I just finished this one. Overall, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides was an enjoyable read. This is due to the actual contents of the book but also because I spent the majority of my time reading it, sitting in a Muskoka chair in my backyard, burning in the sun. So one could argue it was the overdose of vitamin D, and its Prozac-like effects that have led me to my positive conclusion, however, I would say that is not the case. A nutritionist friend of mine told me that you can’t OD on vitamins as your body’s receptors for them fill up and then you release the rest as waste. Though I only take a pill, or an hour of sun at a time, so I’m not sure if she accounted for a person downing 50 vitamin B’s and going for a run.
But we are here to discuss The Marriage Plot, not vitamin ODing and so baring any other useless tirades that’s what we will do. Though I’ve heard Guns N’ Roses are playing a show tonight in Toronto…there’s a whole other blog for that discussion.
What Eugenides did well with TMP was both plot and character based. Plot-wise, he set up the traditional love triangle set on a University campus in the early 1980’s. And time for another quick “tirade”: The beauty of the time setting is that there is no modern technology present. No cell phones for example. This creates an immediacy to the in person interactions with the characters and begs the question, “Does modern technology zap meaning from our lives?”.
Okay, so yes, plot-wise, we’re talking about one guy who loves a girl and believes that he is destined to marry her and the other guy who the girl loves for reasons explained throughout the book and then the girl herself, Madeleine, the protagonist more than not, who decides to be with one and not the other and then shit gets crazy. Not like bra-burning, snorting oxys while balls deep in an anatomically correct public sculpture of a rhino, but crazy in an emotional sense. And that’s for you to read and me to remember and for all of us to enjoy in our own time.
Character-wise Eugenides does well with 3D. I felt I knew why these characters acted as they did and that is not because I was filling in the blanks from archetypes or personal experience, but because he fleshed them out from their pasts to the their presents in TMP. Eugenides did this, also, without revealing things unnecessary to the plot. No wasted space. It’s a beautiful thing.
The ending? NO, I’M NOT GOING TO SPOIL IT! But I felt the ending satisfied the plot and the characters and it kept me guessing, literally, until the last page, because all good Rom-Com/Love triangle stories/blah-blah-blah should. Will they? Won’t they? Who are they? I need more vitamin B and D!
Go grab this one. Unless you don’t like reading about people’s triumphs and failures in love and life. Then, well, maybe try something else.