Tag Archives: the marriage plot

the marriage plot by jeffrey eugenides

The Marriage PlotAs a huge fan of both of Jeffrey Eugenides’s other published novels (The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex), I’m a little surprised it took me as long as it did to get to reading The Marriage Plot. Eugenides has such a brilliant way with stringing words together and slipping in poignant statements when you aren’t expecting to stumble across them. I was a bit nervous to listen to his latest story in audiobook format because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to visualize how beautifully his words flow together in the same way that I was able to when electronically or physically reading his works.

While I didn’t love The Marriage Plot as much as his other works, it was my favorite work of fiction that I’ve read so far in 2015. That’s not to say that it’s the best fiction work I’ve read this year — that would be The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (review coming soon!), but it’s definitely the fiction read that I’ve most enjoyed.

A lot of other reviewers have been annoyed by this book because the main characters are all a bunch of pretentious college students, which they definitely are, but the novel highlights the pretentiousness without casting it in an admiring light. Frankly, most of the characters in the novel reminded me of people I stumbled across in my own college experience that were pretty pretentious in similar ways (the philosophy spouting Leonard, one of the three main characters, reminded me very specifically of one of my dearest friends, while also lampooning all of his faults that can irk me).

The main characters, Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell, are all college students together at Brown University in the 1980s and each of their story lines reek of their privilege and their desire to be someone greater than an ordinary individual. They all want to be central characters in stories instead of the minor characters that we all are to everyone else in real life. The following quote illustrates this perfectly — Madeleine became delighted with herself when she adorned her walls with illustrations from the children’s book series Madeline because it augmented

“the sense she had of herself, then and now, as being the one in a troop of girls a writer might write a book about”

which I feel like perfectly sums up Madeleine as a character. Of all the characters, Madeleine falls the flattest, but I feel like that’s intentionally done and is more of a purposeful statement than a fault of the writer.

The novel is entitled The Marriage Plot because that is essentially the plot of the novel, something that Eugenides felt was missing in current literature when compared to the great Victorian novels, such as Pride and Prejudice. That said, I feel like the title is a bit misleading and could be discouraging to readers who don’t want to read about “marriage.” Yes, a marriage occurs within the pages of the books, but it’s more a story of how these three characters have interweaving lives than about any specific plot line.

And finally, because I’ve stressed so much how Eugenides is incredibly gifted with his words, here’s a quote from The Marriage Plot that nearly made me shed a tear on the subway.

“If you grew up in a house where you weren’t loved, you didn’t know there was an alternative. If you grew up with emotionally stunted parents, who were unhappy in their marriage and prone to visit that unhappiness on their children, you didn’t know they were doing this. It was just your life. If you had an accident, at the age of four, when you were supposed to be a big boy, and were later served a plate of feces at the dinner table – if you were told to eat it because you liked it, didn’t you, you must like it or you wouldn’t have so many accidents – you didn’t know that this wasn’t happening in the other houses in your neighborhood. If your father left your family, and disappeared, never to return, and your mother seemed to resent you, as you grew older, for being the same sex as your father, you had no one to turn to. In all these cases, the damage was done before you knew you were damaged. The worst part was that, as the years passed, these memories became, in the way you kept them in a secret box in your head, taking them out every so often to turn them over and over, something like dear possessions. They were the key to your unhappiness. The were the evidence that life wasn’t fair. If you weren’t a lucky child, you didn’t know you weren’t lucky until you got older. And then it was all you ever thought about.”

Publication Date: October 2011 by Macmillan. Format: Digital Audiobook from Macmillan Audio.

Author: Jeffrey Eugenides Facebook/Publisher Profile

Narrator: David Pittu Facebook

april round up

My book blog has been active for about a month which means I’m officially able to post my very first monthly roundup! Despite the fact that this is first month that the blog has really been active, I’ve got a ton of backlogged reviews of books (11 to be exact) read earlier this year that will be uploaded as I acquire more time to finally write the reviews (you can see sneak peeks of the reviews by checking out my GoodReads account). My goal is to read 52 books in 52 weeks and to eventually have a full 52 reviews posted by December 31, 2015. Thank you for joining me as I document my journey!

 April’s Book Reviews

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie audiobook cover

A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Audiobook Cover


Check out my reviews for the above books by clicking the book covers or by clicking the book titles here: Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri, and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post reviews for all of the books I finished in April. In addition to the above books, I finished We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and those reviews will be coming in May!

April’s Book Haul

These are the books that I received during the month of April and may or may not be books that I was able to actively read during April. Books that are from the library have an increased likelihood of being read sooner due to the limited time that I have access to them.

Local Girls New York Regional Mormons Singles Halloween Dance Our Kids The Reptile Room

The Marriage Plot

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie audiobook cover

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Audiobook Cover





  1. Local Girls by Caroline Zancan; Advance Reader Copy ebook from Penguin First to Read
  2. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker; paperback from my friend Katherine when she came to visit me from Chicago in April
  3. Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam; hardcover from my work
  4. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket; hardcover from my partner when I saw him at a wedding in Dallas last weekend
  5. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides; audiobook from Brooklyn Public Library; currently reading
  6. Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan; audiobook from Brooklyn Public Library
  7. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie; audiobook from Brooklyn Public Library
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; audiobook from Brooklyn Public Library

As I move forward with posting my book reviews, I’m hoping to balance adding a backlogged book review for every new book review that’s posted. I’m aiming to post the following January + February reads during the month of May.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Lord of the Flies The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace





  1. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
  2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

& that’s it for my very first reading round up! Thank you for reading! If you have any tips for making my round ups more interesting to you, please share in the comments! If you feel inclined, check out my very new Instagram account and follow me on Twitter.