton the top button, if you know what I mean.

Okay, let’s get down to business, starting with the stuff dreams are made of.

The Virgin Suicides: my sort of book candy. Next to an original Henry Darger, you can’t get a better glimpse of young girls battling personal demons.

Middlesex: could a book be any better? Nope. Don’t think so.

Jeffrey Eugenides: the sort of guy who actually replied wittily and sweetly to an almost stalkish, “I-love-you-this-much” email I sent to his actual work account when I was an undergraduate student.  In other words, I’m a huge fan. A giant, obsessed geek who wanted to name my latest band “Lux Lisbon” before realizing some gents in the UK beat me to it. Sigh. To top it off ,their album is called “Your Heart is a Weapon the Size of Your Fist.” :: slaps self on forehead for not thinking of things first ::

That being said, here it goes.

Source: Personal Copy (picked up at a random B&N trip)

THE MARRIAGE PLOT  

What I liked:

1. The character development was top-notch.

I feel that Madeline’s annoying-yet-needy/independent nature really resonates with that inner emotionally crazed girl in all of us.  Crying one second, taking her top off the next, that’s the kind of girl that I know and can relate to.  She seemed real. There were times I wanted to smack her face, but that’s true of many many characters I’ve gotten into bed with. Bad joke. I know. Sorry.

2. Of all the characters, I liked Leonard the best. Eugenides portrayal of someone who suffers with manic depression and bipolar disorder seemed believable and accurate. In my own life, I’ve known quite a few “Leonards.” They may not have ever donned a cape, but they did obsess and freak out and gain weight and lose weight and become their disease. Good job, Jeff.

What I got tired of:

1. Marshall. Marshall. Marshall. He was the guy in my English class that bored the shit out of me. The guy who likes the hot girl he can’t have, the guy that is sort of pretentious in his un-pretentiousness, the guy who is too smart and travels too much. Does that make sense? Perhaps that was the point. Perhaps we weren’t supposed to like him.

2. I also missed having separate chapters. Since we change narrative perspective in each section, I understand the set up, but I’m a traditionalist in some ways. I like those little markers that tell me I can take a quick pee or hop in the shower. This is obviously a personal thing.

Overall: If you love Eugenides, give it a go and let me know what you think. For me, it was worth it. It took a while to get through the first fifty pages and get to what I think is the “meat” of the book, but that could have been caused by hunger, not necessarily a bad plot progression.

Rating: I give it a T-rex  for sure.

Thoughts?

Here are some other great reviews that I found on the Marriage Plot that are much fancier than mine:

The Marriage Plot- Jeffrey Eugenides-Book Review

The New York Times: Sunday Book Review

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