The Marriage Plot: For Giant Nerds Only

After seeing the giant Jeffrey Eugenides billboard in Times Square, I decided I just HAD to read The Marriage Plot, because that billboard was really convincing. Okay, that’s not true at all. I was already curious about the book, but the very Indiana-Jones-esque billboard was also hilarious. This is the first Eugenides book I’ve read (I know, I know, I should’ve read Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides like a million times by now) and I liked it kind of a lot!

Title: The Marriage Plot

Author: Jeffrey Eugenides

Here’s the scoop on this one: Madeleine (English major), Leonard (Bio major with semiotics love), and Mitchell (Religious Studies major) are all graduating from Brown with degrees of varying levels of applicability to the real world. Mitchell loves Madeleine who loves Leonard who is manic depressive or bipolar. To avoid spoilers, I’ll be vague about the rest of the book, but basically we get to see all kinds of post-collegiate floundering, and who doesn’t love that? Also lots of flashbacks to fun college with all kinds of great lit and semiotics classes and self-importance out the ears.

I think I haven’t blogged for so long because I knew this book was next and I’m having some real trouble dissecting my thoughts about it. A lot of it hits close to home because I double-majored in English and Philosophy, and the overlap that I chose to focus on for my thesis was philosophy of language, which, you know, semiotics hello. And the classes and the reading material and the giant self-important nerds in the novel are all really dead-on and hilarious but also so, so sad. Then there’s the part where I just graduated and the idea of floundering in misery like these characters is just horrifying.

So basically my thoughts are these: If you get the satire, the funny bits of this book are even funnier. And it also highlights how darn sad and not at all funny Madeline and Mitchell and Leonard’s lives are post-graduation. If the idea of reading satire on the popular lit and language theories of the 80s makes you want to barf, probably this book is not for you. If the idea of reading satire on the self-importance of college students makes you want to barf, again, probably this is not the book for you.

I will leave you with this quote, which I think is one of the more hilarious of the lines I highlighted on my Kindle: “‘My goal in life is to become an adjective,’ Leonard said. ‘People would go around saying, ‘That was so Bankheadian.’ Or, ‘A little too Bankheadian for my taste.'” Perfect.

(P.S. This blog was way better but then the stupid internet deleted my edits to it, and I didn’t not put as much effort in the second time around, sorry world!)


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