Thursday, March 18, 2010

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Reviewed by Connie

Published: 1874

It's about: This novel is a case study of one average city (Middlemarch), just prior to the (Whig, so political) Reformation in England.  It examines, in a LOT of detail, the lives and marriages of its inhabitants, most of whom are apparently miserable.  The main characters include Dorothea, the self-sacrificing religious zealot who marries unhappily, Lydgate, the ambitious experimental doctor who marries unhappily, Rosamond, the trite but refined belle of the town who turns out to be Lydgate's unhappy wife, and Fred, who can't seem to pull himself together enough to marry the woman he loves and is therefore unhappy.

I thought: Well, if you couldn't tell from the description, this is a very happy book.  And if you believed what I just said, then you didn't read the description and need to go back and do so.  I was expecting to really enjoy this book, based on what I've heard about it and also since I loved Silas Marner.  But a thousand pages of unhappy marriages gets a little wearisome and depressing.  Eliot disappoints me in this novel; her writing skill is not up to par, even compared to her other books, and she comes across as a cynic.  After the first 300 pages, however, the stories do get captivating, but it shouldn't take 300 pages to get there.  All in all, the book was somewhat enjoyable with some story lines to interest, probably important in its day, but not worth the hours it takes to get through it.

Verdict: Sadly, our very first Rubbish Bin (though I know that even one of our reviewers on this site, Chioma, will totally disagree with me on that one -- Chioma, feel free to write a counter-review!)

Reading Recommendations: Skim?  Haha.  This puppy's long.

Warnings:  There's nothing really to beware of in this novel -- squeaky clean.